International Conference Reinventing Cultural Heritage International Conference Reinventing Cultural Heritage

Reinventing Cultural Heritage

A joint international conference of the University of Tehran and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris, Fr)

With the support of the Anthropological Society of Iran (ASI), Institute of Archeology (University of Tehran), Center for Tourism Studies (University of Tehran), and Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism)

9-10 November 2020

This international conference gathers a multidisciplinary team composed of anthropologists, historians, linguists, and archaeologists to study cultural heritage as an object through various methodological approaches and from case studies mainly, but not exclusively, questioning the Iranian domain. It is a scientific contribution in the MOU frame signed in November 2017 between the EHESS and the University of Tehran. This international conference's transdisciplinary approach will also seek the consideration of multiple scales, from local to global spectrum.  

Cultural Heritage as a collection of tangible and intangible objects is a category so familiar, so frequently used daily that it seems almost imminent. However, the cultural heritage awareness in the modern sense is a relatively recent invention, especially considering the age of some of its objects, such as the famous Kaluts of the Lut desert in Iran. The concern for safeguarding the past traces does not appear in France until the early nineteenth century. It is not a mere coincidence if this process is concomitant with the human sciences' institutionalization and, peculiarly, of the European ethnographic knowledge. This phenomenon is even more recent in Iran.

Far from being passive legacies of a collectivity ([ethnic] groups, nations, humanity) with an immediate substance, these ancestral legacies that belong to the fields of environment, art, monument, objects and/or traditional knowledge and know-how, are also subject to processes of symbolical detachment,  transmission, sharing, and appropriation (individual or collective) that are also rooting for identity construction. These steps have their basis on identification, legitimation, interpretation, and involvement, given their emotional charges. The most recent examples of these cultural heritage institution processes are undoubtedly the UNESCO lists of intangible cultural heritage. This type of heritage includes the living heritage that its experts are not restricted to the outsider scholars but extends to the very practitioners of these traditions. 

This "patrimonial" turning point invites to question further the making processes of cultural heritage. The field appears abyssal: from the monument to its indigenous and/or global exegeses, going through the renewal of its techniques, categories, and objects. Facing this overload of viewpoints, we decided to narrow the focus on three main questions at the core of the contemporary topic of cultural heritage reinventions.

As pointed out by Daniel Fabre, understanding the contemporary modes of attribution of a cultural value requires interrogating the past. That is the dialectical relationship between historical evidence (scriptural, monuments; objects; traditional know-how) and contemporary valorization? Another question will be about the impact of the development of new technologies (geophysical prospection, drones, and so on) on the contemporary valorization of the cultural heritage? How do UNESCO's global policies contribute to these new cultural heritage renewals, and what is their impact?

In order to answer these questions, this international conference is organized according to the following three axes as follow.

1-Cultural Heritage and History: ambiguous relationships?

Within this axis framework, the often ambiguous relationships between cultural heritage and its historical mediums will be analyzed. How can the analysis of the historical and /or archaeological sources available reshape the understanding of a patrimonial object, that is, the exegesis that has usually been associated with it? What are, in return, the effects of such a retrospection on the phenomena of identifying as cultural heritage?

2-New technologies, new cultural heritage?

This axis will examine how the development of new technologies allows professionals (archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists) to rethink the apprehension of cultural heritage, from a methodological viewpoint and its understanding. In the last instance, the aporia inherent to the researcher's positionality will be questioned: readily shaped in today's world as a hyper-scientist, this position remains dependent on technologies in perpetual evolutions as well as the multiple imaginaries on the contribution of these technologies.

3- Patrimonial quests? Between UNESCO's policies and local cultural heritages: varied effects

How do UNESCO's global policies reinvent the logic of cultural heritage awareness at the national and local levels? From an analysis mainly focused on the Iranian field that will be examined against other examples, we will seek to grasp the dialectic between these different scales.

Conference Committee

  • General Chair: Emilia Nercissians (Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran)
  • Chairs of Academic Board:
  • Claudine Gauthier (Professor in Anthropology, IIAC-LAHIC (EHESS)/University of Bordeaux
  • Mehrdad Arabestani (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran, President of Anthropological Society of Iran),

Academic Board (In alphabetical order)

  • Pooya ALAEDINI (Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran)
  • Mostafa DEHPAHLAVAN (Archeologist, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Tehran)
  • Sébastien GONDET (UMR 5133Archéorient, Univ Lyon, CNRS/Lyon 2 University)
  • Alireza HASANZADEH (Anthropologist; Research Institute of Cultural Heritage & Tourism, Tehran)
  • Sepideh PARSAPAJOUH (Anthropologist; CNRS CR, CéSor; EHESS, Paris)
  • Fabrizio SPEZIALE (Professor at the EHESS, CEIAS)
  • Hamed VAHDATI NASAB (Associate Professor, Tabriat Modars University)

Publication and medium

 The proceedings of the international conference will be published at Brepols (Turnhout, BE). The medium of the conference is English.

