Prof. Dr. Jesper Eidem

Jesper Eidem was for many years attached to the University of Copenhagen as researcher and Associate Research Professor. Since 2009 he is General Director of the Netherlands Institute for the Near East (Leiden) and the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (Istanbul), and since 2012 Professor (by special appointment) of the Archaeology of Western Asia at the University of Amsterdam. His main research area is the history and archaeology of Northern Mesopotamia in the Bronze and Iron Ages.

The research project From Iran to the Euphrates aims at a political, geographical, and ideological analysis of an early Mesopotamian empire, which briefly incorporated vast areas across northern Iraq and Syria under the rule of king Shamshi-Adad I (ca. 1833-1776 BC). The rise, organisation, and demise of this transient state is exceptionally well documented in cuneiform sources excavated at a number of sites within its territory. Danish scholars have for 50 years been involved in the study and analysis of this empire through a series of relevant projects: from a lucky find of contemporary archives in Tell Shemshara in northeastern Iraq on the eastern edge of the empire, to participation in research conducted at its capital at Tell Leilan in northeastern Syria, to a current fieldproject at the empire’s presumed westernmost outpost near the Euphrates in northern Syria (Qala’at Halwanji). Building on these and other components the project aims at the first comprehensive historical and archaeological analysis of the strategies employed by this early attempt at cross-regional state-formation in the Near East, and not least its impacts on local societies.

Activities