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Curator Biography

Fredrik Hiebert
National Geographic Archaeology Fellow

Dr. Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist and curator, has traced ancient trade routes overland and across the seas for more than 20 years. He has led excavations at ancient Silk Road sites from Egypt to Mongolia. His discoveries in Turkmenistan at a 4,000-year-old city along the Silk Road made headlines around the world in 2001.

Hiebert completed his doctoral dissertation at Harvard University in 1992. He was assistant curator for Old World Archaeology at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum from 1993 to 1996. He held the Robert H. Dyson Endowed Chair of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1996 to 2003, when he joined the National Geographic Society.

Hiebert assisted in the 2004 inventory the hidden collections of the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul—including the “Bactrian Gold”—and is the curator of the exhibition “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul,” which will tour the United States from May 2008 until June 2009.

As National Geographic’s Archaeology Fellow, he brings the excitement of archaeology to the public through lectures, presentations, film and museum exhibits. Hiebert also holds research positions with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Institute for Nautical Archaeology and Robert Ballard’s Institute for Exploration. Hiebert received the Chairman’s Award from the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration in 1998.

Hiebert is also the director of the Ancient Cultures of Turkmenistan Project, sponsored by National Geographic in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan. The project focuses on the origins of village life and the development of cultural complexity in Central Asia from Neolithic origins through the medieval period. Additionally, he is working on the development of new sonar technology to be used in detecting submerged settlements and shipwrecks in lakes and seas around the world.

Hiebert is the author of “The Origins of Oasis Civilization in Central Asia” (1994), “A Central Asian Village at the Dawn of Civilization” (2004), co-author of “Qal’at al-Bahrain, a Trading and Military Outpost” (2006) and co-editor of the official catalogue of the exhibition “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul,” published by National Geographic Books (2008).

General Information

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Dr. Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic Archaeology Fellow

National Geographic
VP, Communications
Mimi Koumanelis
(202) 857-5814
[email protected]