[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.]

Norbert 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 1983, 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 acquired an 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.

Marie-Henriette Gates

(photo: Sibel Torpil 2001)











Newsletter No. 1 - 2002, Pg. 19

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