March 29, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 13

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    Stein named to second term as Director of the Oriental Institute

    William Harms
    News Office

    Gil Stein

    Gil Stein, one of the nation’s leading scholars of ancient Mesopotamia, has been reappointed Director of the Oriental Institute, a position he has held since joining the University in 2002.

    Stein, who is Professor in the Oriental Institute, does fieldwork in Turkey, where he has overseen excavations that examine the development of early civilizations. He has directed a series of important excavations at Hacinebi, a 5,500-year-old Mesopotamian colony in the Euphrates River valley of southeast Turkey, which is part of the world’ s first-known colonial system.

    During his first term as Director, he oversaw the completion of a reinstallation of artifacts in the institute’s museum and launched a number of important initiatives to strengthen the institute’ s leadership in the study of the ancient Near East.

    Under Stein’ s direction, the number of field research projects the institute has sponsored has grown from five to eight.

    Scholars also have increased their use of technology under Stein’s leadership. He helped increase support for the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes, which uses satellite technology to view sites before excavation. The center also studies how land features played a role in the development of ancient civilization. Under Stein’ s direction, the CAMEL lab was fully equipped for computers, and a director for the lab was hired.

    Stein also has launched a postdoctoral fellowship program, which has led to an increase in support for academic conferences and workshops. Those multidisciplinary conferences have looked at subjects such as sacred kingship, writing and funerary customs.

    Grants have grown under his leadership, and the membership of the institute has grown to 2,306, with a 35 percent increase in contributions from members. The institute also has launched a $3 million Research Endowment Campaign to provide support for projects in the years to come.

    In addition, the institute has secured funding for its three dictionary projects, the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, the Hittite Dictionary, and the Demotic Dictionary.

    “We look forward in Gil’s second term to the Oriental Institute reinforcing its position as a global center for the study of the past, with deeper dialogue between the text and field areas within the institute, and strengthened connections throughout the University and to Argonne National Laboratory,” said Provost Thomas Rosenbaum.

    Stein has been a National Science Foundation graduate fellow, a Fulbright scholar in Turkey, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, a resident scholar at the School of American Research and a Howard fellow at Brown University.

    Stein is the author of Rethinking World Systems: Diasporas, Colonies, and Interaction in Uruk Mesopotamia. He also is the co-editor (with Mitchell Rothman) of the book Chiefdoms and Early States in the Near East: The Organizational Dynamics of Complexity, and editor of The Archaeology of Colonial Encounters, The Uruk Expansion: Northern Perspectives from Hac§nebi, Hassek, Höyük and Gawra.

    Stein also has written more than 50 journal articles, numerous book chapters and reviews.

    Prior to joining the University, he was a professor of anthropology at Northwestern University.

    He received his B.A. in archaeology from Yale University in 1978 and his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988.