Before coming to teach at Harvard (in 1981), Professor Steinkeller pursued research at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. His scholarly work deals broadly with the history, culture, and languages of early Mesopotamia (3000-1500 BCE), its particular focus being the socioeconomic history of Babylonia during the 3rd mil. BCE and, most recently, the early history of Sumero-Akkadian religion. He is also interested in Mesopotamian archaeology, as evidenced in his present involvement in an archaeological project at the site of Tell Arbid in north-west Syria. Among his ongoing projects is a study of the population density and settlement patterns in Babylonia at ca. 2900 BCE, which utilizes both textual and archaeological data, and an investigation of the economic organization of the Ur III state (2900-2000 BCE). He has written or co-authored three books and over eighty articles and book reviews. He teaches a wide range of courses and seminars on the Sumerian and Akkadian languages, Mesopotamian religion, and history of ancient Mesopotamia.
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