Iran, Italy to mark 60 years of collaboration in cultural heritage

November 15, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran and Italy will mark 60 years of collaboration in the fields of cultural heritage and archaeology in a conference, which will be held on Sunday at the National Museum of Iran in downtown Tehran.

Amongst invitees to the event are Iran’s tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan, Italian Ambassador to Iran Giuseppe Perrone and tens of cultural heritage experts, archaeologists, restorers, and media personnel, IRIB reported on Thursday.

Organized by Iran’s Research Institute of Cultural Heritage & Tourism, the conference is aimed to discuss four main areas of Iranian cultural heritage, namely; archaeological findings relative to prehistorical times, the ones that is liked with Achaemenid-era, ones linked to Parthian and Sassanid times, and the field of conservation.

An Iranian and an Italian expert, who have previously collaborated in each of the aforementioned fields, will deliver lectures during the conference, the report said.

On the same day, an archaeological exhibition dedicated to the 60th year of partnership will be inaugurated at the museum. The exhibit will be running through December 1. 

From the early 20th century on, according to Encyclopedia Iranica, Italians participated in the scholarly investigation of ancient Iranian history and culture, most notably Ugo Monneret de Villard, but Italy’s direct involvement in field archeology in Iran dates from relatively recent times. The first agreement between the Iranian Archeological Services and the Institute for the Middle and Far East (Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, IsMEO, q.v.) was reached only in 1959. Under its learned and dynamic director, Giuseppe Tucci (q.v.), IsMEO had already started archeological research in Pakistan (1956) and Afghanistan (1957).

Since 1960 the Center for Archeological Excavation has organized large-scale excavations in the region of Sistan; the Center for Conservation carried out especially significant research at Persepolis and Isfahan.

Conservation and restoration work at Persepolis began in 1964. In 1965 it came under the guidance of the conservation expert Giuseppe Tilia, who worked with his wife, A. B. Pettersson-Tilia, on all aspects of preliminary site research, as well as on restoration.

Italian archeology in Iran is not limited to IsMEO, for from the mid-1970s other Italian institutions also established field research projects in various regions of Iran. In 1976 the University of Turin participated in a joint program with the University Museum of Pennsylvania and the Iranian Center for Archeological Research, known as the Hesar Restudy Project; it was undertaken out of a need to study this fundamental site, uncovered in the region of Damgan during the 1930s, more thoroughly.

From 1976 to 1978 Italian researchers from the Institute of Mycenaean and Aegean-Anatolian Studies (a branch of the National Research Council [Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche]) conducted surface surveys, directed by P. E. Pecorella and M. Salvini, in the Urmia and Usnaviye plains, as well as in the area between Lake Urmia and the Zagros Mountains in Iranian Azerbaijan.

An important highlight of Italian archeological work in Iran lies in the area of paleobotanical research, which formed part of the studies in Sistan and later at Tepe Yahya, Tepe Hesar, Qal’a-ye Esma’il Aqa, and Tepe Gijlar.

AFM/MG

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