Professor Benjamin Porter (AHMA, Near Eastern Studies) has been named as the new Acting Director of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at Berkeley. Benjamin was previously the Curator of Near Eastern Archaeology at the Hearst Museum.
The museum is currently undergoing major renovations and is closed to visitors, but is scheduled to re-open in 2016. For news on that front, check the museum's "What's Ahead" page. Professor Porter himself has also posted a "From the Desk" report with a number of exciting announcements about ongoing and future developments at the museum.
From the announcement by Christopher McKee, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research:
"Porter is a Near Eastern anthropological archaeologist who investigates how past Middle Eastern and Mediterranean societies built resilient communities and institutions in arid and semi-arid zones. His 2013 book Complex Communities: The Archaeology of Early Iron Age West-Central Jordan won the American Schools of Oriental Research’s G. Ernest Wright Book award for best book of the year. He directs excavations at two major archaeological sites in Jordan, Dhiban and Busayra, the ancient capitals of the Moabites and Edomites, respectively. Porter also co-directs a museum anthropology project at the Hearst Museum that investigates evidence from Peter B. Cornwall’s archaeological expedition to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in the 1940s. Porter has conducted collections research in museums throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East during the past 15 years. He worked in various capacities at the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology between 1998 and 2007 while earning his doctorate in Anthropology. He continues to interact with the Penn Museum as a Fellow of the Louis J. Kolb Society. The National Science Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Max van Berchem Foundation, the American Center of Oriental Research, and the United States Agency for International Development-Jordan have funded Porter’s research. Porter is also a founding board member of the Institute for Field Research, a non-profit educational organization that supports rigorous archaeological field schools.
Dr. Porter brings new breadth and enthusiasm to the oversight of its vast collection and research and teaching programs."