Margarete van Ess read Near Eastern Archaeology, Ancient Oriental Studies, Pre- and Early History at Universität Tübingen and Freie Universität Berlin. In 1989 she has joined the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) as a Researcher. There she conducted excavations in Uruk/Warka and edited various publications about several repositories. In 1996 she received a doctorate from Freie Universität Berlin with a thesis entitled “Die Architektur des Eanna-Heiligtums in Uruk zur Ur III- und altbabylonischen Zeit. Baukonzeption eines Heiligtums”. Since then she has been the scientific Director of the Orient Department of the DAI and Director of the field office in Baghdad. Besides conducting excavations in Baalbek, Uruk Sippar and Erbil she has shown deep commitment to cultural policy affairs, especially for the preservation of Iraqs archaological heritage. From 2004 to 2010 she was the coordinator of the project ARCANE (Associated Regional Chronologies for the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean) supported by the European Science Foundation. She was member of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq and the Sub-Committee for the Protection, Conservation and Management of the Archaeological Site of Babylon, both initiated by the UNESCO. Together with Ricardo Eichmann she is the publisher of the “Zeitschrift für Orient-Archäologie”.

Activities