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A native of Kharkiv, in the Kharkov Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine) Ghirshman moved to Paris in 1917 to study Archeology and Ancient Languages. He was mainly interested in the archeological ruins of Iran, specifically Teppe Gian, Teppe Sialk, Bagram in Afghanistan, Bishapur in Fars, and Susa.
In the 1930s, Girshman, together with his wife Tania Ghirshman, was the first to excavate Teppe Sialk. His studies on Chogha Zanbil have been printed in 4 volumes, and he also led excavation teams at Kharg Island, Iwan-i Karkheh, and the Parthian platforms in Masjed Soleiman, near Izeh, Khuzestan.
With 300 papers and 20 books published, Ghirshman was one of the most prolific and respected experts on ancient Iran. Some of his works on Susa have not even been published yet, but have served other archeologists such as Jean Perrot and Hermann Gasche in subsequent follow-up studies in the 1960s and 1970s in Iran.
- 1938, Fouilles de Sialk, prés de Kashan, 1933, 1934, 1937. Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, Paris (in two volumes).
- 1954, Iran: from the earliest times to the Islamic conquest. Penguin books.(A French version was published in 1951 by Payot, Paris).
- 1963, Perse. Proto-iraniens, Mèdes, Achéménides. Gallimard, Paris.
- 1970, Le Pazuzu et les fibules du Luristan. Impr. Catholique, Beirut.
- 1971, Persia, the immortal kingdom. (Coauthors: Minorsky, V.F., and Sanghvi, R., Greenwich, Conn., New York Graphic Society.
- 1976, L'Iran des origines à l'islam. Nouv. éd. rev. et mise à jour. Paris.
- 1977, L'Iran et la migration des Indo-Aryens et des Iraniens. Leiden.
- 1979, Tombe princière de Ziwiyé et le début de l'art animalier scythe. Soc. Iranienne pour la Conservation du Patrimoine, Paris.