Episode R5 – Behistun Hat-Trick

“The Major constantly and indefatigably employed himself, from daylight to dark, revising, restoring and adding to his former materials.  This was a work of great irksomeness and labour in the confined space he was compelled to stand in, with his body in close proximity to the heated rock and under a broiling September sun.” – Felix Jones, 1844

After the debacle of the First Anglo-Afghan War, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson made two more excursions to Behistun.  His attempts to copy the remaining inscriptions nearly cost him his life.

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10 thoughts on “Episode R5 – Behistun Hat-Trick

  1. Hi, Scott. I've really enjoyed this podcast and the rediscovery series. I was wondering if you were planning on doing a series on the period after 500AD. I know you have a real life with other stuff going on but there's so much cool stuff and would love to hear your entertaining and informative take on it. Keep up the good work and thanks for making all my time recovering fascinating with your podcasts. Steve

  2. Hi Steve, glad you're enjoying TAW! At this point, no definite plans for anything beyond the current miniseries. I expect I'll continue generating additional (short or long) miniseries in the future as topics grab my interest. If I end up wanting to tackle something more current, I'll probably have to create a separate logistical set-up (website, etc.), but I'll still announce it here & on the Facebook page. Take care! – Scott C.

  3. Hi Scott! I just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying the Rediscovery angle of the podcast. The details of how we were able to rediscover early human history is absolutely fascinating!
    I cannot wait for the next R-episode!

  4. Wow, Scott,

    The Ancient World Pocast series was interesting to listen to.
    But this R-serious is absolutely FASCINATING!!! Some of the stories make your heart stop beating in suspence, like poor Rawlinson on the ladder in this one. And the fact that you not only focus on the moment of discovery, but give a broader picture of the people and their background.
    Wow wow wow.
    For all of this a big thank you.

    There have been many books written on the beginnings of archeology.
    Still – I think you could very well join the group and publish the text of this episodes in book form.
    It would be interesting to read and I’m sure you’d find buyers.



    1. Thank you! The Rediscovery series was really enjoyable to create, and I learned a lot researching it.

  5. “Rawlinson was appalled by the absolute waste of lives and effort.”
    How incredibly up-to-date this sounds these days, in view of retaking Kabul by the Taliban and the scenes at the airport….

    1. Very true. It was interesting to learn about this chapter in his life. He seemed much less racist and heedlessly militaristic than many of his contemporaries.

  6. Yes, that’s true. Good for him!

    Your podcast made me appreciated his input into Iranian studies even more. I did not realise how difficult it was to access the inscriptions! Nowadays a simple “drone trick” would suffice : ).

    He and his achievements are also a worthy subject of a film – him balancing on the ladder and nearly falling down as the openin scene worthy of and true to Hitchcocks formula that a good film should begin with an earthquake : ).

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