In memoriam David Stronach (1931-2020)

Today the sad news reached me that David Stronach has died. As director of the British Institute of Persian Studies in the 1960s and 70s he was a prolific excavator, a fact I have come to know well because material from several of his site — including Pasargadae, Tepe Nush-i Jan, Tall-i Nokhodi, Shahr-i Qumis and Yarim Tepe — is in the Met. This elegant carinated jar (63.102.10) is one of the vessels he found at Yarim Tepe:

Carinated vase from Yarim Tepe, ca. 3000-2250 BCE. Ceramic; H. 17.81 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art 63.102.10.

Not only was he a consummate excavator, but he published preliminary reports religiously, a fact for which I (and many other scholars) am extremely grateful. Moreover, his final report on Pasargadae (Oxford, 1978) is an exemplary archaeological publication. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979 he became a professor at Berkeley, where he supervised many of today’s leading archaeologists of ancient Iran. And he continued to publish. In fact, I think he published some of his best papers after 2010.

I only me Prof. Stronach once, in a burger restaurant in Santa Monica. He was a gentleman to me, and showed genuine interest in my work. I was glad to have had that opportunity to talk with him, and am very sorry at his loss.