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Tappeh Sialk Conference to be Held in London

Tappeh Sialk in a Kashan suburb Tappeh Sialk in a Kashan suburb

Iran Heritage Foundation in London has planned a conference on the ancient heritage of Kashan, Isfahan Province.

“Tappeh Sialk and Ancient Kashan Revisited” is the title of the foundation’s conference to be held at Asia House, No. 63, New Cavendish Street, London, according to Iranheritage.org.

Slated for July 2-3, the conference is organized by Iran Heritage Foundation in association with the British Institute of Persian Studies.

Tappeh Sialk or Tepe Sialk is a large archaeological mound in a Kashan suburb. The civilization that inhabited the ancient site is linked to Zayandeh River Culture dating back to 6th millennium BC, concurrent with the Sumerian and Indus valley civilizations to the west and east.

International experts will convene at the meeting to deliver lectures. They will look at ways to promote the major Iranian site and introduce it to a wider range of people.

In an introduction to the conference, Tappeh Sialk is described as the most important archaeological site in Iran before the Achaemenid period (550-330 BC) and one of the most significant sites in the Middle East.

Several excavation projects at the site have been conducted in the past, starting with the 1933 French Louvre delegation led by Roman Ghirshman; and ending with the most recent project in 2009, led by Hassan Fazeli-Nashli, faculty member of Archaeology Department, University of Tehran.

Sialk is a treasure trove of information about diverse subjects such as palaeobotany, palaeozoology, palaeoanatomy, diet, climate change and ancient metallurgy.

The first IHF-led conference on Tappeh Sialk was held last year and papers were presented by scholars from Iran, France, the US, and the UK.

Presentations were followed by a round-table discussion where measures were recommended including the formation of an international steering committee to oversee the future protection and promotion of Tappeh Sialk. It was suggested that there should be a follow-up conference in 2018, which IHF is now organizing.

  Presentations

According to the provisional list of speakers, archaeologist and museum curator Fereidoun Biglari, head of the Paleolithic Department, National Museum of Iran, will speak on “Paleolithic hunter-gatherers at the edge of the central desert: archaeological evidence from the Kashan region.”

Expert on Iranian archaeological studies Julien Cuny and Francois Bridey, specializing in Ancient Near East, both curators of Louvre, will offer their presentation on “Tappeh Sialk in the Louvre: material and archives from the Ghirshman excavations.”

Michael Danti from the American Schools of Oriental Research in Boston will present “the connections between Tappeh Sialk and Hasanlu,” the latter being an ancient site in northwest Iran.

Hamid Fahimi from Freie Universität Berlin will speak on “Iron Age studies at Sialk: eight decades after Ghirshman.” He specializes in the Iron Age culture of central Iranian highlands and the southern coast of the Caspian Sea.

Fazeli-Nashli, together with director of National Museum of Iran Jebrael Nokandeh will present “the chronology of Sialk North and Sialk South.”

Tepe Sialk comprises of two mounds: northern mound described as one of the earliest settlements on the Persian plateau, housing Sialks I and II settlements from 5,800-5,500 to 4,300 BC; and the southern mound formed 800 meters away to the south after a fire destroyed the northern village, housing Sialk III, IV, and V settlements from 4,300 BC onwards.

There will also be presentations by participants in the Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa program, which is a short-term course in cultural heritage preservation run by Oxford University to train specialists and help them use these skills in Iran. The EAMENA program is supported by the IHF.

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