October 12, 2006


Ossendrijver Iraq photos, 1

This is the 1st installment in a series of photographs I will publish here (on an irregular time schedule). They were taken by Dr. Mathieu Ossendrijver (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany) when he participated in a trip to Iraq organized by the Orientalisches Seminar of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Germany) in October 2000. They form interesting documentary evidence of the condition of several archaeological sites only a couple of years before the Iraq War. Mathieu has been so kind to allow me to publish them here. If you'd like to use his photos, please contact him. I start with pictures taken at el-Meda'in/Salman Pak better known under its ancient name Ctesiphon. This site which now lies almost in the suburbs of Baghdad was at one time a capital of the Partian and Sassanid empires. As a hub of empire it succeeded the neighboring Seleucia-on-the-Tigris (Seleucid empire) and was itself later succeeded by nearby Baghdad (Abassid empire). Its most famous still standing structure is the 4th-cent.-AD Taq-i Kisra with its great arch (80 ft wide by 160 ft long; see Keall for more info). The arch is still the original one but for example the north wing of this throne hall has been reconstructed (collapsed in a late-19th-cent.-AD earthquake):

See also University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Archaeological Site Photography. I am not really sure what is in this final photo, maybe someone can help me out? Are these remains of fortifications?

• E.J. Keall, "Ayvan (or Taq)-e Khosrow," in The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (UK), online, n.d.
• "Ctesiphon," in University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Archaeological Site Photography, online, November 15, 2001
• "Iraq Heritage Program. Ctesiphon," in Global Heritage Fund, online, n.d.


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