Preliminary draft release. Additional documentation is forthcoming


Tall-e Żaḥḥāk

Small marble head (Aphrodite?)

Small female head of (Parian?) marble. Tall-e Żaḥḥāk (Fasā), Fārs province, Iran. Third or second century BC. Chance find, in or before 1934. National Museum of Iran, no. 2089. H. 0.11 m.


The sculpture was acquired, according to Aurel Stein, at Fasā in 1934 (Stein 1936: 140-141; idem 1938: 324). It is reported to have been found in the vicinity of the nearby ancient mound, in debris left by looters of construction materials.
A. W. Lawrence confirmed the head's hellenistic date, ascribing it to an Asia Minor workshop, and interpreted it as belonging to a statuette of Aphrodite (apud Stein 1936: 140-141). (See also Colledge 1979: 225; Schlumberger 1983: 1037; Colledge 1987: 152; Kawami 1987: 29; Callieri 2007: 105.)
Pottery sherds found at Tall-e Zaḥḥak indicate that there was a continuous occupation at this site during the Achaemenid and Alexandrine-Seleucid periods (Hansman 1975: 298-300 and fig. 3 nos. 1-2; cf. Wiesehöfer 1994: 65-66).


Callieri, P. 2007. L'archéologie du Fārs à l'époque hellénistique. Quatre leçons au Collège de France, 8, 15, 22 et 29 mars 2007. Persika 11. Paris.

Colledge, M. A. R. 1979. 'Sculptors' stone-carving techniques in Seleucid and Parthian Iran, and their place in the "Parthian" cultural milieu: some preliminary observations.' East and West 29: 221-240.

——. 1987. 'Greek and non-Greek interaction in the art and architecture of the Hellenistic East.' In Kuhrt, A. and Sherwin-White, S. (eds.), Hellenism in the East. The Interaction of Greek and Non-Greek Civilizations from Syria to Central Asia after Alexander. Berkeley and Los Angeles: 134-162.

Hansman, J. 1975. 'An Achaemenian stronghold’, with a contribution by Bailey, H. W. on ‘Nasā and Fasā’ (pp. 309-312). In Monumentum H. S. Nyberg, vol. 3. Acta Iranica 6. Téhéran and Liège: 289-312.

Kawami, T. S. 1987. Monumental Art of the Parthian Period in Iran. Acta Iranica 26. Leiden.

Schlumberger, D. 1983. ‘Parthian art.’ In Yarshater, E. (ed.), The Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 3: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanid Periods, part 2. Cambridge: 1025-1054. Also available online at

Stein, A. 1936. 'An archaeological tour in the ancient Persis.' Iraq 3.2: 111-225.

——. 1938. 'An archaeological journey in western Iran.' The Geographical Journal 92.4 (Oct.): 313-342.

Wiesehöfer, J. 1994. Die 'dunklen Jahrhunderte' der Persis. Untersuchungen zu Geschichte und Kultur von Fārs in frühhellenistischer Zeit (330-140 v. Chr.). Zetemata 90. Munich.

Cite this entry:

Zournatzi, A. and Delakos, S. 2016. 'Tall-e Żaḥḥāk: Small marble head (Aphrodite?).' In Mapping Ancient Cultural Encounters: Greeks in Iran ca. 550 BC - ca. AD 650. Online edition, preliminary draft release. Available at