NORBERT V. KARG
[Dr. Norbert Karg, instructor at
Bilkent since 1995, died in Ankara on 19 October 2001.
The following remarks were read in part at a memorial
ceremony held at Bilkent a few weeks later.]
Viktor Karg, brilliant scholar and archaeologist of the Ancient
Near East, lively teacher and colleague, witty friend, was a
perfectionist whose eclectic interests enlarged the horizons of
those around him. His death came as a devastating shock to the department, and
leaves a void that cannot be filled.
Dr. Karg was born in Hassfurt am
Main, on November 27, 1954 -- a proud Bavarian, always
delighting in the historical and cultural impact of his
homeland. After early schooling and military service in the artillery,
he moved to southern Bavaria, to study Assyriology and Near
Eastern Archaeology at the University of Munich. He was awarded his doctorate summa cum laude in
with a dissertation on Early Sumerian Glyptic Art that was
published the following year (Untersuchungen zur älteren Frühdynas-tischen
Glyptik Babyloniens, Mainz: Ph. von Zabern, 1984). It was during the Munich years that he
exceptional foundation in ancient languages -- and that he first
participated in excavations in northern Iraq, and in
southeastern Turkey. Thus
the molds for his life's passions were cast during his
university days: seal iconography, ancient languages of the Near
East and beyond, fieldwork,
and the modern Middle East.
Then began a decade when, thanks to travelling
fellowships awarded by the German Archaeological Institute, he
acquired a deep familiarity with the ancient world he studied,
and with its successors: from Italy to Iraq, Turkey to Egypt,
Pakistan and India to the Karakoram Highway. He also was appointed during this period to
a 5-year research assistantship at KAVA, the Department for
General and Comparative Aspects of Archaeology, in Bonn. This
took him far afield -- as he would gleefully point out -- to
excavations on early historical sites in Sri Lanka, and the
publication of a much-cited study of Sri Lankan 14th-century AD
pottery. He also
published scholarly entries in the bible of ancient Near Eastern
studies, the Reallexikon der Assyriologie.
Another travelling fellowship
brought him back to Turkey from 1994 to 1995, to carry out
research on Hittite Cilicia, ancient Kizzuwatna.
This led to his teaching appointment at Bilkent in Fall
1995, where he was to offer courses in Anatolian and Near
Eastern archaeology, and the Akkadian language, at both the
under-graduate and graduate levels. During the 1990s, he participated in the UCLA archaeo-logical
surveys in Maraş, and in Bilkent's Kinet Höyük
project. In 1998,
he started his own excavations near Batman, where he hoped to
combine his expertise on the Assyrians with his love for eastern
Turkey. He was at
his site, Gre Dimse, until two months before his death.
All of us here -- students and
colleagues -- had hoped that our association with this
remarkable scholar and warm friend would last much longer than 6
years. But even in that short time, he left his stamp on all of us.
His family most generously donated his large, specialized
book collection -- over 6,000 volumes -- to Bilkent's library,
so that his colleagues and students will continue to benefit
from his books. They
will preserve the memory of his presence here, but will not heal
our great sorrow at his passing.
(photo: Sibel Torpil 2001)
Newsletter No. 1
- 2002, Pg. 19