In December 2009, an international congress was held at Ghent University in order to investigate, exactly 20 years after the 36th RAI “Mésopotamie et Elam”, the present state of our knowledge of the Elamite and Susean society from archaeological, philological, historical and geographical points of view. The multidisciplinary character of this congress illustrates the present state of research in the socio-economic, historical and political developments of the Suso-Elamite region from prehistoric times until the great Persian Empire. Because of its strategically important location between the Mesopotamian alluvial plain and the Iranian highlands and its particular interest as point of contact between civilizations, Susa and Elam were of utmost importance for the history of the ancient Near East in general.
Among the hundred or so tombs of post-Alexander date excavated by Roman Ghirshman between 1947 and 1952 on the mound of the “Ville des Artisans” at Susa, six are remarkable for their construction and burial contents. Shortly before his death in 1979, Ghirshman, director of the French “Mission de Suse” from 1946 until 1968, had started to write up his final report. Based on his notes, the authors have engaged to publish these tombs, together with the original plans, drawings and photographs of the burial goods. The grave contents consisted mainly of pottery, but also included glass vessels, figurines, metal objects and other small finds. The study of the material from these large vaulted subterranean structures indicates that they were most likely intended as family tombs, thus remaining in use for several decades and should be dated in the first or second century AD. Similar tombs are known at other sites in the region of Susa, and even in Mesopotamia, e.g. at Seleucia on the Tigris. A synthesis of the evolution in tomb architecture and typology, as well as the burial practices, for the whole site of Susa between the Seleucid and early Sasanian periods (third century BC to third century AD), is also presented, based on the short reports and unpublished excavation notes of Ghirshman, in addition to unpublished reports by his predecessors at the site.
The Making of Israel C.L. Crouch presents the southern Levant during the seventh century BCE as a major period for the formation of Israelite ethnic identity, challenging scholarship which dates biblical texts with identity concerns to the exilic and post-exilic periods as well as scholarship which limits pre-exilic identity concerns to Josianic nationalism. The argument analyses the archaeological material from the southern Levant during Iron Age II, then draws on anthropological research to argue for an ethnic response to the economic, political and cultural change of this period. The volume concludes with an investigation into identity issues in Deuteronomy, highlighting centralisation and exclusive Yahwism as part of the deuteronomic formulation of Israelite ethnic identity.