Board of Directors


Dr. Roger Matthews

Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Reading (England)


Roger has a long history of collaborative engagement with countries of the Middle East, with in-depth involvement since his first fieldwork in Iraq in 1984 on the Eski Mosul Dam project. He gained his BA in Archaeology and Ancient History from the University of Manchester (1983) and an MPhil (1984) and PhD in Mesopotamian Archaeology (1990) from the University of Cambridge.

From 1986 to 1995 he served in Baghdad as Secretary-Librarian and Director of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq. In Iraq he directed excavations at the proto-historic site of Jemdet Nasr as well as working as Field Director at the Sumerian city of Abu Salabikh. From 1994 to 1996 he directed excavations at the massive archaeological site of Tell Brak in north-east Syria. As Director of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara he lived in Ankara in the years 1995 to 2001. In this role he directed a multi-period survey project, Project Paphlagonia, and encouraged and facilitated the research of a host of scholars from the UK and around the world. He also served as Field Director at the World Heritage site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey (1993-1996). In 2006 he became Chairman of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq in which role he oversaw its transition to the British Institute for the Study of Iraq until 2012.

His current research, co-directed with Dr Wendy Matthews (University of Reading), focuses on the Zagros Mountains region of western Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan, the Central Zagros Archaeological Project (CZAP). In this research they are investigating the early transition to farming life approximately 10,000 years ago.

Roger has been successful in securing major funding, winning a total of >£1.5m in grants for world-leading research through projects in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. He has won two awards within the British Academy International Partnership and Mobility scheme for knowledge transfer and skills exchange between the UK, Iraq and Iran. He has considerable experience in conducting peer-review of grant applications within the UK, EU, USA and around the world.

Roger was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 2007 and Corresponding Fellow of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in 2014. Since 2009 he has been Academic Editor of the distinguished journal Anatolian Studies. Since June 2016 he serves as President of RASHID International.

Roger speaks excellent Turkish, very good Iraqi Arabic and conversational Persian and Kurdish (Sorani).

See also:

Roger’s profile at the University of Reading



Dr. Simone Mühl, M.A.

Research Fellow, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (Germany)


Simone is Director of an Emmy Noether research group focusing on flight and migration patterns in Mesopotamia during the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC. As part of the project she has been carrying out excavations at Gird-i Shamlu and investigating the paleoenvironment and cultural history in the Shahrizor Plain (Sulaymaniyah and Halabjah Provinces) in Iraqi Kurdistan since 2009.

Simone studied Near Eastern Archaeology, Assyriology and Proto- and Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Heidelberg (Germany). In her PhD-thesis titled “History of Settlement in the central Trans-Tigris area – from the Neolithic to the Late Assyrian period” (published in 2013 in the series ‘Abhandlungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft’, volume 28) she analyzed sets of modern and declassified satellite images for ancient archaeological landscape features in the region of Ashur in modern Iraq and collected and investigated archaeological material from 7000 years of several sites in this region and beyond.

Shortly after the occupation of Mosul and adjacent regions in northern Iraq by the radical organization Daesh, Simone Muehl initiated a crowd information network on Facebook to collect information together with a wider public and raise awareness for the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq. In 2015 she became one of the founding members of RASHID International and directs digitalization and documentation projects within the organization.


See also:

Simone’s profile at Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich




Dr. Olivier Nieuwenhuijse

Assistant professor in Near Eastern Archaeology, Leiden University (Netherlands)


Olivier Nieuwenhuijse is guest staff member in Near Eastern archaeology. In addition Olivier works for the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (Aussenstelle Damaskus). He

previously worked as an assistant-curator for the department Near East at the National Museum of Antiquities Leiden, and publishes regularly for popular-scientific media. After completing his PhD in 2005 at Leiden University he has developed several research interests. Olivier is a leading specialist on the later prehistoric cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. In 2009 he co-organized the first international conference on interpreting the Late Neolithic of Upper Mesopotamia. He has specialized in the interpretation of prehistoric ceramics, with a special interest in the emergence of pottery in the ancient Near East. He is member of a project focused on the 7th millennium site of Shir (Northern Levant). He has also researched the archaeology of climate change. He conducted a post-doctoral study on the social and material repercussions of the 8.2 ka abrupt climate event in Mesopotamia, and published a book on the archaeology of climate change. Olivier has worked as a researcher in projects across the Middle East, carrying out fieldwork in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. In 2011 Olivier joined the Sharizor Survey Project, an international co-operation investigating long-term patterns of human settlement and land-use in the Sulaimaniya Province of Northern Iraq. Most recently he started work on the archaeological heritage of the ancient Near East. Olivier teaches on Near Eastern archaeology and various theoretical and thematic topics. He is a member of the Centre for Global Heritage and Development at Leiden University, Het Grote Midden Oosten Platform and Treasurer of Rashid International.

See also:

Olivier’s profile at Leiden University




Dr. Rafał Koliński

Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland)


Rafał studied archaeology and the Hittite language at the University of Warsaw, from which he graduated in 1998. Since 1999 he has taught Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology at the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań. Since 2005 he has been professor of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology.

In 1985 to 1986 he worked on the Eski Mosul Dam Salvage project (Tell Rijim and Nemrik 9) in Iraq. In 2003 he spent 10 weeks in Babylon (Camp Alpha) on invitation of CPA SE. In 2011 directed the Kelek Mishik Field School in Iraqi Kurdistan. Since 2012 he has been leading a major survey project in Iraqi Kurdistan: the Upper Greater Zab Archaeological Reconnaissance (to be finished in 2018).

His field experience includes fieldwork in Egypt, Syria, Cyprus and Bulgaria. His publication record includes two books and more than 50 scientific papers in journals and essay collections.


See also:

Rafał’s profile at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań