Dr Hossein Habibi
Postdoctoral Fellow September 2018 to June 2019
Project: The Central Zagros during Late Antiquity: Socio‐economic Transition
The Central Zagros during Late Antiquity: Socio-economic Transition
Hossein is an archaeologist of the Late Antique period. His research interests range from the archaeological landscapes of Sasanian territories to political culture and ceramics of this period.
As a Postdoctoral Fellow at IASH, he is investigating the socio-economic transition of the Central Zagros region during Late Antiquity. The Central Zagros and its neighbouring alluvial plains of southern Mesopotamia and southwestern Iran were faced with an intense increase of population and pressure on environmental resources in the Sasanian period, due to the specific socio-economic conditions of this period. Recent studies have demonstrated the diverse character of socioeconomic dynamics behind the infrastructural developments in different territories of the Sasanian Empire. Nonetheless, given its distinct geographical, environmental and socio-cultural settings, the Late Antique archaeological landscape in the Central Zagros is much less studied than those in the adjacent lowlands to the south and southwest. This project tries to bridge these gaps by scientifically analysing the spatial distribution of material culture and critically reviewing the historical documents related to the Central Zagros region in Sasanian times. On this basis, Hossein argues that according to its potential, the Central Zagros was the object of an inter-regional plan, designed according to the specific economic and political considerations of the Sasanian state. It also is contended that this region experienced an unprecedentedly high population level and an intense pressure on land resources in this period which resulted in micro-scale environmental variations and consequently in demographic and fiscal decline. Ultimately, this work shows the close interaction and symbiosis between the highlands and the lowlands of the region under study as regards the socio-economic conditions under which groups lived there during Sasanian times. In addition, the study will demonstrate that the demographic and economic transitions of the Central Zagros of this time went in parallel with shifts in Sasanian domestic or foreign policy.