Truth-telling and heritage erasure

Claire Smith, Kellie Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides important insights into how archaeology has provided evidence and epistemological legitimacy for the Persianization of Iran’s past. The authors argue that archaeology played a role in creating a linear and monolithic Persian identity that was projected onto 2,500 years of Iranian Plateau history, diminishing both the current existence and historical roles of Azeri Turks, Arabs, Balouchs, Kurds, Turkmen, Lurs,and Gilakis. They identify three major strategies: a linear, state-centered reconstruction of the past; excavations of historical sites presented to support a grand narrative; and ignoring or minimizing the heritage of marginalized communities. These strategies of heritage erasure are familiar. They have been used in settler countries across the world as well as in Nazi Germany and the communist bloc (Arnold 1990; Silverman 2011; Mizo-guchi and Smith 2019)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-202
Number of pages2
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

This is a comment to the published paper: Mohammadpour, A., & Soleimani, K. (2022). Silencing the Past. In Current Anthropology (Vol. 63, Issue 2, pp. 185–210). University of Chicago Press.


  • Archaeology
  • Iran
  • Persia
  • Persian identity


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