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No Medes at Ecbatana?

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  • Lisbeth S. Fried
    This strangely supports Clark Welton s theories. No Persian period in Ecbatana/Hamedan. Weird. No period earlier than the Parthians. Perhaps they are digging
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 31, 2006
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      This strangely supports Clark Welton's theories.
      No Persian period in Ecbatana/Hamedan. Weird.
      No period earlier than the Parthians.
      Perhaps they are digging in the wrong place?
      Liz Fried

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Sasson, Jack M [mailto:jack.m.sasson@...]
      > Sent: Sunday, December 31, 2006 3:23 PM
      > To: The Agade mailing list.
      > Subject: [agade] FEATURES: Medes at Ecbatana
      >
      > >From <http://www.chnpress.com/news/?section=2&idi05>:
      > ================================
      >
      > Quest for Median Evidence at Ecbatana Hill Turns Hopeless
      >
      > Archeological findings continue to refute Ecbatana Hill to be
      > Median as archeologists at this ancient hill announced that the
      > only evidence observed in the area under studies belong to the
      > Parthian dynastic era while surprisingly no such evidence from the
      > Median Empire was found.
      >
      > Tehran, 30 December 2006 (CHN Foreign Desk) -- Contrary to what
      > archeologists and historians had previously believed about the
      > existence of Medians at Ecbatana Hill, latest archeological studies
      > at this ancient hill have so far revealed no single evidence from
      > the Median Empire (728 BC-550 BC).
      >
      > Announcing this news, head of the team of archeologists at Ecbatana
      > Hill, Masoud Azarnoush told CHN that stratigraphy works and dowsing
      > operations in five places on the hill have only revealed evidence
      > of the Parthian civilization (248 BC?224 AD). “Last year,
      > excavations were conducted in a single spot which failed to yield
      > any indications of the existence of the Medians in this
      > archeological hill. Therefore, we made trenches in 5 other areas on
      > the hill, but the result confirmed that of last year,” explained
      > Azarnoush, adding that archeologists are now certain that “no
      > single evidence suggesting existence of other civilizations besides
      > the Parthians has not been found in Ecbatana Hill.”
      >
      > Last year’s stratigraphy works in a 100 meter area revealed remains
      > of the Parthian dynastic era pointing to the existence of civil
      > constructions on this ancient hill during that time. The new
      > findings brought previous theories suggesting this hill to have
      > belonged to the Medians under question. For this reason, one of the
      > main objectives set for the third season of excavations, which is
      > now coming to closure, was to confirm or disprove last year’s
      > conclusion.
      >
      > “We continued our stratigraphy operations until we reached virgin
      > soil, and we saw nothing but evidence of the Parthian era,” added
      > Azarnoush.
      >
      > This archeologist further said that since Ecbatana Hill is spread
      > over a 35-hectare area, the possibility to find other archeological
      > layers beside the ones observed so far in other parts of the hill
      > can not be totally neglected. “The present theory is proposed based
      > on findings in the area in which soundings were made and it is
      > possible to find evidence of the Medes somewhere else on the hill,”
      > said team director Azarnoush.
      >
      > Ecbatana Hill is located in present-day Hamedan province. Prior to
      > the start of archeological excavations on this ancient hill,
      > Hamedan was commonly taken as a Median city. However, latest
      > archeological studies and sounding works in Ebatana proved that the
      > hill was inhabited during the Parthian period and was most probably
      > constructed around the Parthian era.
      >
      > In addition to remains of the Parthian period, there are several
      > reports on the existence of Achaemenid constructions in Hamedan.
      > French archeologist, Jacques De Morgan, was able to find remains of
      > carvings dated to the Achaemenid dynastic period after only 24 days
      > of studying Ecbatana Hill. However, archeological excavations
      > conducted after De Morgan wrapped up his studies in the region have
      > so far resulted in unearthing Parthian remains only.
      >
      > This is while according to prominent Greek historians Herodotus and
      > Xenophon, prior to the Achaemenids, the Medians had erected several
      > administrative buildings in Hamedan. These historical accounts also
      > suggest the existence of an immense city in Hamedan left from the
      > time of the Medians, yet to be proved by archeological studies.
      >
      > Hegmataneh (Ecbatana in Greek) has been introduced in historic
      > texts as the capital of the Median Empire. However, recent
      > archeological studies on this hill do not go in line with historic
      > recordings and have thus called previous theories into question.
      >
      > Ecbatana, or Hegmataneh meaning ‘gathering place’ where feudal
      > chiefs gathered to discuss political affairs, has been mentioned in
      > Greek texts as the capital of the Median, Achaemenid (550 BC?330
      > BC), Seleucid (333 BC?248 BC), Parthian, and Sassanid (224?651 AD)
      > empires. Yet the city’s origin and historic periods have remained
      > hazy to this date.
      >
      >
      > Maryam Tabeshian
      > foreigndesk@...
      >
      >
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    • Trudy Kawami
      Liz, You ve fallen into the Median trap : since Herodotus said it was the capital, then it must be. There certainly is (was) a Persian, i.e. Achaemenid,
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 1, 2007
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        Liz,
        You've fallen into the "Median trap": since Herodotus said it was the capital, then it must be. There certainly is (was) a "Persian," i.e. Achaemenid, period at Ecbatana including inscriptions, but the extensive stone construction which has visually dominated the site seems to date from the Parthian period. The massive terrace with it very Greek columns has prevented exploration of levels below that, as have the modern houses of parts of the city. The site is extremely complex when compared to the "single-level" sites of Persepolis & Pasargadae. Actually these sites do have other levels to them but it is relatively easy to seen that the initial constructions belonged to a specific historical period.
        Since it has proved impossible to identify objectively art works & architecture with the Medes, I was not at all surprised that Ecbatana has come up short as well.
        This also impacts on the current nation/tribe/clan thread. With the Medes we have a group credited with forming an Empire but NO material evidence for them in their supposed homeland. Even the Anatolian site of Kerkenes, once thought to be Median, is not. Keeping in mind the invention of the Achaemenid dynasty by Darius, even the idea of lineage gets slippery.
        Trudy Kawami

