Grenet Frantz
History and Cultures of Pre-Islamic Central Asia

, by Marc-Antoine Rey

Professor at the Collège de France

Contacter Frantz Grenet

Personal Website

Research themes

  • History of Central Asia (Antiquity early Middle Ages), from archaeological and textual sources.
  • Pre-Islamic religions of the Iranian world, in particular Zoroastrianism.
  • Philology of Middle Iranian languages.

Current research

  • Coordination of the excavation and survey reports of the French-Uzbek Archaeological Mission at Afrasiab, the site of ancient Samarkand, 1989-2007. Personal contributions : sector of the Umayyad palace, sector of the earliest stratigraphic levels of the town (southwestern side of the rampart). Continuation of the direction of the Mission.
  • Research on Zoroastrian calendars and Zoroastrian iconography in Iran and Central Asia.
  • Participation in several handbooks on the history of Zoroastrianism and the history of Central Asia.
  • International activity : board member of the Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum (London) ; president of the European Society for Studies of Central Asia and Himalayan Regions (Paris).



  • « Doctorat de 3e cycle » in Archaeology (1981).
  • Diploma of Persian at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) (1976).
  • Agrégé d’histoire (1975).
  • École Normale Supérieure (1972-1977).


  • 2013 - Professor at the Collège de France, chair « History and cultures of pre-Islamic Central Asia » (appointment April 2013, first teaching year 2013-2014).
  • Since 1999 - « Directeur d’études cumulant » at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section « Religious Sciences » (chair « Religions of the ancient Iranian world »).
  • 1981 to 2013 - Research fellow in the CNRS (DR 1 2005-2013).
  • 1978 to 1981 - Deputy-director of the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan.

**Participation in archaeological excavations

  • Missions : Dura-Europos (Syria) 1983-84, Rag-i Bibi (Afghanistan) 2004, Kultobe (Kazakhstan) 2006-2007.
  • Since 1989, director of the French-Uzbek Archaeological Mission in Sogdiana, (main site : Afrasiab-Samarkand).
  • Ai Khanum (Afghanistan) 1975-78.
  • Tell Arqa (Liban) 1973-74.