Professor Near Eastern Archaeology
Peter Akkermans is Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Leiden University.
Dr. Peter M.M.G. Akkermans (Hulsberg, The Netherlands, 1957) studied Prehistory and Archaeology of Western Asia at the University of Amsterdam, where he also completed (cum laude) his PhD on Neolithic settlement in Syria. From 1990 until 2009 he was Curator of the Dept. of the Ancient Near East in the Netherlands National Museum of Antiquities, in combination with an Extraordinary Professorship of Near Eastern Prehistory at Leiden University. Since 2010 Akkermans is Full Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Leiden University.
For several years he was Chair of both the Near Eastern and Classical-Mediterranean sections and he served as Vice-Dean and Chair of Education of the Faculty of Archaeology from August 2012 until January 2016.
Tell Sabid Abyad
Akkermans has been intensively involved in archaeological field projects in Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan for over 30 years. He is director of one of the largest archaeological research projects in the Middle East: the Tell Sabi Abyad Project in Syria (until the start of the civil war). This extensive, interdisciplinary project includes surface survey and large-scale excavation at a number of archaeological sites in Northern Syria.
The Archaeology of Syria
Together with Glenn M. Schwartz (The Johns Hopkins University, USA), he published The Archaeology of Syria (Cambridge University Press, 2003), the first book to present a comprehensive review of the archaeology of Syria from the end of the Palaeolithic period to ca. 300 BC.
Since 2012 Akkermans is director of the Jebel Qurma Archaeological Landscape Project, with extensive yearly fieldwork in the basalt desert in North-Eastern Jordan. An important spin-off of the research in the Jebel Qurma region is the Landscapes of Survival Project, co-directed by Dr. Ahmad Al-Jallad and funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This multidisciplinary research programme aims to bring rich, new datasets from the Jebel Qurma region (settlements, burials, rock-art, inscriptions) in a single interpretive framework, which has not been done before. It focuses on the social, political, economic and ideological strategies which allowed the local peoples to successfully exploit their inherently marginal landscapes between the Hellenistic and early Islamic periods.
The programme investigates pastoralist lifeways and the treatment of the dead in the desert, the role of rock-art in signing the landscape, and the implications of widespread literacy among the local desert peoples.