Three Intersecting Lives

Hermann Vollrath Hilprecht

Hermann Vollrath Hilprecht (1859-1925) was called “the Columbus of archaeology.” Trained in Germany, he was Professor of Assyriology at Penn (1886-1910). From a base in Constantinople, he oversaw Penn’s excavations at Nippur, while acquiring antiquities for the Penn Museum, negotiating permits, and cataloging cuneiform materials for Osman Hamdi Bey’s museum.  Ultimately a victim of his own self-aggrandizement, he was accused of academic dishonesty and resigned in disgrace in 1910.