The Chicago-Tübingen Expedition to Zincirli is a joint project of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and the University of Tübingen’s Institut für die Kulturen des Alten Orients. We are conducting excavations and geophysical surveys at Zincirli Höyük (ancient Sam’al) in southeastern Turkey, near the border with Syria. We combine annual field research at this important site with studies of the history, culture, and ecology of the surrounding region to shed light on Bronze and Iron Age developments in a pivotal zone of interaction between the Levant, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. The region around Zincirli—the modern districts of İslahiye and Nurdağı in the western part of the province of Gaziantep—was the heartland of the Iron Age kingdom of Sam’al, which controlled a major route of travel and trade from northern Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean Sea. This kingdom is attested in ancient inscriptions discovered in and around Zincirli and in Mesopotamian cuneiform inscriptions found elsewhere.


 The site of Zincirli, ancient Sam’al, near the Amanus Mountains (view to the northwest)

The Chicago-Tübingen Expedition is directed by Dr. David Schloen, a Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Chicago, and Dr. Virginia Herrmann, a Junior Research Group Leader at the University of Tübingen. In addition to the support received from these two universities, we are grateful to the following agencies that have generously funded our work: the Neubauer Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Carl-Humann-Stiftung. From 2006 to 2013, the project (known as the Neubauer Expedition to Zincirli) was directed by David Schloen, with Dr. Amir Sumaka’i Fink as the associate director. In 2014, the University of Tübingen became a partner and Virginia Herrmann was named as co-director. The current leadership of the project also includes the following assistant directors: Dr. Tuna Kalaycı (since 2016), who is an Assistant Professor of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Leiden; Dr. Kathryn Morgan (since 2017), who is an Assistant Professor of Classical Studies at Duke University; and (since 2021) Dr. Timur Demir, who is an Assistant Professor of Archaeology at Gaziantep University.