        ________________________________

        From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Lisbeth S. Fried
        Sent: Sun 12/31/2006 3:33 PM
        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [ANE-2] No Medes at Ecbatana?



        This strangely supports Clark Welton's theories.
        No Persian period in Ecbatana/Hamedan. Weird.
        No period earlier than the Parthians.
        Perhaps they are digging in the wrong place?
        Liz Fried

        >




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Peter James
        Dear Trudy, One should also be careful of falling into an anti-Median trap. It is not only Herodotus who refers to Median Ecbatana. The Nabonidus
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 1, 2007
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          Dear Trudy,

          One should also be careful of falling into an "anti-Median" trap. It is not only Herodotus who refers to Median Ecbatana. The "Nabonidus Chronicle", year 6 (?, but before year 7) states that Cyrus of Anshan defeated Ishtumegu (Astyages) and that he conquered the "country Agamtanu" (Ecbatana). In the Behistun inscription Darius refers to the execution of the rebel Median king Phraortes in Ecbatana. I see no good reason to doubt that Herodotus was correct in stating that Ecbatana was once the Median capital. If the hill of Hamedan has produced nothing earlier than the Parthians, then (along with Liz) I would assume that they are digging at the wrong part of the site, or the wrong site. Re the recent re-evaluations of Median archaeology, I don't think one can say that there is no material evidence for them in their homeland. Rather there is a lack of archaeological evidence for a Median empire. If the traditions of a Median "empire" have truth in them, then it was of a very different character to that of the Persians.

          Best, Peter James



          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Trudy Kawami
          To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 5:08 PM
          Subject: RE: [ANE-2] No Medes at Ecbatana?


          Liz,
          You've fallen into the "Median trap": since Herodotus said it was the capital, then it must be. There certainly is (was) a "Persian," i.e. Achaemenid, period at Ecbatana including inscriptions, but the extensive stone construction which has visually dominated the site seems to date from the Parthian period. The massive terrace with it very Greek columns has prevented exploration of levels below that, as have the modern houses of parts of the city. The site is extremely complex when compared to the "single-level" sites of Persepolis & Pasargadae. Actually these sites do have other levels to them but it is relatively easy to seen that the initial constructions belonged to a specific historical period.
          Since it has proved impossible to identify objectively art works & architecture with the Medes, I was not at all surprised that Ecbatana has come up short as well.
          This also impacts on the current nation/tribe/clan thread. With the Medes we have a group credited with forming an Empire but NO material evidence for them in their supposed homeland. Even the Anatolian site of Kerkenes, once thought to be Median, is not. Keeping in mind the invention of the Achaemenid dynasty by Darius, even the idea of lineage gets slippery.
          Trudy Kawami

          ________________________________

          From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Lisbeth S. Fried
          Sent: Sun 12/31/2006 3:33 PM
          To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [ANE-2] No Medes at Ecbatana?

