Chair of Near Eastern Archeology

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Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology


Archaeology is a highly fascinating and versatile, but at the same time labour-intensive, subject that is divided into individual disciplines according to region and chronology. What all archaeological disciplines have in common is their basic approach to explore ancient cultures on the basis of both their material remains - mostly finds beneath the surface - and sometimes also their still visible structures of buildings. In the winter term of 2009/10, the five archaeological subjects of the LMU (apart from Near Eastern Archaeology these are Prehistoric and Early Medieval Archaeology, Archaeology of the Roman Provinces, Classical Archaeology and Byzantine Art History) created a common BA-course of studies: “Archaeology - Europe and the Near East”, which embraces this common methodical basis and conveys the students a broad basic knowledge of all these individual disciplines and thus provides an excellent basis for the students’ career choice and practical work. Furthermore, the BA-programe of studies “Ancient Near East” offers the opportunity to focus on this region and its cultural history.

Near Eastern Archaeology!

Near Eastern Archaeology (also referred to as Archaeology and Cultural History of the Near Orient, Ancient Oriental Archaeology or Near Eastern Ancient Studies) explores the cultures of the Ancient Near East, starting with the sedentism of people in the 10th century B.C. and ending with the islamisation of the region (7th century A.D.). Our sphere of interest is delimitated by the Mediterranean Sea, the Caucasus, the Middle Asian Steppes and the Indian Ocean. The focus of these courses of studies, however, has always been on the cultures of the Old Mesopotamia from the 3rd to the 1st century B.C.

Our Institute in Munich

The chair in Munich was initially founded in 1969 under the name of Near Eastern Prehistoric and Early Medieval Archaeology. The institute of the LMU has remained the only one of its kind in Bavaria until today. Professor Barthel Hrouda held the professorship until his retirement in 1994. His successor was professor Michael Roaf until his retirement in 2013. The current full professor is Prof. Dr. Adelheid Otto.

Members of the institute used to work above all in Mesopotamia, as e.g. in Isin and Assur (Hrouda) and in small locations of Iraq (Spanos), in Eastern Turkey (Roaf, Schachner), Syria (Otto, Einwag), Armenia (Kroll), and Dubai (Gruber). Recent excavations took place in Syria (Novák) and Turkey (Novák); current research projects include Armenia (Herles), Iraqi Kurdistan (Mühl), Iran (Piller), and Uzbekistan (Kaniuth). Furthermore, our institute is associated with excavation- and research projects in other states.
In addition to field research, the Munich Institute houses research projects that e.g. deal with questions about the historical geography of Mesopotamia (HIGEOMES) or ancient metrology (METRO-LOGIA).
Our institute closely cooperates with the Institute for Assyriology and Hittitology, which manifests itself by commonly organised lectures, series of speeches and excursions.
In addition, our institute participates in projects of the following institutions: the Munich Centre for Antique Worlds (MZAW) and the ArchaeoBioCenter.