Clues to the Presence of an Assyrian Administration in the Mahidasht Plain, Kermanshah, Iran

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Sajjad Alibaigi
John MacGinnis



Large sculpted circular door sockets are a characteristic feature of Neo-Assyrian monumental architecture and have been found in palaces, temples, and admin- istrative centers both at core imperial sites such as Khorsabad and Nimrud and at provincial capitals such as Till-Barsib, Arslan-Tash, and Ziyaret Tepe. In the case of Iran, although the Assyrians controlled significant parts of the country, especially in the eighth century Bce, research into their presence in that period has until now been very limited. Even so, there is one such door socket known from Iran, namely from the excavations at Tapeh Giyan, the discovery of which helped confirm the existence of an Assyrian administrative center at the site. This in turn led Julian Reade to suggest that Giyan was the location of the capital of the Assyr- ian province of Kharkhar. We can now add to the debate new discoveries from the site of Quwakh Tapeh in Kuzaran, in the northern Mahidasht plain, where a carved door socket and fragments of other carved stones scattered across the mound attest to the existence of a building of major importance. In this study we present this socket and compare it with other relevant material in order to determine its date, establish its archaeological context, and consider the implications.

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