          This strangely supports Clark Welton's theories.
          No Persian period in Ecbatana/Hamedan. Weird.
          No period earlier than the Parthians.
          Perhaps they are digging in the wrong place?
          Liz Fried

          >

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






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        • Clark Whelton
          ... archaeology, I don t think one can say that there is no material evidence for them in their homeland. What material evidence are you thinking of? ... for a
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 1, 2007
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            From Peter James:
            >>>>>>Re the recent re-evaluations of Median
            archaeology, I don't think one can say that there
            is no material evidence for them in their homeland.


            What material evidence are you thinking of?


            >>>>>>Rather there is a lack of archaeological evidence
            for a Median empire. If the traditions of a Median "empire"
            have truth in them, then it was of a very different character
            to that of the Persians.


            And yet Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg (1990) made a similar point
            about the elusive nature of evidence for a Persian Empire.


            "In the Introductory Note to this workshop participants were asked to
            look at the Persian empire not from the top [i.e., Persia proper],
            but from below, at the level of everyday life among the subject
            populations; and, after two days of intensive discussion ,
            one thing has become clear: when one decides to look from the
            bottom, it is often hard to see the empire." ("The Quest for an
            Elusive Empire", in Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg, Amélie Kuhrt,
            eds., Achaemenid History IV: Centre and Periphery. Proceedings
            of the Groningen 1986 Achaemenid History Workshop, Leiden:
            Nederlands Instituut Voor Het Nabije Oosten, 1990, 263).


            Clark Whelton
            New York
          • Don Mills
            My attention was caught by another element of Liz s transmission of the CHN item: Head of the team of archeologists at Ecbatana Hill, Masoud Azarnoush told
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 2, 2007
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              My attention was caught by another element of Liz's transmission of the CHN item:

              "Head of the team of archeologists at Ecbatana Hill, Masoud Azarnoush told CHN that stratigraphy works and dowsing operations in five places on the hill have only revealed evidence of the Parthian civilization (248 BC?224 AD)".

              Is dowsing now a respectable technique in archaeological exploration?

              Regards,

              -- Don Mills [London, England]

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Robert M Whiting
              ... Considering that the report comes from a non-native speaker being interviewed by a journalist not necessarily familiar with the technical terminology of
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 2, 2007
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                On Tue, 2 Jan 2007, Don Mills wrote:

                > Is dowsing now a respectable technique in archaeological exploration?

                Considering that the report comes from a non-native speaker being
                interviewed by a journalist not necessarily familiar with the technical
                terminology of archaeology, I assumed that for "dowsing" one should read
                "soundings". Just an assumption on my part. Your mileage may vary.

                On the other hand, the use of Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) to locate and
                map buried features at archaeological sites (http://www.du.edu/~lconyer/)
                could be considered the modern equivalent of "dowsing". However, I don't
                know that GPR is being used at this particular site, nor is there any way
                for GPR to determine what period any potential underground structres
                belong to.

                Bob Whiting
                whiting@...
              • Trudy Kawami
                For those interested in the vexing question of the Medes identity, I would strongly recommend Continuity of Empire(?) Assyria, Media, Persia ed. by G.
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 8, 2007
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                  For those interested in the vexing question of the Medes' identity, I
                  would strongly recommend "Continuity of Empire(?) Assyria, Media,
                  Persia" ed. by G. Lanfranchi, M. Roaf & R. Rollinger, Padua, Sargon
                  Editrice, 2003. The volume looks at the question from many points of
                  view and has a strong emphasis on HOW the Medes functioned as seen by
                  Mesopotamian sources. This is essential reading on the subject.
                  Trudy Kawami


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Clark Whelton
                  ... would strongly recommend Continuity of Empire(?) Assyria, Media, Persia ed. by G. Lanfranchi, M. Roaf & R. Rollinger, Padua, Sargon Editrice, 2003. The
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jan 12, 2007
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                    >>>>>>For those interested in the vexing question of the Medes' identity, I
                    would strongly recommend "Continuity of Empire(?) Assyria, Media,
                    Persia" ed. by G. Lanfranchi, M. Roaf & R. Rollinger, Padua, Sargon
                    Editrice, 2003. The volume looks at the question from many points of
                    view and has a strong emphasis on HOW the Medes functioned as seen by Mesopotamian sources. This is essential reading on the subject.
                    Trudy Kawami




                    If you don't have access to this important book, J.D. Muhly's excellent review can be found at

                    http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2004/2004-11-11.html


                    Clark Whelton
                    New York

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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