Survey in the Dunes: New Discoveries from an Old Archaeological Project in Sistan, Afghanistan

Survey in the Dunes: New Discoveries from an Old Archaeological Project in Sistan, Afghanistan

"Pizza Talk" Archaeology Lecture by William B. Trousdale and Mitchell Allen, Smithsonian Institution

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Fowler A222

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This presentation will offer a brief overview of the Helmand Sistan Project (HSP), the only multidisciplinary, long-term, comprehensive survey and excavation project ever conducted in the southwest corner of Afghanistan. In the field in the 1970s and sponsored jointly by the Smithsonian and the government of Afghanistan, HSP identified almost 200 sites in the Sistan region-- and excavated 12 of them-- to establish the first cultural history of the region from the Bronze Age to the present, one that has not been superseded because of four decades of subsequent political and military conflict. With publication of this legacy project now underway, we report on a few highlights of the 5000 year history of the region, including a previously unknown early Iron Age culture and a pristine archaeological landscape from the 15th century CE.

William B. Trousdale is Curator Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution and Principal Investigator of the Helmand Sistan Project. Trousdale served both at the National Museum of Natural History and at the Freer Gallery in his 35 year career in archaeology. In addition to his work in Sistan, he is a specialist on Chinese jade, British colonial visitors to Afghanistan and Central Asia, and military academies. He has had five books and 25 articles published on those topics.

Mitchell Allen, Research Associate at the Smithsonian and the Archaeological Research Facility at UC Berkeley, founded two archaeology-focused publishing houses, AltaMira Press and Left Coast Press, in a 40 year scholarly publishing career. A junior archaeologist on the Helmand Sistan Project, he has since obtained a Ph.D. from UCLA, taught archaeology at five universities, and has numerous publications on both archaeology and scholarly publishing.

Sponsor(s): Program on Central Asia, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology