This book is a revised manuscript of my doctoral dissertation “Alas, Short Is the Joy of Life!” Elamite Funerary Practice in the First Half of the First Millennium BCE, completed in 2017 at the University of Sydney, Australia. My dissertation was conceived as a much broader investigation of Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Elamite funerary practices, proceeding from my honours thesis on a corpus of bronze “bathtub” coffins found in the mortuary records of all three regions (published by Archaeopress in 2015 as a monograph entitled Bronze ‘Bathtub’ Coffins In the Context of 8th–6th Century BC Babylonian, Assyrian and Elamite Funerary Practices). A year into my research phase, however, I found myself overwhelmed by a vast sea of mortuary evidence, and my time too thinly spread across three different regions whose burial practices, despite certain common threads, were on the whole quite distinct. By this time it had also become clear that the Mesopotamian evidence, which was still quite poorly studied when I had embarked on my project, was attracting attention from specialists with solid backgrounds in Assyrian and Babylonian culture and history who could do it far greater justice than I. Still without other suitors and deserving of a dedicated treatment, the mortuary record of the last centuries of the Elamite civilisation came to the forefront of my research. Through this work, I hope to breathe some life back into the men, women and children whose burials I have pored over day after day, and to put the spotlight on an important society of the ancient Near East that is too often pushed to the periphery of scholarly discussion.

I would like to extend my thanks firstly to Prof Javier Álvarez-Mon, who introduced me to Elam and offered ongoing advice during both the research phase of my thesis and the process of its conversion into a monograph. I also wish to recognise Prof Margaret Miller who has supported me since my earliest student days and remains a source of inspiration. To Profs Gian Pietro Basello, Adriano Rossi and Ela Filippone, I owe a debt of gratitude for their kindness and hospitality during my stay in Rome on an Endeavour Research Fellowship in 2014 to study inscriptions related to this work. An additional acknowledgement is due to Gian Pietro for the time he spent working on these inscriptions. Another thanks goes to François Bridey, who kindly allowed me to examine some of the Neo-Elamite materials relevant to my thesis at the Louvre Museum.

Further thanks are owed to Rudolph Alagich, Sheler Amelirad, Prof Alison Betts, Prof Katrien De Graef, Prof Wouter F.M. Henkelman, Dr Bernadette McCall, Dr Behzad Mofidi-Nasrabadi, Prof Daniel T. Potts, Lula Saunders, Prof Jan Tavernier and Dr Ali Zalaghi for variously reading, discussing and contributing their insights to parts of this work. Needless to say, any errors are my own. For translations of the German texts used in this work I could not have done without the expertise of Prof Brian Taylor of the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Sydney.

Most of all, thank you to my family and friends for their endless patience and unconditional support throughout my years of research. And finally, Grandpa Ross, this work is my offering to you.

This research would not have been possible without the financial support of the Australian government (APA Scholarship and Endeavour Research Fellowship), the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (Leone Crawford Travel Grant), and the University of Sydney (Carlyle Greenwell Research Grant, Travel Grant Scheme, and Postgraduate Research Support Scheme).

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