Surveying Sistan: New Tales about an Old Archaeological Project in Afghanistan

Lecture | January 23 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility) | Note change in date

 Mitchell Allen, Research Associate, Archaeological Research Facility & Smithsonian Institution

 Archaeological Research Facility

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 15 of them, to establish the first cultural history from the Bronze Age to the present.
Further work was prevented by the Soviet invasion of 1979 and subsequent military conflicts, so our data and findings remain the only comprehensive source of archaeological, geological, and ethnographic information for Sistan. Only in the past two years has the process of publication of this material begun. Thus, this presentation will also include the steps taken in patching together a report from 40 year old data.
Presentation will be by Mitchell Allen, a Research Associate at ARF and at the Smithsonian. Allen 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.