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Persians on the Euphrates? Material Culture & Elite Identity in the Achaemenid Tombs from Hacinebi, Turkey

Persians on the Euphrates? Material Culture & Elite Identity in the Achaemenid Tombs from Hacinebi, Turkey
5 Bancroft Avenue, Earth Sciences auditorium B142
Time: Mar 19th, 8:00 pm End: Mar 19th, 10:00 pm
Interest Categories: Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (FAS), History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), Classics (FAS), before 400 BCE, Architecture, Landscape, Design, Archaeology, 400-1 BCE
Talk by Gil J. Stein, University of Chicago

The Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies (CSMS) is pleased to announce:

Gil J. Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute and Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Chicago

Persians on the Euphrates? Material Culture and Elite Identity in the Achaemenid Tombs from Hacinebi, Turkey


Two intact Persian period burials at the site of Hacınebi, near the Euphrates river crossing at Zeugma/Apamea in southeast Turkey provide a rare opportunity to investigate the relationship between material culture styles and elite identity in the multi-ethnic Achaemenid empire. Achaemenid material culture was an imperial synthesis drawing on stylistic elements from Scythia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and other regions; as a result, it is extremely difficult to identify the ethnicity of any individual burial based of the style of specific objects. However, when the artifacts and styles are examined within their mortuary context, our interpretations become better grounded. The Hacınebi tombs are compared with burials from other parts of the Persian empire to examine the question of whether the burial practices and grave goods reflect Persian/Iranian ethnic identity as opposed to the use of what we can call “portable elite material culture” by local non-Persian elites in the satrapies. It is important to distinguish between burial goods versus burial practices, since they do not necessarily convey the same information about social identity. Taken together, textual, iconographic and archaeological data on burial practices, military garrisons, and material culture styles at Hacınebi highlight the complex hybrid identities and cultural koine that linked Persian and Local elites across the cosmopolitan Achaemenid empire.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For further information, please contact the CSMS office at (416) 978-4531.

Download flyer: [pdf]


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