Prof. Richard L. Zettler
Richard L. Zettler is an archaeologist specializing in the ancient past of Iraq and Syria. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1984, and joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1986-1987. In addition to teaching responsibilities, Zettler holds an appointment as curator in Penn Museum.
Zettler has conducted fieldwork in Iraq and Syria for forty-five years. He worked at Nippur and Umm al-Hafriyat in southern Iraq, as well as Üç Tepe in the upper Diyala River basin, in the late 1970s, and directed excavations at Tell es-Sweyhat, an Early Bronze Age site on the upper Euphrates in Syria, from 1989-2007. He has been working at sites in the Rowanduz-Soran district of Erbil Governorate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq since 2013.
Having served as a Consultant on the Mosul Archaeology Program, an exchange between Boston University’s Department of Archaeology and the University of Mosul’s College of Archaeology, supported by the U. S. Department of State, Zettler joined ASOR’s Cultural Heritage Initiative as Co-Investigator and Senior Cultural Heritage Advisor in 2014. He and Michael D. Danti established the Iraq Heritage Stabilization Program (IHSP) at the University of Pennsylvania in 2018. Starting with support from the U. S. Department of State, IHSP has drawn additional support from ALIPH Foundation and the Gerda Henkel Stiftung.
Dr. Michael D. Danti
Dr. Michael Danti is a Near Eastern archaeologist and cultural heritage expert with over 30 years of experience directing archaeological programs and preservation initiatives in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the United States. Since 2018, he has served as the Program Manager of the Iraq Heritage Stabilization Program (IHSP) at the University of Pennsylvania. In the past, Danti has directed U.S. DOS programs in the MENA region focused on higher education and cultural heritage protection and preservation. As a field archaeologist, Danti directs the Rowanduz Archaeological Program in Iraqi Kurdistan, which includes archaeological excavations, surveys, and cultural heritage management projects, as well as the Hasanlu (Iran) Publication Project. He has written numerous official reports and scholarly articles on the cultural heritage crises in the Middle East and has been a regular public speaker and presenter on television and radio to raise awareness of the plight of our global cultural patrimony. Danti has testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade on cultural property crimes in the conflict zones of Syria and Iraq. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 2011 and serves as a Consulting Scholar at the Penn Museum.
Dr. Darren P. Ashby
Dr. Darren P. Ashby received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 2017 with a specialization in the archaeology, art, and history of Ancient Mesopotamia. From 2017 to 2019, he worked as a Project Manager for Syrian and Iraqi Cultural Heritage Projects at the American Schools of Oriental Research’s Cultural Heritage Initiatives. He has been a member of IHSP since 2019.
Dr. John MacGinnis
John MacGinnis is a near eastern archaeologist whose work focuses on the archaeology and epigraphy of Mesopotamia in the first millennium BC, with a particular interest in the history and functioning of the Assyrian Empire. After studying Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, he has worked on sites across the Middle East, including in Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Sudan and Iraq. Most recently he was Lead Archaeologist of the British Museum’s “Iraq Scheme” archaeological training program, in the course of which he directed excavations at both a Parthian settlement and an Assyrian fort in the Darband-i Rania pass in Iraqi Kurdistan. Previously Dr. MacGinnis served as a field director on the excavations of the Neo-Assyrian provincial capital of Ziyaret Tepe (ancient Tušhan), and was also Archaeological Advisor to the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalisation. He is a UNESCO specialist for ancient Mesopotamia, has been on the Council of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, and is an affiliated research fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Dr. William B. Hafford
Senior Research Coordinator
Dr. William B. Hafford received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in the graduate group of Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World in 2001 and is a consulting scholar at the Penn Museum. He has 25 years of experience in the MENA region working as site supervisor, assistant, or associate director at many archaeological sites in Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. He began working with IHSP on heritage work in northern Iraq in 2020.
Khaled Hiatlih is a Near Eastern archaeologist and cultural heritage specialist with 15 years of experience in the archaeological field in Syria. He has participated in many international projects and led initiatives specializing in cultural heritage documentation and the digitization of cultural properties and museum archives. He received his BA degree from Damascus University and from BYU in the USA. He has contracted as an expert with the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) in Damascus. Khaled has worked on heritage projects across Syria, including the rehabilitation of the Folk Museum (Azem Palace) in Damascus and the Syrian Mosaics Documentation Project, a joint project with the European Centre for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments.
Dedicated to the preservation of Syrian cultural heritage, Hiatlih has been tracking the illicit trafficking of Syrian archaeological artifacts and documenting the damage to Syrian heritage since the crisis started and has participated in cultural initiatives to raise public awareness and protect endangered Syrian heritage as a part of global human heritage.
Recently, he has coordinated and participated in many cultural initiatives with Leiden University, ASOR, IDA, TDA, Syrian Cultural Heritage Center, UNESCO, and Heritage Roots.
IHSP works closely with Iraqi heritage professionals to protect and promote Iraq’s diverse cultural heritage for both Iraqis and the global community. Please consider donating to support the preservation of this heritage for present and future generations.