Dr. Stefan R. Hauser


David Tucker, BA


other Phases of Research:

2001–2004 (C6)

Projektbereich D: Integration und Anbindung, Teilprojekt D7

Nomadic and Sedentary Peoples – Northern Mesopotamia in the Arsacid and Sasanian Periods


The co-existence of nomadic and sedentary peoples and their political and economic interdependency are constant factors of northern Mesopotamian history. The region is marked by a gradual north-south transition from areas suitable for dry farming to arid steppe where nomadic pastoralism seems the only viable form of life. Typical responses of nomadic societies to increased economic and military-political interaction with states based on urban environments include the establishment of hierarchical structures, partial economic integration via long-distance trade as well as a tendency towards sedentarization.

All these complex phenomena can be observed during the first centuries AD, when the steppe formed the border region between the Roman/Byzantine and the Arsacid (Parthian)/Sasanian empires. At Palmyra, Hatra and Hira cities bearing the imprint of nomadic organizations gained military and trade-related importance for these empires. Situated on the fringes of the steppe between nomadic and sedentary forms of life they were even more important as administrative, economic and religious centers for their nomadic surroundings. In all three cases the economic and integrative power led to temporal processes of sedentarization in their hinterland.

With its acceptance in February 2003 project C6 was devoted to a discussion of the integration of Hatra into the long-distance trade and to its and its rulers, who called themselves kings of the Arabs, positions as dimorphic link between nomads and state.

In the phase until 2008 project D7 continues this work and compares the complex processes of integration at Hatra and Palmyra. Written and material sources will be used to discuss individual factors. The hinterland of the cities is the subject of intense evaluation of satellite imagery, which will be carried out in co-operation with Prof. Dr. B. Meissner of the Technische Fachhochschule Berlin. Starting in 2006 an intensive archaeological and geomorphological field survey is planned. The combination of various methods shall serve to describe the processes of the development of hierarchies within and between tribes and tribal groups, the sedentarization of former nomadic pastoralists and the varying concepts in the use of space at the fringes of the steppe and the borders between empires.


Dr. Stefan R. Hauser

with A. C. Gunter (eds.): Ernst Herzfeld and the Development of Near Eastern Studies, 1900–1950. Leiden 2005. within: (a) Introduction. The Development of Near Eastern Studies up to 1950; (b) History, Races, and Orientalism – Eduard Meyer, the Organization of Oriental Research, and Herzfeld's Intellectual Heritage.

"Die Christen vermehrten sich in Persien und bauten Kirchen und Klöster" – Eine Archäologie des Christentums im Sasanidenreich. In: M. Müller-Wiener/ U. Koenen (eds.): Grenzgänge im östlichen Mittelmeerraum. Byzanz und die Islamische Welt. Wiesbaden (2005).

German Studies in the Ancient Near East in their Relation to Political and Economic Interests from the Kaiserreich to World War II. In: W. G. Schwanitz (ed.): Germany and the Middle East, 1919–1945. Princeton 2004, 155–179. (Princeton Papers 11). Deutsche Kurzversion in: Comparativ 1/2004.

with Mark Altaweel (Chicago): Travelling via Hatra: Trade Routes in the Eastern Jazira According to Evidence from Ancient Sources and Modern Satellite Imagery. In: Baghdader Mitteilungen 35 (2004), 57–84.

"Greek in Subject and Style, but a little Distorted". Zum Verhältnis von Orient und Okzident in der Altertumswissenschaft. In: S. Altekamp/M. Hofter/M. Krumme (eds.): Posthumanistische Klassische Archäologie. München 2001, 83–104.

Orientalismus. In: Der Neue Pauly. Bd. 15/1. Stuttgart/Weimar 2001, Sp. 1233–1243.

Babylon in der Arsakidenzeit. In: J. Renger (ed.): Babylon – Focus mesopotamischer Geschichte, Wiege früher Gelehrsamkeit, Mythos in der Moderne. Saarbrücken 2000 (CDOG 2), 207–239.

Zur Datierung der arsakidischen Tetradrachmen. In: R. Dittmann et al. (eds.): Variatio delectat. Iran und der Westen. Münster 2000, 321–342.

Ecological Borders and Political Frontiers. The Eastern Jazirah in the Later Preislamic Period. In: L. Milano et al. (eds.): Landscapes – Territories, Frontiers and Horizons in the Ancient Near East. Bd. 2. Padua 2000, 187–201.

Archäologische Methoden. In: Der Neue Pauly. Bd. 13. Stuttgart/Weimar 1999, Sp. 201–216.

Hatra und das Königreich der Araber. In: J. Wiesehöfer (ed.): Das Partherreich und seine Zeugnisse. 1998 (Historia Einzelschriften 122), 493–528.