Online access

The meeting will be through Big Blue Button online conferencing platform. To access the "Webinar EHESS/UT Reinventing Cultural Heritage", follow and login with your name.



Fariba Seddighi (

Mehrdad Arabestani (


Mehrdad Arabestani

Chair of Academic Board

Reinventing Cultural Heritage International Conference

Brochure of Conference




Welcoming Speech and Report (10:45-11:00)

Mehrdad Arabestani, Claudine Gauthier


  1. The Shifting Concept of Cultural Heritage, from National to Global to Local, and the Impact of UNESCO's Law-making

    Janet Blake (11-11:20)

  2. Cultural Heritage: Afterwardness, antagonism, and hegemony 

    Mehrdad Arabestani (11:20-11:40)

  3. How can Cultural Heritage be Shaped and Reshaped by Oral Tradition? The case study of some Zoroastrian holy shrines of the Yazd province

    Claudine Gauthier (11:40- 12)

Discussant: Nahal Naficy (University of Allameh Tabataba'i) (12:00- 12:30)

The Shifting Concept of Cultural Heritage, from National to Global to Local, and the Impact of UNESCO's Law-making

Janet Blake

This paper will begin with an examination of the historical development of the idea of cultural heritage, starting with the national project and moving towards a concept of global heritage to revaluing local heritages. This review also addresses the evolving role of the state and non-state actors. Following this, the different stages of policy- and law-making for cultural heritage in UNESCO will be examined along with the significance of the transitions from protection to safeguarding, tangible to intangible and universal/global to local. In addition, the significance of the much-expanded role played by anthropologists in the development of international heritage policy and law will be addressed. The implications of these changes both for the idea of heritage itself as well as for heritage bearers, along with the paradigm shift in heritage safeguarding that has occurred over recent years, will be considered.

Keywords: Cultural heritage, Heritage policy-and law-making, Protection, Safeguarding, Tangible and intangible.


Cultural heritage: afterwardness, antagonism, and hegemony

Mehrdad Arabestani

Cultural heritage includes the resources that influence our sense of social orientation and are usually considered as the essential roots of cultural identity. Nonetheless, rather than an objective and consensual set of elements, cultural heritage is subject to afterwardness; in a way that any given identity forms its cultural repertoire as its basis. Furthermore, afterwardness implies that the significance of various elements of cultural heritage is a matter of constant interpretation as culture evolves. Therefore, antagonism is intrinsic to any discourse of cultural heritage, where, to borrow Laclau and Muffe's terms, the very presence of ‘other' prevents the identities from being totally themselves. By drawing upon specific ethnographic studies, this paper is going to represent the mechanism of afterwardness and antagonism based on the interpretation of cultural heritage, as well as the political implications of such antagonisms, through examples from the existing data.    

Keywords: Cultural heritage, afterwardness, antagonism, hegemony


Dotted history: from mobilization to occultation in Cathar country

Silvie Sagnes

For Investigating the social uses of the past, the ethnologists have not been confronted with indifference to the new knowledge brought by history professionals (archaeologists, archivists, and historians). By doing so, at a time when territorial development finds in tourism, and thus in history and memory, one of its main resources, competition imposes to enhance this past with a label or another or even to claim supreme consecration: inscription on the World Heritage List. However, the expert evaluation of the OUV (Outstanding Universal Value) can not be complied with without taking into account the opinion of the specialists. Thus, after the first failure in 1985, the candidacy of the City of Carcassonne, in 1997, was based on the recommendations of the Icomos and, weighting the initial argument of an authentic fortified medieval town, put forward the restoration by Viollet-le-Duc in the nineteenth century. Finally inscribed, the City continues to surf the wave of medievalism ... and even in the new Unesco candidacy which encompasses it, namely the candidature of the castles known as "Cathars", as a serial property. There, its viollet-le-ducian character is still overshadowed, the hoped-for inscription not being conceived as anything more than an adjunct for the revival of the "Pays Cathare" territorial development program. But the celebrated "Cathar country" is less a reflection of the past than historical and territorial fiction, offered to all resemantizations, religious, spiritual, esoteric, romantic, political, etc. Thus, the place given to the historical discipline tends to be reduced to a simple instrumentalization, for purposes of serving as a guarantee. Going beyond this simple observation, we will try to understand the complex relationships between specialists and heritage entrepreneurs.

Keywords: Dotted History, mobilization, occultation





  1. How are Old Houses of New Julfa Talking through the Language of Modern Architecture? Emilia Nercissians (13:30-13:50)
  2. A Quest for Authenticity in Iran's Old Houses and Neighborhoods Pooya Alaedini and Reihan Shahvali (13:50-14:10)
  3. Traditional Skills of Building and Sailing Iranian Lanj Boats: An inscribed intangible cultural heritage and an evaluation of general and local policies to conserve it

Shadi Kalantar (14:10-14:30)

Discussant: Pooya Alaedini (University of Tehran) (14:30-15:00)


BREAK (15:00-15:30)


How are Old Houses of New Julfa talking through the Language of Modern Architecture?

