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Mark Tamerus, MA


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    I am a PhD candidate in the field of ancient history, in the department of "Art and Culture, History, Antiquity" of the Faculty of Humanities.

    I am presently employed in a research project directed by dr. Kristin Kleber, entitled "Paying for All the King's Horses and All the King's Men: A Fiscal History of the Achaemenid Empire". Whereas my colleagues in the project focus primarily on Achaemenid-period Babylonia, I study relevant materials from the Iranian part of the Achaemenid Empire.

    More broadly my research interests include the history (socio-economic, political, cultural, religious, linguistic) of ancient Mesopotamia and Iran, in particular in the first millennium BCE. This includes a number of relevant ancient languages, i.a. Akkadian, Elamite and Old Persian.


    My doctoral research is part of a broader project that studies fiscal and administrative structures in the Achaemenid Persian Empire. My part in that project focuses on the empire's Iranian heartland. The primary source of information from that heartland, the so-called Persepolis Fortification archive, represents (a large part of) the "paperwork" of an regional economic institution closely related to the Persian state and royal court. It gives a unique view of the administrative and economic structures in the Persian heartland. Of specific interest for my doctoral research are not only those structures themselves, but also especially the organisation of agricultural production, the deployment of commodities and humans (i.e. labour) for a variety of purposes throughout a large area, the infrastructure of the area in terms of the division of land, the operation of royal and other estates, and the concomitant jurisdictions of administrative officials and other elite Persians.

    My research is based especially on the corpus of cuneiform tablets from the Fortification archive that are written in Elamite, with the addition of Aramaic texts and epigraphs, and the relevant iconographic evidence (that is, seal impressions on the tablets). The study of the archive as a single ancient artifact encompassing that variety of pertinent evidence in the context of a focus on administration and taxation in the Achaemenid Empire in a broader sense (i.e. using evidence from other parts of the empire as well), uniquely facilitates an improved understanding of administration and economy in the empire - content-wise as well ass methodologically.


    I contribute to teaching courses in Babylonian (Akkadian) language and history (BA/MA). A BA course on Babylonian historical texts from the first millennium BCE will be taught in the first semester of the 2017/2018 academic year.


    I hold a BA in history (with honours) and an MA (research-focused) in Ancient Studies (with honours) from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. MA specialisation: history of ancient Western Asia, in particular Mesopotamia and Iran in the first millennium BCE; relevant ancient languages (i.a. Akkadian, Elamite, Sumerian)


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