Clemens Reichel

Dr. Clemens Reichel

Clemens Reichel

Associate Curator

Area: World Cultures, Ancient Cultures

Exhibitions & Galleries: Wirth Gallery of the Middle East


cand. phil., Mesopotamian Archaeology, Assyriology & Classical
Archaeology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 1989
M.A., Mesopotamian Archaeology, University of London, 1990
Ph. D., Mesopotamian Archaeology, University of Chicago, 2001

Born and raised in a small town in Southern Germany’s Black Forest, Dr. Clemens Reichel’s interest in archaeology awoke during a trip to Rome at the age of 12. His first encounter with Near Eastern archaeology occurred at the University of Freiburg (Germany). His studies subsequently took him to the University of London and the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in Mesopotamian archaeology. Dr. Reichel has excavated and surveyed extensively on sites in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Since 2004 he has been directing the Hamoukar Expedition, a large Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age site in northeastern Syria that is excavated in a joint project between the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and the Syrian Department of Antiquities.

Though "a field archaeologist at heart," Reichel’s background includes extensive museum work. Since 1999 he has been the director of the Diyala Project, which aims at the publication of over 15,000 objects from excavations undertaken by the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute in the Diyala Region (Iraq) during the 1930’s in an on-line database. In 2002 and 2003 he was Assistant Curator at the Oriental Institute Museum, working on the reinstallation of the museum’s Mesopotamian Gallery. Following the Iraq War and subsequent looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad in 2003, Reichel coordinated the creation of an on-line database of artifacts likely to have been stolen from the museum.

Dr. Reichel’s research interests concentrate on complex societies and the evolution of urbanism. He has a comprehensive background in Sumerian and Akkadian, Mesopotamia’s ancient languages written in cuneiform writing. His publications include studies on "text archaeology" (the archeological use of written sources), seals and clay sealings from the Diyala and Hamoukar excavations, aspects of divine kingship in Mesopotamia, and the current threat to Iraq’s cultural heritage.

Recent Publications

Year Publication
In preparation "Urbanism and Conflict in Late Chalcolithic Northern Syria: new perspectives." Antiquity, 25 pages.
In preparation "The Origins and Development of Urbanism in NE Syria: The 2005-2010 Seasons at Hamoukar." To be submitted to Oriental Institute Communications, Chicago: Oriental Institute, Edited Volume, 150 pages.
In preparation "Propaganda or Realpolitik? Royal seal iconography at Eshnunna as a reflection of historical/political realities." Journal of Near Eastern Studies
In preparation "Change and Continuity: The Social and Economic Organization of administrative Space at the Palace of the Rulers in Tell Asmar.", Authored Volume
2013 "Mesopotamia—Inventing our World." ROM Publications, 46, No. 1, Summer, 22.
2012 with K. Grossman and T. Paulette, ed. by H. Weiss. ""Early Bronze Age Hamoukar: ‘Akkadian—and Beyond?" in Seven Generations Since the Fall of Akkad." Harrassowitz. Studia Chaburensia, 3, 279-299.
2012 Joshua Englehardt ed.. "Bureaucratic Backlashes--the agency of record-keeping in the development of early Mesopotamian society." Agency of Writing, University of Colorado Press, 1-32.
2012 "Eshnunna." Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Ancient History
2011 Carol Meyer, ed.. "(contributions to) Bir Umm Fawakhir Vol 2. Reports on the 1996-1997 survey Seasons." Oriental Institute Communications 30. Chicago: Oriental Institute
2011 "Hamoukar 2006 – 2010: Syrian Urbanism revisited." Oriental Institute New and Notes 211, Fall 2011, 3-9.
2011 "Archives and Bureaucratic Encoding during prehistory—a view through seals and sealings." Journal of the Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies, 5, 25-36
2009 "No Garden in Eden—Hunting for Syria’s first Urban Dwellers." Archaeological Newsletter, Royal Ontario Museum, Series IV, 6, 1-4.
2009 "Beyond the Garden of Eden – Competition and Early Warfare in Northern Syria (4500–3000 B.C.)." Schlachfeldarchäologie. Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle, 2. Halle: Landesdenkmalamt, 17-30.
2008 Nicole Brisch, ed.. "The King is Dead, Long Live the King—the last days of the Shusin Cult at Eshnunna and its aftermath." Religion and Power: Divine Kingship in the Ancient World and Beyond, Chicago: Oriental Institute. Oriental Institute Seminars 4: 133-55, 4, 133-55.
2008 Geoff Emberling and Katharyn Hanson, ed.. "Cataloguing the Losses—The Oriental Institute’s Iraq Museum Database Project." Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past, Chicago: Oriental Institute. Oriental Institute Museum Publications, 28, 51-64.
2005 "Beyond Cataloguing Losses: The Oriental Institute’s Iraq Museum Database Project, University of Chicago." Visual Resources , 21.1 (March 2005), 93-113


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