Emilia Nercissians

After introducing New Julfa from the perspective of European travelers of the 17th century, this paper comes to a general statement that everything is a subject of change except the change itself. The modern era requires its own necessities due to consequences of change from architectural and anthropological points of view. New Julfa, as a part of historical city of Isfahan, has its own precedence. This is a neighborhood mostly build by Armenians who were brought to Iran through forced migration by Shah Abbas in 1602 as a result of Iran and Ottoman war. New Julfa considered a living museum. New Julfa, as a part of historical city of Isfahan, has tourist attractions.  The old houses as a heritage of those old days need specific methods of repair and maintenance. The main subject of this paper is to introduce the architectural method known as " Facadism " that by keeping the archeological values of the old houses helps to protect them from abolishment.

Keywords: Old Houses, New Julfa, Modern Architecture

A Quest for Authenticity in Iran's Old Houses and Neighborhoods

Pooya Alaedini, Reihan Shahvali

Despite the ravage of rapid urbanization, most Iranian cities still have a significant stock of old houses with attractive characteristics. Their often dilapidated and unsafe conditions make them prime candidates for renewal activities. Is this the right action? Or should we find ways to retain them as some sort of urban monuments?  Given the history of Iran, cities like Shiraz, Esfahan, and Tehran are especially faced with these questions. Many analysts believe that these kinds of houses/mansions form a part of cultural heritage in such cities. According to UNESCO, cultural heritage would provide generations with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. The question is how can these old houses, as cultural heritage, help one generation in the process of identification and continuity. In recent years, a number of such houses have been repaired and turned into ins, restaurants, etc. They appear to have become quite popular with visitors, especially foreign tourists. Visitors are potentially offered a sense of authenticity, which is now lost under the circumstances of modernity. The first part of the talk will treat the various aspects of authenticity in relation to these old houses. The second part of the talk will focus on the regeneration framework formulated by the Iranian government, which includes areas and buildings of historic significance. It will leverage a number of experiences in Iranian cities to argue for a revised approach with a new economic-financial model that facilitates preservation at the neighborhood level, aimed at ensuring neighborhood authenticity, rather than focusing on individual buildings.

Keywords: Old Houses, Neighborhoods, Authenticity, Iran



Traditional Skills of Building and Sailing Iranian Lanj Boats: An inscribed intangible cultural heritage and an evaluation of general and local policies to conserve it

Shadi Kalantar

In 2011, Traditional Skills of Building and Sailing Iranian Lanj Boats in the Persian Gulf was inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. But afterward, what approach has been applied, and what action has been taken in order to protect this precious cultural heritage and increase social awareness of its importance? The aim of the current study is to, at first, give a brief overview of ship/boat building skills and its history in northern coasts of Persian Gulf and secondly, discuss how successful have been the efforts to save and introduce it (local NGOs, academic studies, etc.). Finally, some approaches will be proposed to protect and extend people`s knowledge about Lanj and relating skills.

Keywords: Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO, Lanj, Persian Gulf



  1. The Tin Road

Michaël Guichard and Grégory Chambon (15:30-15:50)

  1. Photogrammetric Study and Analysis of Underwater Archaeological Sites based on two new Methods: Burst-Mode Photography and underwater filming

Iman khosravi and Mohammad Ghamari (15:50-16:10)

  1. Defining Iranian Heritage sites on the field: current archaeological mapping approaches, Persepolis and Pasargadae as case studies (Iran)

Kourosh Mohammadkhani and Sébastien Gondet (16:10- 16:30)

Discussant: Emilia Nercissians (University of Tehran)(16:30- 17:00)

Photogrammetric Study and Analysis of Underwater Archaeological Sites based on two new Methods: Burst-Mode Photography and underwater filming

Iman khosravi , Mohammad Ghamari

Today, photogrammetry is one of the best methods for geometric measuring, morphologic analysis, and interpretation of ancient mounds. This method is beneficial for geo base sciences, e.g. Geology, Geography, Archaeology, etc. But, unfortunately, this method generally used only for surface surveys. The main goal of this paper is to introduce this method in the underwater archaeology for investigation, survey, and excavation of sunken sites based on photogrammetric 3D models. Generally, due to underwater restriction, out of water accurate study of sites is almost impossible. But, this problem not existed if researchers used the photogrammetric 3D models. Furthermore, the use of photography with Burst-mode technique and also use of 3D modeling from the movie. These methods will make the underwater survey easy and inexpensive. Because in these methods we don't need a specialist in preliminary studies and surveys will be low cost. We can even use the old movies of ancient underwater sites. This paper compares the traditional methods of underwater surveys and these methods and tries to introduce a standard using photogrammetric methods in underwater archaeology. 

Keywords: Photogrammetry, underwater archaeology, Photo-map, digital 3D space, Burst-mode photography.

