Another Persian Crisis: the Persepolis Fortification Archive in Chicago

A public lecture

Friday, April 24, 12 noon
2nd floor lecture room
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
15 East 84th St.
New York, NY 10028

Matthew W. Stolper
Professor of Assyriology, John A. Wilson Professor of Oriental Studies in the Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago

Matthew W. Stolper is the Director of the Persepolis Fortification Archive Project. In 1933, Oriental Institute archaeologists working at Persepolis, clearing the ruined palaces of Kings Darius, Xerxes, and their Achaemenid Persian successors, found tens of thousands of clay tablets in a bastion in the fortification wall at the edge of the great stone terrace. These documents were pieces of a single, complex system, the Persepolis Fortification Archive, that proved-after decades of painstaking work-to be the largest and most important single source of information from within the Persian Empire on Achaemenid Persian languages, history, society, religion and art. Now, the Archive faces a legal battle that could well lead to its dismemberment and loss if it is seized and sold, and disappears into the holdings of private collectors around the world. Fueled by this crisis the Persepolis Fortification Archive Project is a new phase in recording and distributing the results of the study of the archive, responding to emergency conditions with electronic equipment and media alongside the conventional tool-kits of philology and scholarship.

A summary of the project is available on the website of the Oriental Institute (

Background and news of the project and the controversy are available at the Persepolis Fortification Archive Weblog (

This lecture is free and open to the public, but please be sure to RSVP. For more information on other ISAW events, please visit: You may also contact the ISAW events office directly at 212.992.7818.