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Department of Archaeology

Tuesday, 12 March, 2024 - 17:00 to 19:30
Event speaker: 
Dr Clélia Paladre (Musée du Louvre, France)

Recently very inspiring papers from Marta Ameri (1) and Abbas Alizadeh (2) raised the question of who was behind the cylinder seals; who was actually responsible for management operations in two different Iranian regions, Seistan and Susiana? For Ameri and Alizadeh, it was a matter of defining individuals - men or women, locals or foreigners - at the origin of the development of social complexity in Iran.

The same question can be applied to the internal organization of the administrative process in Iran, while a number of sites were facing an original proto-urban phenomenon at the end of the 4th millennium B.C.E, the so-called proto-Elamite. Focusing on the classic style and considering the multiple “trades” involved in the different stages of production and life of seals (craftsmen, administrators, scribes, elites), I would like to address several questions with you, such as: who was in charge of designing the compositions? Were scribes the general administrators, or were administrators a separate trade? Were scribes independent or attached to administrators? Was it the other way around? 

(1) See Ameri M. (2022) Who holds the keys? Identifying Female Administrators at Shahr-e Sokhta, Iran, 60/1, 1-38.

(2) See Alizadeh A. (2021) Susiana in the 4th Millennium BC: Who Was in Charge?, in: M. van Ess (ed), Uruk – Altorientalische Metropole und Kulturzentrum. Beiträge zum 8. Internationalen Colloquium der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft, 25. und 26. April 2013, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz Verlag, 1-26.

Contact name: 
Megan Hinks
Contact email: 
Event location: 
McDonald Seminar Room, Department of Archaeology
Geographical areas: 
Mesopotamia and the Near East
Middle East / North Africa
Assyriology and Mesopotamian Archaeology
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