Parthian, Sasanian and Early Islamic Pottery: Dating, Definition and Distribution

A specialist workshop at The British Museum
Organised by Seth Priestman & St John Simpson
Department of the Ancient Near East
The British Museum

The purpose of this workshop was to discuss current issues concerning the dating, definition and distribution of selected types of Parthian, Sasanian and Early Islamic pottery, particularly in the light of recent fieldwork or new research on old collections. Many of the speakers illustrated or showed actual examples of pottery, which could be compared to selected sherd material from the collections of The British Museum. We are also very grateful to Dr Venetia Porter for kindly facilitating the handling of Samarra pottery from the Department of Asia. This meeting was limited to a small number of specialists, including archaeologists and archaeological scientists, thus the presentations were focused on particular problems rather than describing the overall state of ceramic studies or material culture in general. The presentations themselves varied from formal presentations to “hands-on” discussions over objects, although time unfortunately did not always allow for questions. However a great deal of information was shared and it was felt that it would be useful to publish the presentations, or a summary of what was said, accompanied by selective transcripts of the discussion. In most cases we have not attempted to support statements with the usual referencing and data which would be provided with the formal presentation or publication of the material, although we have included a summary list of key references referred to by some of the speakers. It should also be born in mind that unless the speaker supplied a written text, the texts have been transcribed directly from the spoken word, with the minimum of alteration, and therefore the words and syntax chosen are not necessarily those the authors would have chosen to select for a written presentation. The structure of this web-publication is as follows:

  • Programme
  • List of speakers and discussants
  • Individual presentations with selected illustrations
  • List of references cited