The projekt aims at understanding the regional features of the pottery found at Tacht-e Soleiman by classifying them into their cultural and archaeologic context. The main focus is on the Early Islamic Period.


Tacht-e Soleiman, a naturally formed plateau with an artesian lake, is an archaeological site located in the mountains of the Iranian province of West-Azerbaijan and was discontinuously inhabited from Achaemenid to at least Ilkhanid times. From the 4th until the 7th century CE a Zoroastrian fire temple was located on the plateau. Following the fall of the Sasanian Empire a village settlement spread on the site. In the second half of the 13th century CE Abaqa, the second Ilkhan of Persia, built a summer palace by reusing the layout plan and foundation walls of the Sasanian fire temple. After the end of the Mongol rule the local population reoccupied the plateau before it was finally abandoned in the 14th / 15th century CE.

A considerable amount of the pottery from Tacht-e Soleiman, which was excavated in the 1960s and 1970s by the German Archaeological Institute, is housed at the Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin. The collection comprises about 90 vessels and nearly 3500 sherds, mostly diagnostic, from pre-Islamic and Islamic times. The fabrics of the glazed, incised, moulded and plain sherds range from clay-body to frit- and stone-ware. In addition to the vessel pottery, kiln furniture from a workshop was found and stored in Berlin.

The project aims at a comprehensive analysis of the rarely described and studied material. The primary focus in terms of time is on the Early Islamic pottery and thematically on the identification of regional features and a regional material culture. Comparative studies of fabric and glaze on vessel sherds and on the kiln furniture are expected to support the scientific determination of a material fingerprint.

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).