avatar for Dr. Richard Zettler

Dr. Richard Zettler

Penn Museum
Associate Curator-in-Charge of Penn Museum’s Near East Section
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Richard L. Zettler is an archaeologist specializing in Mesopotamia, the region occupied by modern Iraq and Syria. He received his MA and PhD (1984) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. He worked at Nippur, early Mesopotamia’s religious center, and Umm al-Hafriyat in southern Iraq, as well as Üç Tepe in the Hamrin or upper Diyala River basin, as a graduate student, and directed excavations at Tell es-Sweyhat, an Early Bronze Age site, whose occupation spans the 3rd millennium BCE, on the upper Euphrates in Syria, from 1989-2007. He is currently working in northeastern Iraqi Kurdistan. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley in 1985-86 before coming to the University of Pennsylvania in 1986-87. Prof. Zettler’s research focuses on 3rd and early 2nd millennia BCE. His particular interests include urbanism and the socio-economic organization of complex societies, as well as methodological complexities of integrating archaeological and documentary data. His books include interpretative studies likes The Ur III Temple of Inanna at Nippur, as well as excavation reports such as Nippur III: Kassite Buildings in Area WC-1 and Subsistence and Settlement in a Marginal Environment: Tell es-Sweyhat, 1989-1995 Preliminary Report, with Nippur VI: The Inanna Temple in press. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Zettler is Associate Curator-in-Charge of Penn Museum’s Near East Section, which houses more than 100,000 artifacts from excavations across the Middle East. He co-curated Penn Museum’s Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, a highly successful traveling exhibit that appeared at venues across the US from 1998-2007. He collaborated in the re-installation of the Museum’s collections from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, entitled Iraq’s Ancient Past: Rediscovering the Royal Cemetery of Ur, and is currently involved in the re-installation of the Near East Section permanent collections.