|Scholar in Turkish Archeology Is
Director of the Oriental Institute
by Sel Erder YACKLEY, Midwest
The Oriental Institute, the University of Chicago, has
announced that Prof. Gil J. Stein has become its new director
following the retirement of Gene Gragg July 1st. The news was received enthusiastically
by the Turkish Community, which has been a long-time supporter
of the OI and the Department of Near Eastern Languages
and Civilizations. NELC has one of the best Hittite, Turkish
Studies and the Ottoman History and Literature curricula
in the United States.
am honored to have been offered this position, and excited
about having the opportunity to work with and on behalf
of my colleagues at the Oriental Institute. There is no
other place in the world that has, under one roof, such
a concentration of superb archaeologists and textual scholars
specializing in the ancient Near East and Egypt,"
said Dr. Stein.
Prof. Stein comes to
the University of Chicago from the Anthropology Department
of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. From
1992-1997 he directed the Northwestern University excavations
at the Late Chalcolithic/Uruk (ca. 4000-3100 BC) site
of Hacinebi in the Euphrates river valley of southeast
Turkey, in a project sponsored by the National Science
Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities
and the National Geographic Society.
plan to do everything possible to encourage Oriental Institute
research in ALL its areas of scholarly strength. One of
the most important of these is Anatolia.
With the researchers working on the Hittite dictionary
and the archaeologists specializing in Anatolian archaeology,
the Oriental Institute is already one of the most important
centers of scholarship in this field. Prof. Yener's ongoing
research project in the Amuq at Tell Atchana is one of
the best examples of this important and path-breaking
am eager to continue and develop the role of the Oriental
Institute in bringing to light the ancient civilizations
of Anatolia," he said.
colleague, Prof. Aslihan Yener, an OI and
NELC faculty member, said: "As a scholar of
Anatolian archaeology, I am very pleased that someone
of Gil Stein's caliber was appointed Director of the Oriental
Institute-the prime institution of ancient Near Eastern
research in the United States. Well-known as an outstanding
expert of early complex societies, his expertise of the
southeast Tigris-Euphrates region around Urfa will expand
the range, scope and quality of studies in the archaeology
and languages of ancient Turkey here," she added. Prof. Yener has been excavating in the Amuq Valley, Hatay region
for the last seven years.
"Gil's remarkable fluency in Turkish, his
love of excavating in Turkey and his training of Turkish
students has nurtured appreciation for the diversity of
ancient cultures in Turkey among a wide audience. I welcome him as a colleague and look
forward to working with him."
Stein received his BA with honors in archaeology from
Yale University in 1978 and his PhD in Anthropology from
the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. He has excavated
and surveyed in the American Southwest (Arizona and New
Mexico), Syria, and most recently in Turkey, where he
has been working since 1981.
Stein has been a National Science Foundation Graduate
Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey (1982-83) a post-doctoral
fellow at the Smithsonian Institution (1988-89), a Resident
Scholar at the School of American Research (1994-95),
and has held a Howard fellowship from Brown University
Stein lived in Ankara while doing his dissertation research. Over a 21-year-period, he conducted archeological
surveys, excavations and worked in museums in southeastern
Turkey including Adiyaman and Sanliurfa. "I hope
to continue my research in this important region in the
future. From these experiences, I have developed lasting
friendships with Turkish colleagues, and have developed
a deep love and respect for Turkish culture and history,"
"Our hope is to
continue and expand cooperation between Turkish and American
scholars who study the textual and archaeological remains
of Anatolian civilizations. Our shared goals in this regard
are best summarized by the words of Ataturk (inscribed
on the walls of the Turkish Historical Society - Turk
Tarih Kurumu): "Tarih yazmak, tarih yapmak kadar
muhimdir" ("Writing history is as important
as making history").
in Turkish, Dr. Stein's main research interests focus
on the development of early civilizations in the Near
East and the archaeology of ancient colonies. He has also
conducted research on the economic organization of state
societies, craft specialization, Neolithic subsistence
systems, and zooarchaeology. He has written over 35 journal
articles, book chapters, and reviews, and the book Rethinking
World Systems: Diasporas, Colonies, and Interaction in
Uruk Mesopotamia (University of Arizona Press 1999).
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 (Madison,
Prehistory Press - 1994).
of the Hacinebi excavations can be seen on the world wide
appointment at the University of Chicago will be as a
Professor in the department of Near Eastern Languages