The Tin Road

Michaël Guichard , Grégory Chambon

For a long time, the Sumerians and Akkadians of the Mesopotamian plain were strongly interested and attracted by the eastern highlands, which they themselves called "Elam." It was from there that came the precious tin with which they made their weapons and tools. Beyond Diyala Valley (the ancient Ida-Maraz), which was an obligatory road between Mesopotamia and the Zagros, the small states and cities that flourished on the side of present-day Iran are still very little known by current research. One of them has been identified: it is the state whose capital was Niqqum, certainly the site of Choga Gavaneh in Kermanshah province where cuneiform texts have been discovered. This paper aims to present a new project on the study of the tin road between Susa and the Diyala Valley. Several cities with administrations and scribes developed there and maintained diplomatic relations with their neighbours. This project, which is based on several research fields, such as historical geography, economic history, archaeology, and epigraphy, seeks to highlight the rich historical and archaeological heritage to be discovered in western Iran, based on an already very rich Franco-Iranian collaboration.

Keywords: Sumerians, Akhhadians, Mesopotamian plain

Defining Iranian Heritage sites on the field: current archaeological mapping approaches, Persepolis and Pasargadae as case studies

Kourosh Mohammadkhani, Sébastien Gondet

To be preserved, analyzed, and discussed, the Heritage sites need first to be accurately defined. During a long period, the archaeological research limited its scope mainly on ruins still visible in the present landscape. From the early 1960s, there is an increasing interest in the land beyond the sites and monuments. A site cannot be fully approached and understood without contextualization. In this way, it is long asked by UNESCO to define buffer zones around the protected areas inscribed on the World Heritage list. For enhancing the preservation of sites and related landscapes, we need to reveal their layout and to locate their constitutive elements. On the field, archaeologists develop various and complementary mapping solutions dedicated to reveal and to record the visible artifacts as well as the buried remains at the site and regional scales. Besides a better understanding of the past settlement patterns, the produced data will be critical for defining Heritage preservation and conservation management plans. The case studies of the World Heritage sites of Pasargadae and Persepolis are particularly illustrative of the need for broadening the scale of field archaeological studies and contributions of spatial archaeology programs. Since the late 1990s, Iranian and Iranian-international teams have implemented archaeological projects around and beyond the lavish Achaemenid monuments. These still ongoing programs have provided critical results on sites and territorial organizations around the clusters of columned buildings and royals tombs. Actually, they are the remaining visible elements of much broader buried and hidden landscapes. The archaeological approaches also provide us with the fundamental time depth for analyzing their changes. Our talk will deal with implemented methods and will provide examples of contributions of the archaeology for a better assessment of the Heritage at Pasargadae and Persepolis. As the conference aims to stimulate cross-considerations on Heritage at the Iranian national scale, we intend to conclude our lecture on a quick overview of the recent contributions of the spatial archaeology approaches, and particularly of useful geophysics methods, on different types of archaeological sites distributed over the whole country.

Keywords: Archaeological mapping, Geophysical survey, Pasargadae, Persepolis



  1. Trans-national Identity in Pilgrimage of Konya: the role of language and rituals

Alireza Hassanzadeh, Somayeh Karimi, and Afsarol Molouk Malak (11- 11:20)

  1. The Roma/Gypsy Cultural Heritage from Cultural Anthropological Point of View Csaba Prónai (11:20-11:40)
  2. Balochistan Pottery Cultures: a showcase of prehistoric societies (case examples: Kalok, Fanuj,


Hossein Vahedi and Sajjad Samiei (11:40-12;00)

Discussant: Mehrdad Arabestani (University of Tehran) (12:00-12:30)

The Roma/Gypsy Cultural Heritage from Cultural Anthropological Point of View

Csaba Prónai

Roma/Gypsies form unique communities in comparison with other cultures of the world. They can be found in some form in almost every country in Europe. This transnational, transcultural minority embodies the otherness all over: as an ostracized minority, struck by the negative prejudices of the dominant society. The fact, according to which the category of „Roma/Gypsy" is a real but forced taking over a reflection which is in great part a false one produced in the course of the complicated historical way in our social consciousness is supported by the Roma/Gypsy studies carried out within the field of cultural anthropology. Participant observations made since the 1950s until today, both in the United States of America and Europe prove that Roma/Gypsy culture is so many folds that compared to it our experience and knowledge can only be provincial. The studies I have done until now show that cultural anthropological research is a turning point in the history of Roma/Gypsy studies. The consistent use of the participant observation method has created a new social scientific paradigm with the help of which our knowledge about the Roma/Gypsy culture can increase. What kind of challenge does it mean referring to the question of Roma/Gypsy cultural heritage?

