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Rayy: from its Origins to the Mongol Invasion

An Archaeological and Historiographical Study

Series:

Rocco Rante

This book offers a new history of the ancient city of Rayy. Based on the results of the latest excavations on the Citadel and the Shahrestan (the political and administrative nucleus of the city in all periods), the study of historical and geographical texts and on surveys carried out between 2005 and 2007 by the author and the Iranian archaeologist, Ghadir Afround, the complete occupation sequence of the city, from its foundation in the Iron Age and the Parthian reconstructions (2nd to 1st centuries BC), up to the Mongol invasions and rapid depopulation in the 13th century CE, comes to light.
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The Oasis of Bukhara, Volume 1

Population, Depopulation and Settlement Evolution

Series:

Rocco Rante

In The Oasis of Bukhara: Population, Depopulation and Settlement Evolution, Rocco Rante, archaeologist at the Louvre Museum, presents the results of a large-scale and ambitious regional archaeological investigation of the oasis of Bukhara, corresponding to the delta of the Zerafshan River, from the end of the 1st millennium BCE to the Timurid period. Rante reports the conclusions of several studies of the oasis, realised with the collaboration of distinguished specialists, and covers topics such as human migration, water and the city, urban development and changes in human behaviour. He also revisits the history of this part of Central Asia, providing new historical and cultural insights arising out of the intense archaeological activities undertaken in the field. The volume is co-published by Brill, Leiden, and the Louvre Museum, Paris.
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Rocco Rante

Abstract

This article attempts a long-term perspective on cities and water from Late Antiquity to the early Islamic centuries (until ca. 1000 CE). It focuses on the question of how cities and their agricultural hinterland were supplied with water. The topography of the site, its geomorphological features, are shown to influence both the setup and subsequent history of the cities. The article uses two sets of examples, one chosen from the Iranian plateau where qanāt irrigation predominates, and the other one from Persianate Central Asia (Transoxiana), where water is derived from larger and medium-sized rivers. The type of irrigation influences the ways in which the city grows, and more generally, the layout of the city is also determined by the water supply. Cities tend to grow towards the source of water, and it can also be observed that in many cases, the political and administrative centre is located where the best water is available. One of the major questions is whether imperial will was behind the construction of irrigation systems or whether local players such as landlords were the decisive factor.

The article combines archaeological research and the study of textual sources but is mostly based on recent archaeological fieldwork.