Cultural Heritage Conversations: Archives, Fragments, and Site Forensics at Persepolis and Elsewhere

September 13, 2017

Iconoclash

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

Dr. Lindsay Allen

Dr. Lindsay Allen is an expert in the Achaemenid Persian Empire and pre-Islamic Iran and a lecturer at King's College London.

Alexander Nagel

Alexander Nagel (Moderator)

Alexander Nagel is a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.