Dr. Piotr Steinkeller Awarded University of Chicago 2019 Alumni Medal


Renowned Mesopotamian scholar Piotr Steinkeller (PhD, University of Chicago ’77) has been named the 2019 recipient of the Alumni Medal, one of the highest alumni honors awarded by the University.

Dating to 1941, the award recognizes achievement of an exceptional nature in any field over an entire career. "When it comes to Assyriology, Steinkeller's talents are unmatched. He is justly counted among a handful in this discipline worldwide that set the stage for the rest of us, and in contrast to his few peers, he stands alone in terms of the breadth of his interest and writing," wrote one of his nominators. Another referred to Steinkeller as “a true pioneer, facing and most brilliantly treating many topics that had never been dealt with before.”

Steinkeller has authored, co-authored or edited 10 books and some 140 articles. His most recent books are History, Texts and Art in Early Babylonia: Three Essays (DeGruyter, 2017) and Babylonia, the Gulf Region and the Indus: Archaeological and Textual Evidence for Contact in the Third and Early Second Millennia BC (Eisenbrauns, 2017). Steinkeller is presently writing a book devoted to the history of Mesopotamia during the Late Uruk period (3500–2900 BCE), a formative phase of history during which cuneiform writing was invented, and the time when the nation’s socioeconomic and religious institutions acquired their essential shape.

The University of Chicago Alumni Board will present the Alumni Medal this autumn at the Alumni Medal Presentation and Professional Achievement Awards Ceremony. Congratulations, Peter!