Fragmentation and dispersal are commonplaces of archaeological site biography through the mechanisms of reoccupation, rediscovery, plunder, iconoclasm and excavation; most substantial, extant ruins experience some degree of artificial dispersal or spoliation, in addition to climatic erosion.
NYU Washington, DC welcomed Lindsay Allen for a dialogue on comparative case studies of the global diaspora of fragmentary stone sculptures from Takht-i Jamshid / Persepolis in Iran, built between the late sixth and fourth centuries BCE, and a UNESCO world heritage site since 1978. Between 1704 and 1950, pieces were broken up and transported first to Amsterdam, then Bombay, Britain, Russia, Paris, and finally North America and the Pacific rim. Allen follows the fragmentation and presented a spatial comparison of the different effects on the site of two different phases of appropriation: the network of personal exchange and obligation of the British East India Company in the early nineteenth century and an economically and politically motivated push to globalize Persian art in the 1920s. Both case studies require the integration of data from archival and object study in the effort to restore links between the site and its constituent parts in global locations.
The lecture was followed by a conversation on aspects of research into heritage preservation efforts, moderated by Alexander Nagel.
Dr. Lindsay Allen is an expert in the Achaemenid Persian Empire and pre-Islamic Iran and a lecturer at King's College London.
Author of numerous articles and the book “The Persian Empire: a history” (for the British Museum Press, 2005), Allen has researched Achaemenid artifacts in Iran and museums around the world, and her current work on the history of archaeology in Iran has taken her to collections worldwide in search of little-known archives and Persian artifacts. At King’s College in London, Lindsay Allen teaches on Alexander the Great, the Near East in the first millennium BC, Achaemenid Persia and Persepolis.
Her first degree was in Classics (Oxford '97) and her PhD (UCL '02) looked at Achaemenid kingship in texts and material culture from the fourth century BC. She arrived at King's in 2005, and previously held research fellowships at Wolfson College, Oxford, the Warburg Institute and the British Museum. In the academic year 2008-09, she was a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York.
Alexander Nagel is a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
He is an adjunct professor at NYU Washington, DC teaching Cultural Foundations with the Liberal Studies program. Originally from Berlin, Germany, Nagel received an MA from Humboldt University Berlin in 2003, and a PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2010. He is supporting the work of communities who preserve heritage sites and document the illicit trade in antiquities, and has lectured on the heritage preservation of Yemen, Greece, Iran and the Middle East worldwide.