Guillermo Algaze

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Guillermo Algaze
Born (1954-11-24) November 24, 1954 (age 62)
Havana, Cuba
Residence San Diego, California
Nationality Cuban
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Puerto Rico;
University of Chicago
Known for A 2003 MacArthur "Genius" Award.

Guillermo Algaze (born November 24, 1954) is a recipient of a 2003 MacArthur Award,[1] Algaze is a former chair of the anthropology department at University of California, San Diego, and project director of the Titris Hoyuk excavation in southern Turkey.[2][3][4]

Life and education[edit]

Algaze was born on November 24, 1954, in Havana, Cuba, and was raised in Puerto Rico. He graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in 1976. Algaze later moved to the continental United States, and became a citizen. In 1986, he earned his doctorate from the University of Chicago. He joined the University of California, San Diego faculty in 1990, he taught there as a professor for several years and currently serves as the chair of the anthropology department.[5]

Academic work[edit]

Algaze's archaeological interests have mostly been around Mesopotamian history and culture.[6][7] His work has contributed to a vast amount of information in relation to Mesopotamia.[8] In the 1990s, Algaze was a major proponent of an anthropological theory on the spread of civilisation from the Euphrates valley area and ancient Mesopotamia, arguing that colonial expansion from south to north (from the area that is currently southern Iraq) was responsible for the establishment of city-states in northern Iraq and Syria and southeastern Turkey. Following discoveries in the new millennium, Algaze says he has been "eating a lot of crow", acknowledging that evidence suggests societies in the northern area emerged simultaneously and independently of the Mesopotamian expansion.[4][9][10]

In 2003 he received the MacArthur Genius Award, for his work studying the imperialism and colonialism of ancient civilizations, particularly the Uruk expansion in ancient Mesopotamia.[5][11]

List of works[edit]


  1. ^ "Guillermo Algaze". MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ John Noble Wilford (May 25, 1993). "Trade or Colonialism? Ruins May Give Answer". New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b John Noble Wilford (May 23, 2000). "Ruins Alter Ideas Of How Civilisation Spread". New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b "$500,000 "GENIUS" AWARD GOES TO UCSD ANTHROPOLOGIST GUILLERMO ALGAZE". University of California, San Diego. October 5, 2003. 
  6. ^ Wilford, John (2005-12-16). "Where war was waged 5,500 years ago". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  7. ^ Akkermans 2003, p. 103
  8. ^ Matthews 2003, pp. 114-115
  9. ^ John Noble Wilford (January 4, 1994). "Enduring Mystery Solved as Tin Is Found in Turkey". New York Times. 
  10. ^ John Noble Wilford (January 21, 2007). "In Syria, ruins reveal early city's violent end: Archaeologists find Tell Hamoukar fell in 3500 B.C. battle". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  11. ^ Felicia R. Lee (October 5, 2003). "24 Win MacArthur 'Genius Awards' of $500,000". New York Times. 


  • Akkermans, Peter M. M. G.; Schwartz, Glenn M. (2003). The Archaeology of Syria: From Complex Hunter-Gatherers to Early Urban Societies (c. 16,000-300 BC). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-79666-0. 
  • Matthews, Roger (2003). The Archaeology of Mesopotamia: Theories and Approaches. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-25316-0.