The Iranian (Persian) empire strongly influenced surrounding cultures, particularly the Greeks who themselves were very important to European history. Yet, little is known about Iran's archaeology in relation to modern theory. Funded by the EU, the ARCHIRAN (Ancient Iran: A social archaeology) project investigated the archaeology of Iran. The work was intended to synthesise the topic in relation to modern methods and theoretical frameworks. Research covered eight major areas, addressing social, economic and cultural issues of several periods. First, the team selected and collected available Iranian records. Next, researchers proposed a model of social archaeology for ancient Iran, while developing the subject as an academic discipline. Project researchers documented Iranian human-environmental interactions in terms of geography, climate and natural resources. The group also investigated prehistoric human and hominid occupation of the region between 500 000 and 12 000 years ago. The study further addressed the Neolithic transition from hunting and gathering to farming, which took place between 12 000 and 6 000 years ago. Final phases of the research detailed Iran's role in the rise and spread of urban, literate cultures from 6000 to 2000 BCE. The team placed Iran within the region's major empires from 2000 BCE. The research yielded a key book, co-authored by project members, intended to be a classic reference on the subject. The book is to be published in 2017, in English and Farsi editions. ARCHIRAN's work contributed new insights regarding Iranian archaeology and fostered EU-Iranian collaboration.
Iran, history, archaeology, social archaeology, geography, climate, natural resources