Chantiers de la Ville des Artisans
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and early Sasanian periods (third century BC to third century AD), is also presented, based on the short reports and unpublished excavation notes of Ghirshman, in addition to unpublished reports by his predecessors at the site.