March 14, 1996
Vol. 15, No. 13

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    Pioneer in Hittitology to be honored

    Hans Gueterbock, one of the world's foremost scholars on the ancient Near East, will receive the American Oriental Society Medal of Merit in recognition of his lifetime of contributions to the field of Hittitology.

    Gueterbock, the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Oriental Institute and Co-Editor of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary, is only the second person to receive the award, which was established in 1985 and was designed to be given infrequently and only for work of particularly outstanding quality. The medal will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Oriental Society on Tuesday, March 19.

    "Without question, Hans Gueterbock is one of the leading figures in Hittitology," said Martha Roth, Associate Professor in the Oriental Institute, Associate Editor of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary and AOS section chair for the ancient Near East. "His work has been essential in recovering the language and history of this important civilization."

    The Hittites were a people of the ancient Near East, inhabiting the land of Hatti on the central plateau of Anatolia, now part of Turkey. The earliest Hittite texts in cuneiform writing date to circa 1600 B.C. and are the oldest written records of any Indo-European language. Gueterbock has published extensively on Hittite history, literature, art and archaeology, and mythology.

    In recognition of Gueterbock's work, a special session of the annual meeting of the AOS has been organized for Sunday, March 17. Papers will be presented by scholars from around the country, including Erica Reiner, the John A. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in the Oriental Institute and Editor-in-Charge of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, who will present "Pointed or Blunt," and Harry Hoffner, Professor in the Oriental Institute and Co-Editor, with Gueterbock, of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary, who will present "Syntactical Perspectives on the Hittite Laws."

    Gueterbock received his Ph.D. from Leipzig University in 1934 and was a member of the faculty of Ankara University from 1936 until 1948. In 1949 he joined the faculty of the Oriental Institute. He was named the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in 1959.

    Gueterbock is a past president of the American Oriental Society, which was founded in 1842 and is devoted to the encouragement of basic research in languages and literatures of Asia.