Salam Al Kuntar Archaeologist


Salam Al Quntar is a Syrian archaeologist.  She has been selected as one of 2015’s  National Geographic Emerging explorers. She is involved in the institution’s fight to save ancient monuments and museum collections in the midst of a war zone.

She received her diploma in Archaeology and Museums from Damascus University(1995), her MA in Archaeology from the University of Liverpool(2004), and her PhD in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge (2009)

She has worked with the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria in a number of capacities from 1996-2012. Salam has excavated at numerous sites in Syria and has been the Co-Director of the Tell Hamoukar Expedition from 2005 to the present.

Salam is currently a research scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World of New York University. Her research interests centre on the archaeology and heritage of the Middle East exploring a wide variety of themes such as ancient economy and urbanism, human mobility and cultural boundaries, forced migration, cultural heritage and identity. Her publications include scholarly articles and chapter contributions on early urbanism in Mesopotamia, and on the excavations at Hamoukar, as well as analyses of current struggles in cultural heritage.

She is also a consulting scholar at the Penn Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. She co-directs the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Initiative— a project run by the Penn Cultural Heritage Centre, the Smithsonian Institute, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and The Day After organization.

LANGUAGES:  English and Arabic

BASED IN:  Philadelphia, USA


ISIS’ Antiquities Sideline, September 2014

Syrian Cultural Property in the Crossfire: Reality and Effectiveness of Protection Efforts, 2013


Syria’s Ancient Heritage Sites Constantly Under Threat, NPR, 2014