Storehouses and Storage Practices in Old Nisa (Turkmenistan)
The article analyses the body of evidence related to the storage and administration of food in Parthian Nisa, according to the results of the recent excavations of the Italian Archaeological Expedition in Turkmenistan. A new corpus of clay sealings, khums (big jars) and ostraka came to light in the so-called SW Building, which, together with the previously known findings from the other buildings of Nisa, gave way to some speculations about the storage and administration practice within the Arsacid citadel. The spatial distribution of the khums gives information on the function of each building and their single rooms; the texts on the ostraka inform us on the nature and quantities of the food stored in the khums; the various ways the sealings were impressed on clay suggest some ideas on the number and roles of the officers involved in the administration of the storehouses, and perhaps on the nature of the goods stored as well. In general, the findings from the latest excavations provide fundamental information on the economic life of the citadel and of the Parthian society as well. Despite the lack of scholarly debate on such issues as related to the Parthian and Central Asian world, the authors try to interpret the evidence from the Nisa excavations, and give a preliminary reading of the data from the new and old excavations in the Arsacid citadel.
Bader, A. (1996), Parthian Ostraca from Nisa: Some Historical Data, in: La Persia e l’Asia centrale. Da Alessandro al X secolo, International Conference, Rome, 9–12 November 1994, Atti dei Convegni Lincei, 127, Roma: 251–276.
Bader, A., Gaibov, V., Koshelenko, G. (1990), New Evidence on Parthian Sphragistics. Bullae from the Excavations of Göbekly-Depe in Margiana, Mesopotamia 25: 61–78.
Bivar, A.D.H. (1982), Seal-Impressions of Parthian Qūmis (Qūmis Commentaries no. 4), Iran 20: 161–176.
Boussac, M.-F., Invernizzi, A. (eds.) (1996), Archives et sceaux du monde hellenistique, Turin, Villa Gualino, 13–16 January 1993, (BCH, Supplément 29), Athens–Paris.
Diakonoff, I.M., Livshits, V.A. (1976–2001), Parthian Economic Documents from Nisa, (Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum – Inscriptions of the Seleucid and Parthian Periods and of the Eastern Iran and Central Asia), vol. 1–2 (texts), vol. 1–5 (plates), ed. D.N. MacKenzie, A.N. Bader, N. Sims
Duistermatt, K. (2012), Which Came First, the Bureaucrat or the Seal? Some Thoughts on the Non
Administrative Origins of Seals in Neolithic Syria, in: I. Regulsky, K. Duistermatt, P. Verkinderen (eds.), Seals and Sealing Practices in the Near East. Developments in Administration and Magic from Prehistory to the Islamic Period, (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 219), Leuven–Walpole–Paris: 1–16.
Frye, R.N. (1977), The Use of Clay Sealings in Sasanian Iran, Acta Iranica. Textes et Mémoires, V: Varia 1976, Tehran–Leiden: 117–124.
Göbl, R. (1976), Die Tonbullen vom Takht-e Suleiman: ein Beitrag zur spätsasanidischen Sphragistik, Berlin.
Harper, P.O. (1973), Physical Characteristics of the Sealings and Forms of the Seals, in: R.N. Frye (ed.), Sasanian Remains from Qasr-i Abu Nasr: Seals, Sealings and Coins, Cambridge: 42–46.
Huff, D. (1987), Technological Observations on Clay Bullae from Takht-i Suleyman, Mesopotamia 22: 367–390.
Invernizzi, A. (2000), The Square House at Old Nisa, Parthica 2: 13–53.
Lecomte, O. (2011), Ulug-Depe: 4000 Years of Evolution between Plain and Desert, in: Historical and Cultural Sites of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat: 221–237.
Lerner, J., Sims-Williams, N. (2011), Seals, Sealings and Tokens from Bactria to Gandhara (4th to 8th Century), Vienna.
Lerner, J., Skjaervø, P.O. (1997), Some Uses of Clay Bullae in Sasanian Iran: Bullae in the Rosen and Museum of Fine Arts Collections, in: R. Gyselen (ed.), Sceaux d’Orient et leur emploi, (Res Orientales 10), Bures-sur-Yvette: 67–78.
Lindstrom, G. (2003), Uruk. Siegelabdrücke auf hellenistischen Tonbullen und Tontafeln, (Ausgrabungen in Uruk-Warka 20), Mainz.
Lippolis, C. (2010), Notes on Parthian Nisa on the Light of New Research, Problemy istorii, filologii, kul’tury, 1 (27): 36–46.
Lippolis, C. (2013), Old Nisa, Excavations in the South-Western Area. Second Preliminary Report (2008–2012), Parthica 15: 89–115.
Lippolis, C., Messina, V. (2008), Preliminary Report on the 2007 Italian Excavations in Parthian Nisa, Parthica 10: 53–61.
Livshits, V.A. (1977), New Parthian Documents from South Turkmenistan, Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 25: 157–185.
Manassero, N. (2010), Tamga-like Images on Sealings from Old Nisa, Parthica 12: 17–29.
Manassero, N. (2013), Tamgas and Literacy among the Ancient Iranians, Remarks, Journal of Signum 1: 43–61.
Manassero, N. (2014), Marine Monsters in the Desert Sands. Thoughts on Some Sealings from Parthian Nisa, Parthica 16: 31–47.
Masson, M.E., Pugachenkova, G.A. (1954), Ottiski parfjanskih pechatej iz Nisy, Vestnik Drevnej Istorii 4:
Masson, V.M. (1953), Humy Nisy, in: Trudy JuTAKE II, Ashgabat: 413–436.
Mollo, P. (2001), Le sigillature da Nisa Vecchia, Parthica 3: 159–210.
Nikitin, A.B. (1993/1994), Parthian Bullae from Nisa, Silk Road Art and Archaeology 3: 71–79.
Pilipko, V.N. (2001), Staraja Nisa. Osnovnye itogi arheologičeskogo izučenija v sovetskij period, Moscow.
Pilipko, V.N. (2008), The Central Ensemble of the Fortress Mihrdatkirt. Layout and Chronology, Parthica 10: 33–51.
Rostovzeff, M. (1932), Seleucid Babylonia, Bullae and Seals of Clay with Greek Inscriptions, Yale Classical Studies 3: 3–114.
Teh Gallop, A. (2006), One Seal Good, Two Seals Better, Three Seals Best? Multiple Impressions of Malay Seals, Indonesia and the Malay World 34 (100): 407–426.
Vdovin, V.Ju. (1984), Humy juznogo Turkmenistana parfjanskogo i sasanidskogo vremeni (Parfieny i Apavartikeny), in: V.M. Masson (ed.), Problemy arheologii Turkmenistana, Ashgabat.
Xin, W., Lecomte, O. (2012), Clay Sealings from the Iron Age Citadel at Ulug Depe, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan 44: 313–328.