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Sasanian PersiaBetween Rome and the Steppes of Eurasia$
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Eberhard Sauer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474401012

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401012.001.0001

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Connectivity on a Sasanian frontier: Route Systems in the Gorgan Plain of North-East Iran

Connectivity on a Sasanian frontier: Route Systems in the Gorgan Plain of North-East Iran

(p.126) 6 Connectivity on a Sasanian frontier: Route Systems in the Gorgan Plain of North-East Iran
Sasanian Persia

Kristen Hopper

Edinburgh University Press

Using examples from several different regions of the Sasanian Empire, this chapter will look at the archaeological evidence for connectivity in frontier zones. Though a number of geographically diverse cases will be considered, I will focus on the evidence for local, regional and interregional networks in the Gorgan Plain of northeast Iran. We currently know very little about Sasanian period routes through this landscape. Itineraries exist in antique through Islamic period textual sources, but the routes that they describe are often difficult to identify in the archaeological record. European travellers of the nineteenth century provide more detailed accounts, but the routes they describe reflect the political and economic landscape of a much later period. However, this information, combined with archaeological evidence for both earlier and later period routes, can be compared to archaeological settlement data for the Sasanian period to suggest potential pathways of movement. This approach will highlight how cultural, political and economic networks in this region (including both routes and boundaries) have changed through time.

Keywords:   Ancient route networks, Gorgan Wall, Gorgan Plain, Landscape Archaeology, Sasanian urbanism

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