Keywords: Roma/Gypsy, Cultural Heritage, Cultural Anthropologiacal


Transnational identity in the pilgrimage of Konya: the role of language and rituals

Alireza Hassanzadeh, Somayeh Karimi ,Afsarol Molouk Malak

At the heart of the literary pilgrimage of Konya where the tomb of Rumi is located, people from different ethnic or national descents come to visit Rumi mausoleum. From an anthropological standpoint, mystic brotherhood creates an inter- ritual state or condition in which ethnic or national borders recede from sights. This suspension of ethnic-national borders during people's gathering in mausoleum of Rumi may rooted in a spiritual kind of ties known as "mystic brotherhood" that spreads over ethnic and national ties and bonds. Key components such as language and ritual serve as the actors of the notion of mystic brotherhood or "upward communitas." This notion has led to intertextuality and inter-rituality that mobilize and employ all cultural and ritual elements at the service of an identity rebirth as well as creation of a new form of spiritual identity as a trans-national identity. This article tries to scrutinize social-cultural aspects of one of the very important cases of rituals that shows a notable example of literary pilgrimage in the world.

Keywords: literary pilgrimage, Rumi mausoleum, trans-national identity, mystic brotherhood


Balochistan pottery cultures, a showcase of prehistoric societies

(Case examples: Kalok, Fanuj, Holunchokan)

Hossein Vahedi, Sajjad Samiei

Pottery plays an essential role in archaeological studies. Archaeologists face pottery in the Neolithic period, and maybe pottery is considered a turning point in the Neolithic era. For many years pottery was the main finding for the history of cultural courses. Pottery is a phenomenon that has progressed well since its inception. Nonetheless, there are livestock pottery cultures in the world that resemble those of the Neolithic pottery; As primitive and equally specific. In limited areas of Iran, Pottery has survived in the same way. Cultures of Kalok, Fanuj, and Holunchokan in Balochistan Iran; an example of this is the culture of pottery. Unfortunately, this important tradition in these areas is extinct. Maintaining and introducing these living cultures, which are similar to prehistoric examples, can provide us with an understanding of prehistoric societies. Introducing these obscure cultures, With a different look and view of the approaches of the Ethnoarchaeology, Consequently, the reconstruction of prehistoric cultures with the help of Experimental archeology can help preserve and introduce these valuable cultures and the reestablishment of prehistoric cultures.

Keywords: Pottery Cultures, Neolithic, Sistan and Baluchestan, Cultural continuity, Ethnoarchaeology



  1. Dotted History: From mobilization to occultation in Cathar country Sylvie Sagnes (13:30- 13:50)
  2. Zoroastrians' Identity Representation through Food Rituals: A case study among Zoroastrians of


Fariba Seddighi (13:50- 14:10)

  1. The Shaping of Zoroastrian Cultural Heritage in Exhibitions and Ethnographic Museums: Efforts of the Zoroastrians of Iran to identify and transmit their traditional identity to new generation Bahman Moradian (14:10-14:30)

Discussant: Claudine Gauthier (Professor in Anthropology, IIAC-LAHIC, EHESS) (14:30-15:00)  


How can Cultural heritage be shaped and reshaped by oral tradition?
The case study of some Zoroastrian holy shrines of the Yazd province

Claudine Gauthier

According to a Zoroastrian living tradition in Iran, Yazdgird III's wife, along with their five daughters, their maid, and one of their sons succeeded in escaping the Arab invaders finding refuge inside the mountains of the Yazd province. Those different places are remembered today as holy shrines, whose foundation is associated with a single narrative structure cofounding, in the end, those characters with the natural elements. No historical evidence corroborates these oral narratives laying down some of the major heritage sites of the Yazd province in Today's world, like Pir-e Sabz, for instance. In the frame of this speech, we will first evoke the progressive shaping of these traditions briefly as evidenced through scriptural sources, before focusing on their multiple contemporary modes of reshaping from the evolution of the indigenous exegesis related to the sites until their touristic staging. We will finally question the limits of the contemporary conversion in the sphere of Culture of a religious communitarian heritage.

Keywords: Oral tradition, Zoroastriens, Holy Shrines, Cultural Heritage

Zoroastrians identity representation through food rituals: A case study among Zoroastrians of Yazd

Fariba Seddighi

Eating is a natural activity essential for survival and health. On the other hand, food diversity and different ways of eating throughout the world shows that culture and environment influence food choice and food consumption. Religion plays an essential role in food choice. Religious laws divide foods into clean and unclean.  Therefore, food choice and food consumption can play the role of identity markers and define the identity borders of a group.  In this paper, I focused on Zoroastrian using the ethnographic method to show how they construct their identity through food rituals and how they transmit these rituals to the next generation. Rituals, beliefs, and moral codes form the three cornerstones of the religiosity triangle. Therefore, through rituals and beliefs surrounding food, including proper food choice and food preparation, the Zoroastrians reinforce their religious and group boundaries and reproduce their cultural heritage.

