The project researches the Islamic pottery found at Tacht-e Soleiman in Iran and aims at understanding production and provenance. The mains focus lies on the archaeometric identification of a local pottery production.


The archaeological site Tacht-e Soleiman is located on a calcareous sinter plateau in the highlands of northwest Iran. Historic texts associate the place with the Sasanian fire sanctuary and royal pilgrimage site Azar Goshnasp as well as with the summer palace of the Mongol ruler Abaqa Khan. Research activities of the German Archaeological Institute show that the plateau was intermittently settled during Achaemenid and from Sasanian to the middle Islamic period. The Museum for Islamic Art in Berlin houses numerous finds from the excavation.

The PhD project focuses on the glazed pottery, nearly complete vessels and mostly diagnostic sherds, from the Islamic period and examines typology, technology, production and provenance. Kiln furniture is also part of the collection and indicates, along with archaeological findings of kilns, a local pottery production at Tacht-e Soleiman. The identification of a geochemical fingerprint is expected to substantiate this hypothesis.

Based on the typology and macroscopic fabric classification the fabrics of representative vessel fragments and the fabrics of the kiln furniture are analyzed with MGR, WD-XRF and microscopic petrography. The combined analytical approach allows the discrimination between various fabric provenances and the determination of a geochemical fingerprint. The compositions of characteristic glazes are analyzed with ED-XRF to further define the regional material culture. Cross-sections are examined to study technical aspects of the production.

The archaeometric identification of a local production at Tacht-e Soleiman combined with the comprehensive data collection allows for supra-regional comparisons and research about trade routes and technology transfer.

This Ph.D. thesis is being written within the program Ancient Object(s) and Visual Studies (AOViS) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS).