Siraf: History, Topography and Environment

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etween 1966 and 1973, the British Institute of Persian Studies conducted seven seasons of excavation and survey at Siraf, which was a major city on the Iranian shore of the Persian Gulf that played a leading role in the network of maritime trade that supplied Western Asia with the products of India, the Far East and Eastern Africa between A.D. 800 and 1050. This volume synthesises the written evidence of the history of Siraf, and outlines what we know about the character of the city, the ways in which its inhabitants exploited the hinterland and its role in the maritime trade of the Indian Ocean.

This volume introduces the excavations carried out at the site and the range of finds that were recovered (Chapter 1), the written evidence that relates to Siraf (Chapter 2), the cities’ urban topography (Chapter 3), its hinterland Chapter 4), the nature of settlement in the neighbouring high valleys (Chapter 5) and Siraf’s place in the wider historical and geographical contexts (Chapter 6). The volume also includes digital versions of the original maps of the site produced in the 1970s. This is the first volume in a new series that has been established by the British Institute of Persian studies in conjunction with Oxbow Books, which will publish archaeological research in Iran that has been sponsored by BIPS.

David Whitehouse, British archaeologist and Museum Director is best known in archaeological circles for eight seasons of excavation at the 9th-15th century AD port of Siraf on Iran’s gulf coast. Whitehouse has also conducted research in the United Kingdom, Italy, Afghanistan, and Libya, publishing more than 500 scholarly papers, reviews, monographs, and books, in addition to serving as an advisor to various academic journals.

Trained at Cambridge, Whitehouse joined joined The Corning Museum of Glass in 1984 as Chief Curator. He was named Deputy Director of Collections in 1987, was promoted to Deputy Director of the Museum in 1988, and became Director in 1992. He was appointed Executive Director in 1999 and in 2011, was named the Museum’s Senior Scholar, focusing on a number of projects, including writing and publishing additional volumes on Islamic glass.

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