Keywords: Food, Zoraostriens, cutltural heritage, identity


The Shaping of Zoroastrian cultural heritage in exhibitions and ethnographic museums:
Efforts of the Zoroastrians of Iran to identify and transmit their traditional identity to new generations

Bahman Moradian

Given the speed of social changes in Today's world, every ethnic and religious group is nowadays facing the challenge to make known and to transfer their traditional identity to the present and future generations. The Zoroastrians of Iran are one of these groups. This speech will focus first on the moment of awareness by this small religious group of the cultural value of some of its religious, social, and traditional customs, before analyzing the processes developed around this concern. Further, I will investigate the communitarian reflections laying behind the staging of the Zoroastrian cultural Heritage in Iran through the analysis of some temporary and permanent intracommunitarian and public exhibitions in the cities of Yazd, Kerman, Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan, as well as in the two Zoroastrian museums of Yazd and Kerman. I will also wonder here if this highlighting can be a way to eliminate this concern. Ultimately, I will try to examine the religious, traditional, and social characteristics through which these exhibitions shape the Zoroastrian community.

Keywords: ritual exhibitions, Zoroastrian museum, customs, religious identity, cultural identity.



1.       New Insights Into the Late Pleistocene Human Settlement of the Iranian Central Plateau: A first

OSL-based chronology for the open-air Paleolithic site of Mirak (Iran)

Maryam Heydari, Guillaume Guérin, Guillaume Jamet, Mohammad Akhavan Kharazian,

Milad Hashemi, Hamed Vahdati Nasab and Gilles Berillon (15:30-15:50)

2.       Dental Anthropology, Horizons, and Limitations Elham Farnam (15:50-16:10)

3.       The Necessity and Process of Creating Virtual Museum of Iran

 Mohammad Yari and Shiirin Gholamalamdari (16:10-16:30)

Discussant: Hamed Vahdati Nasab (Tarbiat Modares University) (16:30-15:00) 

New insights into the Late Pleistocene human settlement of the Iranian Central Plateau: a first OSL-based chronology for the open-air Palaeolithic site of Mirak (Iran)

Maryam Heydar, Guillaume Guérin, Guillaume Jamet, Mohammad Akhavan Kharazian, Milad Hashemi and Hamed Vahdati Nasab, and Gilles Berillon

Mirak is a Palaeolithic open-air site located in the corridor between two natural barriers, the Alborz mountain from the north and the central desert from the south in Iran. Recent archaeological findings indicate multiple occupations by anatomically modern human and Neanderthal during the Late Pleistocene (Vahdati Nasab et al., 2019). In our study, luminescence-dating techniques were employed on 22 sediment samples from the geological layers of the site to sharpen the chronological framework. The obtained chronology for three main occupation phases result in: (1) 20-28 ka for the layer dominated by an Upper Palaeolithic assemblage, (2) 28-38 ka  for the intermediate layer which contain mix of the Upper-Middle assemblages, and (3) around 47-50 ka for the layer which is associated with Middle Palaeolithic industry. These results provide the first chronological framework for an open-air site of the Central Iranian Plateau and indicate that Pleistocene humans have frequently exploited this area during the MIS 2-3.

Keywords: Bayesian modelling, Luminescence dating, Chronology, Palaeolithic, Iran



Elham Farnam

For anthropologists studying archaeological fossil and forensic remains, the teeth are possibly the most valuable source of evidence in understanding the biology of ancient Communities. The teeth are particularly resistant to the destructive effects of long burial in the ground, and this occupies an essential place in this work. Dental anthropology can be studied in the mouth of living people, using much the same techniques as are employed for ancient remains. Besides, anthropologists study variation in size and shape of the teeth, especially in evolutionary studies. Dental histology provides a variety of methods for estimating age at death in adult remains, but they compete with techniques based upon the macroscopic examination of evolutionary. Dental anthropology includes a study of the development of teeth concerning age: their beginnings of calcification, appearance in the mouth, completions of apical foramen, the processes of wear and other changes that occur with age increasing. Dental anthropology also includes the microscopic traces, preserved inside the tissues of the teeth, of the growth and aging processes. Another area of interest is the study of dental diseases in relation to diet and other factors. The frequency of dental caries (sugar intake), dental microwear (food preparation), and dental wear gradient (food toughness) are important for understanding the ancient community nutrition. Some isotopes like Ba for determination of breastfeeding and 87Sr/86Sr values in tissues that are formed at different ages (dentin, bone, hair) are widely used to trace migrations. Today teeth have a role in genetic studies because of their structural capabilities. Dental anthropologists focused on human remains collections, aiming to reconstruct the demography, biological affinities, diet, health and general way of Life of past populations from a range of dental evidence. In this paper, it has been tried to explain how teeth help dental anthropologists in evolutionary studies, reconstruction the diet, health,  nutrition behaviors, and estimating age at death from fetal age to old age for paleodemography studies, isotope tracing and genetic studies based on recent researches.

Keywords: Dental anthropology, Age estimating, Isotopes tracing, Tooth as a genetic sample.


