2017, 11th September

We express our deep sorrow for the disappearance of Nancy Hatch Dupree, a long time Director of the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University and passionate advocate of Afghanistan’s heritage.

We also want to express the deepest gratitude for the attention she has always addressed to the activities of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan.

Her extraordinary dedication to Afghanistan will be not forgotten.


2016, 21st-24th April

St. Andrews (UK), conference The Architecture of the Iranian World1000-1250, convened by Professor Robert Hillenbrand at the Institute of Iranian Studies, School of History, University of St Andrews.

Professor Roberta Giunta in collaboration with Carlotta Passaro (architect) presented a paper intitled Le palais ghaznévide de Ghazni fouillé par la Mission Archéologique Italienne : essai de reconstruction de ses phases de construction

See the full conference program


2016, 26th February

Ivry-sur-Seine (France), international workshop The Ghaznavids and Their Neighbours: New Researches on Eastern Iranian World (10th – 12th c.)

In memoriam Clifford Edmund Bosworth

Maria Szuppe (CNRS) and Viola Allegranzi (PhD student, Sorbonne Nouvelle ‐ Paris 3 ; "L'Orientale" di Napoli) convened this meeting in the framework of the
research program «Histoire et cultures iraniennes, indiennes et indo­‐persanes : Élites et réseaux» of the Research Unit Mondes iranien et indien (UMR 7528) and thanks to the financial support of this institution. The event was dedicated to the memory of Clifford Edmund Bosworth (29 December 1928 -­28 February 2015), the great historian and orientalist who promoted a new approach and consideration for the study of the eastern Islamic lands, thus paving the way for several generations of scholars. The objective of the workshop was to gather experienced scholars as well as young researchers working in different fields (History, Literature, Art and Archaeology, etc.) and to discuss the outcomes of recent studies on textual and material sources casting new light on the political and cultural history of Medieval Iran.


The eight papers and three posters presented pointed to a positive willingness to renew exchanges on issues related to the Ghaznavid period. The speakers addressed topics pertaining to political and religious history through the analysis of texts (F. Chiabotti, C. Rhoné) and materials (S. Cappelletti, P. Siméon). They also shared the results of the ongoing research on some Islamic sites in Afghanistan: in particular, a new DAFA archaeological project in the Bamiyan area (T. Lorain) and new data on the materials from the well-­known site of Ghazni (R. Giunta, A. Fusaro) were presented. Some attempts were made at using poetic texts as sources for a reconstruction of the setting and customs at the Ghaznavid court (V. Allegranzi, G. van den Berg). Finally, two contributors concentrated on the Ghaznavid memory over the centuries, particularly on the topography of holy burial places in Ghazni (M. Massullo) and on the transmission of epic cycles
attributed to the Ghaznavid poets in later manuscripts (M. Szuppe).

The diversity of topics presented and the workshop’s inclusive ambiance facilitated exchanges and several points of common interest emerged from the discussions. Participants agreed on the fact that a plural view may contribute to a better understanding of the political, scholarly and artistic tradition of eastern medieval Iran, this being an issue that is undoubtedly in need of a reappraisal. For all these reasons, we hope that the questions raised during this first meeting will be further investigated in a second edition, which would also give the opportunity for widening the scope of the workshop and the network of the researchers involved.


Further details on the this event at:

Mondes iranien et indien : Les Ghaznavides

V. A.


2016, 4th February

Venice, Ca’ Foscari University, oral defence of Valentina Laviola PhD thesis:

 Islamic Metalwork from Eastern Iranian territories (9th-13th c.). The documentation of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan

Object of the thesis are Islamic metalwork from nowadays Afghanistan dating from 9th to 13th century, namely the highest development period of Iranian metalwork. The Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan have documented, between 1957 and 2014, about 580 artefacts and fragments, most of whom are still unpublished and unfortunately already disappeared.

These artefacts, coming from archaeological or fortuitous excavations, museums and antiquarians, appear for the first time in a Corpus, distributed in seventeen classes on the base of their function. To extraordinary finds – two refined inkwells unearthed in the Ghaznavid palace in 1958, and a set of sixteen buckets recently retrieved at the foot of Ghazni ancient citadel – have been dedicated special focuses. The whole study gives a significant overview on the metalwork production from medieval Eastern Iranian area.


2014, 31st October 

Rome, Sapienza University of Rome. An event in honor of Umberto Scerrato: Saggi inediti e Opera Minora. Presentation of the volumes. 


2014, 6th-9th August 

Montréal, 10th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies. Panel Islamic Ghazni: Epigraphic Memory and Material Culture

The four of us arranged a panel at the 10th Biennal Conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies, to present the first results of our ongoing doctoral researches on archaeological materials from Ghazni. Lisa Golombek, curator emeritus at the Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto, chaired the panel, raising some central questions and widening the horizon of comparisons. Further exchanges were carried out with the audience, delineating differences and similarities between the artistic tradition in Ghazni and those of Khorasan, Central Asia and Western Iran: for example, the wide use of marble, and the absence of ceramic tiles on the funerary monuments of Ghazni.
The panel was articulated in two sections: the first dealing with the issue of epigraphic analysis (of Persian and funerary inscriptions), the second with metalwork and pottery. Each topic was presented in a comparative perspective and placed in the panorama of Iranian Studies. These were the main points of our papers:
  • Persian inscriptions from Ghazni: the links with the poetic tradition

Viola Allegranzi (PhD student, “La Sorbonne Nouvelle” – Paris 3; “L’Orientale” University of Naples)

This paper dealt with the use of Persian language in Ghaznavid monumental epigraphy (11th–12th century). Viola particularly emphasized the early dating of Persian inscriptions - engraved both on civil and funerary monuments - and stressed the similarities in form end content between the inscribed texts and the poetic tradition of early Islamic courts in the East.

  • Shapes and Voices of Marble: Funerary Monuments from Ghazni (15th – 18th c.)

Martina Massullo (PhD student, Aix-Marseille University; “L’Orientale” University of Naples)

Martina first introduced the large repertoire of late funerary monuments and discussed the content of some epitaphs bearing witness of the diffusion of Sufism and of the progressive transformation of Ghazni in a place of pilgrimage on saints’ graves. She also focused on the use of Persian language in some tombstones and steles from the 15th century onwards.

  • Islamic Metalwork from Ghazni: the Rawza Museum Collection

Valentina Laviola (PhD student, Ca’ Foscari Univeraity of Venice, “L’Orientale” University of Naples)

This paper consisted in an introductory review of the history and current condition of Museums and Islamic collections in Afghanistan, and in a further display of the variety of metalwork from the Rawza Museum. Valentina supported the hypothesis of a local production of metalwork in Ghazni and showed some original features of the Afghan production with respect to the contemporary ‘Khorasanian style’.

  • Re-discovering Ghazni: New Data on the Pottery Corpus from Islamic Ghazni

Agnese Fusaro(PhD student, Sapienza University of Rome)

Finally, Agnese talked about the ceramic production unearthed in Ghazni and the clues it provides to reconstruct a chronology of the different stages of the main Islamic sites: the Ghaznavid Palace and the house of the lustre-wares. She also discussed the ceramic material in relation to Ghazni’s sociological environment and to the trade flows connecting Iran, Central Asia, India and China.

The conference was an important occasion and we were glad to share the first results of our on-going researches with expert scholars and young colleagues and to receive feedbacks and suggestions. More information on the panel can be seen on the website of the International Society for Iranian Studies


V.A., A.F., V.L., M.M., August 2014