Oriental Institute Appoints New Director

Associate professor Christopher Woods, who teaches Sumerian, will replace archaeology professor Gil Stein.

By Deepti Sailappan, Managing Editor ('19-'20)

Associate professor Christopher Woods will become the 13th director of the Oriental Institute on July 1.

Woods, who teaches Sumerian in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, also researches early Mesopotamian society. He is editor-in-chief of the University’s Journal of Near Eastern Studies and leads the postdoctoral scholars program at the Oriental Institute.

Woods will take over from archaeology professor Gil Stein, who will serve in the newly created position of Senior Advisor to the Provost for Cultural Heritage. The Oriental Institute’s projects during Stein’s 15-year tenure as director included resuming fieldwork in Iraq and Israel, developing a searchable digital database for its archives, and establishing a public outreach department.

 “The opportunity to lead an institute where legends in our field have worked and to build on what Gil has done is one of the greatest honors in the field of Near East studies,” Woods told UChicago News. “I look forward to building new partnerships across campus and to developing collaborative projects that reach across fields.”