An Imperial Frontier and its Landscape: the Gorgan and Tammisha Walls in North-East Iran

Project start date: 2006-09 Project end date: 2009-08
A primary aim of the project is to employ modern archaeological techniques to date this 195 km long baked brick wall and place it within its landscape context. Although ostensibly to protect the inhabited lands of NE Iran from the incursion of nomadic groups from the central Asian steppe, there is clearly more to this wall than meets the eye. Discoveries by our Iranian colleagues, now confirmed by fieldwork in 2005, demonstrate that the wall is associated with a massive system of water supply consisting of earthen dams and canals. These associated landscape features must be recorded and analyzed before the entire feature can be understood.
Country/region(s): 
Methods usedCategory
Geophysical surveyData capture
archaeologyDiscipline
Funding sources: 
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Content types created: 
Dataset/structured data, Still Image/Graphics
Software tools used: 
ArcheoSurveyor, Adobe photoshop Elements
Source material used:  
Bartington Grad 601/2 magnetometer and TR Systems earth resistance meter. Downloaded and procesed using ArcheoSurveyor. Held by by the Archaeology Data Service, York with copies held by Dr Eberhard sauer of Edinburgh University.
Digital resource created:  
Geophysical data, mainly magnetometery but with some earth resistance, of approx 1 million data points in archeosurveyor grid(asg) format and XYZ comma sv files. These are principally of the interiors of forts on the Gorgan wall and of brick kilns along its route. Various pictires of the results in png format.
Data Formats created: 
ArcheoSurveyor Grid (ASG), Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
production of png pictures from processed data.
Publications:  
Publications on the project with generous support by the AHRC (from 2006) including some on the pilot study in 2005

1. Nokandeh, J., Sauer, E., Omrani Rekavandi, H., Wilkinson, T., Abbasi, G.A., Schwenninger, J.-L., Mahmoudi, M., Parker, D., Fattahi, M., Usher-Wilson, L.S., Ershadi, M., Ratcliffe, J. and Gale, R., 2006 ‘Linear Barriers of Northern Iran: The Great Wall of Gorgan and the Wall of Tammishe.’ Iran 44: 121-73.
2. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E., Wilkinson, T. and Safari Tamak, E., 2006 ‘Linear Barriers of Northern Iran: The Great Wall of Gorgan.’ The British Institute of Persian Studies Newsletter 29 (November 2006): 4.
3. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E., Nokandeh, J. and Nazifi, A., with Ershadi, M. (design), 2007 ‘A Linear Barrier of Northern Iran: The Great Wall of Gorgan.’ [English version]/ ‘????? ???? ????? :????? ???? ??? ????’ [Persian version], Gorgan, pp. 2 [an illustrated brochure].
4. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E., Wilkinson, T., Safari Tamak, E., Ainslie, R., Mahmoudi, M., Griffiths, S., Ershadi, M., Jansen Van Rensburg, J., Fattahi, M., Ratcliffe, J., Nokandeh, J., Nazifi, A., Thomas, R., Gale, R. and Hoffmann, B., 2007 ‘An Imperial Frontier of the Sasanian Empire: further fieldwork at the Great Wall of Gorgan.’ Iran 45: 95-136.
5. Omrani Rekavandi, H., Sauer, E., Wilkinson, T. and Nokandeh, J., 2008 ‘The enigma of the ‘Red Snake’: Revealing one of the World’s Greatest Frontier Walls.’ Current World Archaeology 27: 12-22 & cover page, cf. 5 (see http://www.shca.ed.ac.uk/staff/academic/esauer/pubs/iranian_walls.pdf).

Institutions affiliated with this project: 

UK HE institutions involved:
University of Edinburgh
Durham University
UK HE institutions involved:
ICHTO (Iran)

Project staff and expertise: 

Principal staff member:Eberhard Sauer, T.J. Wilkinson
Other staff:
External expertise:


Metadata on this arts-humanities.net record
Author(s) of recordRoger Ainslie
TitleAn Imperial Frontier and its Landscape: the Gorgan and Tammisha Walls in North-East Iran
Record created2008-03-16
Record updated2010-06-11 11:17
URL of recordhttp://www.arts-humanities.net/node/2275
Citation of recordRoger Ainslie: An Imperial Frontier and its Landscape: the Gorgan and Tammisha Walls in North-East Iran.
<http://www.arts-humanities.net/node/2275>
created: 2008-03-16, last updated 2010-06-11 11:17