The Department of Near Eastern Archeology was originally part of the Ancient Near Eastern Seminar together with Assyriology. The range of courses offered covers the archeology of the entire Ancient Near East, from the Bosporus in the west to the Indus in the east and from the Caucasus in the north to the Arabian Peninsula in the south. Chronologically, 10000 years of human history from the beginning of the Neolithic to the Hellenisation of the Orient are covered. Thus, it offers students a wide range of study areas. The ongoing projects in the Near East (currently in Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey) demonstrate the diversity of the department, which in addition to teaching also encourages students to engage in practical research. Particularly interested students are given the opportunity to actively participate in ongoing field research projects and broaden their horizons through contacts with numerous cooperating domestic and foreign research institutions and disciplines (humanities, social and natural sciences). Regular excursions to the Near East as well as to important European museums with Near Eastern archaeological collections make it possible to reinforce students' knowledge of geography, history, and monuments at their original locations and with original objects.
Near Eastern Archeology and Archaeology of Palestine deals with the cultural legacies of the societies of the ancient Near East, in particular Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, Anatolia, Iran, the Gulf region, and the Arabian Peninsula as well as neighboring areas. It covers a time period from 12000 to 330 BC, i.e., the period from the beginning of the Neolithic to the beginning of Hellenism. This academic subject therefore illuminates a crucial section of human culture and development of civilization. Sedentism, the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry, the development of religious concepts, the invention of writing, the formation of the oldest states, the flourishing of trade and international exchange, and the development and decline of the earliest "global" empires are all phenomena which are researched and taught in this subject. Knowledge of the ancient Near East is essential for understanding the development and shaping of European cultures up to the present day.