Geoff Emberling is Assistant Research Scientist at the Kelsey Museum and is currently directing field research on ancient Nubia at El Kurru in northern Sudan. He received a BA in Anthropology from Harvard and a PhD in Anthropology and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan with a dissertation on ethnicity in early Mesopotamia. He has previously held positions as Lecturer at the University of Copenhagen, Assistant Curator in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as Museum Director and Chief Curator at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
His research interests include comparative perspectives on ancient cities, states, empires, and ethnicity with a particular focus on ancient cultures across the Middle East and North Africa. He has also written on the politics of archaeological practice and museum display.
His archaeological field experience spans much of the Middle East and North Africa. From 1998 to 2004 he directed excavations at Tell Brak, a site in northeastern Syria that contains the remains of one of the earliest and largest Mesopotamian cities. More recently, he directed salvage excavations in the 4th Cataract of the Nile in northern Sudan in 2007 and 2008.
He has curated and directed installation of numerous museum exhibitions, including most recently “Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa” at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. As of 2015, he is Consulting Curator for the reinstallation of the Ancient Middle East gallery at the Detroit Institute of Arts.