The necessity and process of creating "Virtual Museum of Iran"

, Mohammad YariShirin Gholamalamdari

Museums have a significant role in the protection and availability of heritage items. They can educate tourists and local populations about cultural identity, history, and the environment, and help to protect artifacts for future generations, thereby contributing to the sustainable development of tourism. The physical museum space has always limited visitors and museum researchers around the world. Currently, information technology is applied to many different aspects of heritage information preservation. Digitalization can store heritage information in digital format, prolonging the life of the heritage items. Digital exhibition technologies can remove the time and space limitations of traditional exhibitions, and can also be used to display the visual details of each object more vividly. Iran has always been an appropriate context for historical and archaeological research. It is crucial to aggregate heritage items in an integrated and accessible environment. Using digital technologies in the fields of archaeology, renovation, and museology can provide such an environment. This research explores the necessity and process of creating "Virtual Museum of Iran" and also identifies the benefits and difficulties. 

Keyword: Museum, information technology, Virtual Museum, Iran


Pooya Alaedini, Nahal Naficy, Emilia Nercissians, Mehrdad Arabestani, Claudine Gauthier, Hamed Vahdati Nasab



Bahareh Torshizi is born in 1982, AA in Archaeology at the University of Tehran. BA in English Interpretation at university of Applied Science and Technology. MA student undergraduate in Iranian Studies at university of Tehran. English teacher, Persian to English and vice versa translator and interpreter. Research interests: Culture, Identity, Cultural heritage, Tangible and Intangible cultural heritage, cultural heritage preservation, Media, Intercultural communications, migration, women.

Bahman Moradian works as an independent researcher and is the founder of Bondahish Research Center: Iranian Languages and Zoroastrian Studies. Mr. Moradian's publications include: "Review: Les livres de l'Avesta By Pierre Lecoq" (Gozaresh Miras, Tehran, 2019); "Water in the Yasna 68 paragraph 6" (Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Tehran, 2015); "The Day of Mehr, the Month of Mehr and the Ceremony of Mehrizad in Yazd" (Aram Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies Periodical 26, Oxford, 2014).

Claudine Gauthier is Full Professor of Anthropology at the university of Bordeaux and Researcher with tenure at IIAC (interdisciplinary Institute of Contemporary Anthropology, UMR 8177, CNRS-EHESS, Paris, FR). She is notably the 1st Vice-president of the French National Council of Universities (20th section) and co-responsible of the international agreement between the university of Tehran and the EHESS.

Csaba Prónai is an Associate Professor and the Head of the Department of Cultural Anthropology since 2006. He is the Director of the Hungarian and the English Cultural Anthropology MA Program. Recently he is the Vice-dean for General and Foreign Affairs at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Eötvös Loránd Univerity. He is giving lectures and seminars: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Theory and Methods in Cultural Anthropology, Contemporary Challenges for the Society, Visual Anthropology. He has done participant observation among Gypsies/Roma in Hungary and Slovakia, among migrants in Malta and in Italy, and among Walsers in Italy.

Elham Farnam has graduated with D.D.S Degree, Doctor in Dentistry and Surgery, in 1999. She received her B.S Archaeology in 2017 and M.A. Prehistoric Archaeology in 2020, from University of Tehran she is currently a PHD student at the University of Tehran and Supervisor of anthropology department of Institute of archaeology of University of Tehran and She teaches physical anthropology and osteology in Pars University and Institute of archaeology and has worked with Institute of archaeology as physical anthropologist in the last 3 years.

Fariba Seddighi  has received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Tehran, and she teaches Anthropology 101 at Yazd University. She is interested in minority groups and how they construct their identity in Iran.

Sébastien Gondet was born in 4th July 1979, 40 years old. CNRS member, archaeologist of the Ancient Near East and specialist of landscape archaeology. Member of the UMR 5133 Archéorient team part of the Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée research center of Lyon 2 University. Since 2015, co-director of the joint Iran-France archaeological project at Pasargadae and its surrounding territory.Associate researcher at the Institut de Recherche Français en Iran (IFRI) of Tehran

Grégory Chambon is Directeur d'Etudes (Professor) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales / Paris in Assyriology. His main research interests belong to the History of science and technology of the Ancient Near East, with recent work focusing on the use of measures and numbers in their social context, and accounting and bookkeeping practices in the third and second millennium BC Syria. This Ph.D. thesis Normes et pratiques : l'homme, la mesure et l'écriture en Mésopotamie was published in 2011. He is also the author of a book on ancient wine (2009) and a book on the management of grain in Old Babylonian Mari (2018). He is the co-director of the Journal Asiatique, which concerns historical studies on all the cultures of Asia (near East, Iran, China, Anatolia, Japan, etc.).

Hossein Vahedi holds a Masters' degree in archeology from Shahrekord University. He is the supervisor of the archeological project of Sefid Kuh Makran (Sistan and Baluchestan), the supervisor of the Master Plan of Ethnoarchaeological and Archaeological Studies in the Makran Sefid Kuh Area, and the supervisor of Research Project on Pottery Community Identification in South East of Iran (Sistan and Baluchestan Province). He is interested in research on Epipaleolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic Ethnoarcheological folk; in the field of Ethnoarchaeology for four years, is active in Balochistan.

