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Mīrzā Muḥammad Naṣīr Furṣat al-Dawla and the Archaeology of Iranian Archaeology

Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2015)

Journal: Journal of Islamic Archaeology

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/jia.v2i1.20287


Unlike other related studies which are focusing on either excavations or excavators, this essay explores some aspects of the early development of archaeology in Islamic Iran as a particular moment in intellectual history. In particular, the study is aimed at discussing the elusive turning point between traditional antiquarianism and modern archaeology which occurred some time during the mid-Qajar period (1860s and 70s). Less emphasis is laid on the first foreign archaeological work in Iran as it is discussed in more detail elsewhere. Instead, the study will address how these foreign investigations affected the growing local awareness of the surrounding vestiges of Pre-Islamic and Early Islamic Iran and how these led to local experiments in archaeological research. Mīrzā Muḥammad Naṣīr Furṣat al-Dawla, a protagonist in this process, will serve as a case study: his surveys, writings, drawings, and – sometimes contradictory – interpretations will serve to trace the first steps towards the modern Iranian appropriation of ancient heritage.

Author: Iván Szántó

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