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The archaeology of Sasanian politics

Richard Payne
  • Corresponding author
  • Neubauer Family Assistant Professor, The Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, The University of Chicago, 1155 E. 58th St., Chicago, IL 60637
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Published Online: 2014-11-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jah-2014-0029


This introduction to the special issue offers an overview of the articles and their implications for current research on Sasanian history and archaeology, with an emphasis on direct and indirect intersections between textual and archaeological evidence. It suggests that settlement patterns, irrigation systems, coins, ceramics, and landscapes can provide more productive starting points for analyzing certain aspects of Sasanian political culture – such as the comparative robustness of the imperial apparatus – than texts, especially when placed in dialogue with literary and documentary sources. In particular, the still poorly understood political economy of the Iranian Empire begins to yield its outlines in the contributions to this special issue.

Keywords: Iranian Empire; Sasanian archaeology; ancient economy; urbanism; Sasanian numismatics


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-11-08

Published in Print: 2014-11-01

Citation Information: Journal of Ancient History, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 80–92, ISSN (Online) 2324-8114, ISSN (Print) 2324-8106, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jah-2014-0029.

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