Iman khosravi is a PhD candidate of archaeology, University of Mazandaran. He Has a short-range and UAV photogrammetry degree from Apsis Institute in Tehran. He Has a diving monostar certificate for underwater archeology.
Janet Blake is Associate Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Shahid Beheshti (Tehran) where she is also a member of the Centre of Excellence for Education for Sustainable Development and the Centre of Excellence for Silk Roads Studies. She is a member of the Cultural Heritage Law Committee of the International Law Association and of the editorial boards of two leading international journals in the field of heritage studies. Dr Blake was involved in developing, drafting and implementing the 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention and is a Global Facilitator for UNESCO's Capacity-building under the 2003 Convention. She has published eight books and 48 articles (in English and Persian), including International Cultural Heritage Law (2015) and UNESCO's 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention – A Commentary (2020) both published by Oxford University Press.

Maryam Heydari is a geochronologist with a background in physics, geophysics and a PhD in physics of archaeomaterials. Her research focuses on the application of Bayesian modelling in the field of trapped charge dating to improve the precision of chronologies established for some critical Palaeolithic sites in Iran.

Mehrdad Arabestani is an assistant professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Tehran (Iran). With a background in Medical Sciences, he shifted his study to anthropology and received a Master's degree in anthropology from the University of Tehran (Iran) and a Ph.D. from the University of Malaya (Malaysia). He has carried out extensive fieldwork among the Orang Asli- the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia- and the Mandaeans- an ethnoreligious minority in Iran and Iraq- and among the Kurds of Iran. His research interests are ethnicity, minorities, religion, power relations, identity, and subjectivity. He is also interested in psychoanalytically informed ethnography. For the time being, he is the president of Anthropological Society of Iran (ASI).

Michaël Guichard is professor at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Université Paris Sciences et Lettres) since 2014. He participates in the publishing of Mari's palatial archives. He published La Vaissellede luxe des rois de Mari (volume 31 of the Royal Archives of Mari), 2005 and L'Epopée de Zimrî-Lîm, 2014.

Pooya Alaedini  is Associate Professor of Social Planning at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran. His areas of interest are urban and regional planning, social policy, industrial and employment development, and tourism planning.His co-edited volumes include: Industrial, Trade, and Employment Policies in Iran: Towards a New Agenda (Springer, 2018); Quality Services and Experiences in Hospitality and Tourism (Emerald, 2018); andEconomic Welfare and Inequality in Iran: Developments since the Revolution (Palgrave, 2017). He has also (co-) authoredFrom Shelter to Regeneration: Slum Upgrading and Housing Policies in I.R. Iran(UDRO, 2014).

Reihaneh Shahvali is a Ph.D. student in sociology at Alzahra University. Her area of interest is the intersectionof tourism and culture. For her dissertation she is focused on rendering authenticity in local tourism lodges and how it can affect cultural economy.

Sajjad Samiei was born in 1993. He received his MA in prehistoric archeology from the Marlik Institute of Higher Education of Noshahr (Iran) in 2018, with a grade point average of 18.43. The title of his master's thesis is "Analysis of site Formation process in the northern slope of Alborz based on Experimental Archaeology Approaches and objective observations." He is interested in experimental archaeology, and he is more interested in the Near East Neolithic period, the architecture, and stone tools of the course work.  He is the first to write a paper about experimental archeology and its importance in Iran, and the first one is academically pursuing experimental archeology. He has participated in several archaeological excavations in northern Alborz.

Samira Ebrahimpour is Graduated Student of Archaeology, the University of Tehran. CEO of the Company, Sustainable Development of Cultural Heritage. Founder of Hamataa. Interested in "Public Archaeology," In Order to Introduce the Past to the Public Focusing on Introduction and Awareness about Cultural Heritage. Working on "Archaeology for Kids," Which Is One of Two Main Sub-disciplines of Public Archaeology.

Shadi Kalantar was born on 16 January 1992 in Isfahan, Iran. She was a member of Iran`s national canoe/kayak team, and also she is a certified diver. As soon as she started studying archaeology at the University of Tehran, she got interested in traditional technics of ship and boat building, nautical archaeology, and in general, maritime archaeology. So far, she has published some articles about maritime archaeology and has attended to several UW archaeology workshops and field works.

Shirin Gholamalamdari Is born in Tehran, and driven by her passion for art, history and literature, she got her bachelor's degree in Persian literature and master's in History of Islamic Art from University of Tehran, where she wrote her thesis on "the necessity and process of museum objects digitization in the Islamic world".

Sylive Sagnes is an Anthropologist, researcher at the CNRS, president of the Ethnopôle GARAE. Sylvie Sagnes was initially concerned with understanding the representations attached to "roots". Today she pays attention to the desire for sustainability of our contemporaries, which she apprehends in different fields of heritage. At the same time, the construction of scholarly identities and its translations in terms of intellectual kinship and memory are of particular interest to her.