Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More on the Old Persian Inscription from Phanagoria, Russia

Last week I noted the announcement of the discovery of an Old Persian Inscription on a stele excavated at excavated at Phanagoria, on the Taman peninsula on the North coast of the Black Sea. Since then there have been a few cursory articles on this, including one in The Art Newspaper, but nothing giving any new information.

But I was alerted this morning by  of Russian television coverage of the object, complete with some very interesting images of the inscription:

Thursday, August 04, 2016

A New Inscription of Darius I excavated at Phanagoria, North of the Black Sea

It is reported today that excavations at Phanagoria, on the Taman Peninsula, on the North of the Black Sea, have uncovered a fragment of a stela bearing an Old Persian inscription of Darius I.
La dernière découverte en date a été rendue publique le 4 août 2016. C’est un fragment de stèle cunéiforme, en lange perse, qui mentionnerait Milet et émanerait de Darius Ier, roi de Perse (521-486). Elle a été découverte dans un contexte archéologique de la première moitié du Ve s. Les inscriptions de ce type ont surtout été trouvées à Persépolis, capitale perse.
 Read the report here,  and the original Russian language press release here.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Signs of Writing Paris Conference

Matthew Stolper and Wouter Henkelman will speak on matters relating to Persepolis at:

Signs of Writing Paris Conference
Monday, July 25 - Wednesday, July 27
University of Chicago Center in Paris
6 Rue Thomas Mann
Paris, France 75013

The third and final international conference of the Neubauer Collegium project, Signs of Writing: The Cultural, Social, and Linguistic Contexts of the World’s First Writing Systems will be held at the University of Chicago’s Center in Paris, July 25th-27th 2016.

The theme of the Paris conference is, broadly, script, society, and literature, within the context and process of the invention of writing. Specific topics will include scribal transmission and education, the development of literacy, the rise of literature from earlier genres and the extension of incipient writing systems to serve this purpose, the materiality and archaeological contexts of writing, as well as the relationship between writing and the non-linguistic symbolic systems that preceded it. 
Participants will include: John Baines (Oxford University); Wolfgang Behr (Univeristy of Zurich); Françoise Bottéro (CNRS Paris); Stephen Chrisomalis (Wayne State University); Jerry Cooper (Johns Hopkins University); Sylvie Donnat Beauquier (Université de Strasbourg); Jean-Jacques Glassner (CNRS Paris); Amalia Gnanadesikan (University of Maryland); Michaël Guichard (École Pratique des Hautes Études); Wouter Henkelman (École Pratique des Hautes Études); Stephen Houston (Brown University); David Lurie (Columbia University); Massimo Maiocchi (University of Chicago); Chrystelle Maréchal (CNRS/EHESS - CRLAO); Simon Martin (University of Pennsylvania); Dimitri Meeks (CNRS - Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier III); Piotr Michalowski (University of Michigan); Joel Palka (University of Illinois-Chicago); Annick Payne (University of Basel); Christine Proust (CNRS - Université Paris Diderot); Claude Rilly (CNRS/Inalco - Lacan); Gonzalo Rubio (Pennsylvania State University); David Share (Haifa University); Ed Shaughnessy (University of Chicago); Richard Sproat (Google Labs); Andréas Stauder (École Pratique des Hautes Études); Matt Stolper (University of Chicago); Anna Stryjewska (University of Zurich); Olivier Venture (École Pratique des Hautes Études); Pascal Vernus (École Pratique des Hautes Études); Haicheng Wang (University of Washington); Gordon Whittaker (University of Göttingen); Maryanne Wolf (Tufts University); Christopher Woods (University of Chicago); Marc Zender (Tulane University); and Ilona Zsolnay (University of Pennsylvania)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the Persepolis Fortification tablets

On 19 July 2016 the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment against the plaintiffs and in favor of the OI and Iran in the lawsuit over the Persepolis Fortification tablets. One of the judges filed a dissent and noted that the court’s decision creates a conflict between decisions by different federal appellate courts on a core legal issue.  When this happens, the U.S. Supreme Court sometimes decides to review the cases and issue a decision that resolves the split, so there is the possibility of additional proceedings.  Stay tuned here on the PFA Project blog and to the Persepolis Tablets in the News page for further developments and links to analysis of this decision.

Oriental Institute Director Gil J. Stein said he is pleased with the ruling.
“While the university abhors the acts of terrorism that lead to this proceeding, the artifacts at issue here are not subject to attachment under either the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act or the Terrorism Risk and Insurance Act, The Institute looks forward to continuing its research on the Persepolis Collection, artifacts which provide unparalleled insight into the history and languages of the Persian Empire around 500 B.C.”
Justia U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran


In 1997 Hamas suicide bombers blew themselves up on a crowded Jerusalem pedestrian mall. The grievously injured included eight U.S. citizens who filed a civil action against the Islamic Republic of Iran for its role in providing material support to the attackers. Iran was subject to suit as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1605(a)(7). A district judge entered a $71.5 million default judgment. Iran did not pay. Among other efforts, the plaintiffs sought to execute on ancient Persian artifacts: the Persepolis, Chogha Mish, and Oriental Institute Collections, all in the possession of the University of Chicago; and the Herzfeld Collection, split between the University and Chicago’s Field Museum. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district judge’s conclusion that attachment and execution were unavailable under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, 28 U.S.C. 1610, which permits holders of terrorism-related judgments to execute on assets that are “blocked” by executive order under certain international sanctions provisions. The assets are not blocked by existing executive order. Nor does section 1610(a) apply. That provision permits execution on a foreign state’s property “used for a commercial activity in the United States.” The foreign state, Iran, did not put the artifacts to any commercial use. View "Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran" on Justia Law