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David Stronach

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David Brian Stronach OBE FSA (10 June 1931 – 27 June 2020) was a British archaeologist of ancient Iran and Iraq who became an expert on the city of Pasargadae and an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Born in June 1931, Stronach was the son of Ian David Stronach FRCSE and his wife Marjorie Jessie Duncan Minto, and was educated at Gordonstoun School and St John's College, Cambridge, from which he graduated Master of Arts in 1958.[1] In the 1960s and 1970s he was director of the British Institute of Persian Studies in Tehran. In the 1990s, he excavated several parts of Nineveh. His scholarship earned him several honours and awards, including the invitation to deliver endowed lectures at Harvard and Columbia.[2]

During his time in Iran, he met Ruth Vaadia (1937–2017), an Israeli archaeologist who was also working in Iran, and married her in 1966.[1] They have two daughters, Keren and Tami.[3] The family left at the time of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.[2] He became Professor of Near Eastern Studies in the Graduate Division, University of California, Berkeley, in 1981[4] and retired in 2004.[3] Stronach's daughter Tami played the role of "The Childlike Empress" in the 1984 film The NeverEnding Story.

He died on 27 June 2020.[5]



  1. ^ a b c d "Stronach, David Brian", Ukwhoswho.com, accessed 3 March 2023. (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Waldbaum, Jane C. (2004). "From the President: Gentleman and Scholar". Archaeology Magazine. 57 (2).
  3. ^ a b Stronach, David (8 June 2004). "Archaeologist David Stronach, the 39th Recipient of the AIA's Gold Medal, Describes Highlights in a Long Career". College News and Events (Interview). Interviewed by Genevieve Shiffrar. University of California Berkeley. Archived from the original on 9 October 2004.
  4. ^ Stronach, David (17 June 2004). "Interviews. David Stronach: The Spearhead for the Institute" (Interview). Archaeological Institute of America. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Scottish archaeologist David Stronach, famed for intensive Iranian studies, dies at 89". Tehran Times. 28 June 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.

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