Eric H. Cline

Eric Cline

Eric H. Cline

Professor of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and of Anthropology; Director of the GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute


Email: Eric H. Cline
Office Phone: (202) 994-0316
801 22nd St NW Washington, DC DC 20052

Dr. Eric H. Cline is Professor of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Anthropology, the former Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and the current Director of the GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute. He is a National Geographic Explorer, a Fulbright scholar, an NEH Public Scholar, a Getty Scholar, and an award-winning teacher and author. In May 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree (honoris causa) from Muhlenberg College.


An archaeologist and ancient historian by training, Dr. Cline’s primary fields of study are biblical archaeology, the military history of the Mediterranean world from antiquity to present, and the international connections between Greece, Egypt, and the Near East during the Late Bronze Age (1700-1100 BCE). He is an experienced and active field archaeologist, with more than 30 seasons of excavation and survey to his credit since 1980 in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, Crete, and the United States. He is perhaps best known for his work on collapse and resilience in the ancient world, specifically at the end of the second millennium BCE and the early first millennium BCE in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, epitomized by the best-selling 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Princeton 2014; revised edition 2021).

Dr. Cline is an active field archaeologist, with more than 30 seasons of excavation and survey experience in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, Crete, and the United States. He is a former co-director at Megiddo (biblical Armageddon), where he dug from 1994 through 2014, and is currently co-directing (since 2005) the excavations at Tel Kabri in northern Israel, site of a 4,000-year-old Canaanite palace, where they have discovered the remains of the oldest and largest wine cellar so far known from the ancient Near East.

He has presented approximately 450 scholarly and public lectures and presentations on his work to a wide variety of audiences both nationally and internationally, including at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Explorers Club in New York, the Getty Villa and Skirball Museum in Los Angeles, and at more than 70 colleges and universities.

He is perhaps best known for his work on collapse and resilience in the ancient world, particularly for his book 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed, which is an international best-seller, with approximately 250,000 copies sold worldwide to date. First published in 2014, it was considered for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize (though it was not chosen) and has been translated into a total of sixteen different languages; an updated and revised version was published in February 2021. One of the lectures that he has given on the topic has been viewed more than six million times on YouTube since 2016, with nearly 10,000 comments posted (; another has been seen almost 3.5 million times, with nearly 4,000 comments posted ( His most recent edited volume, Excavations at Tel Kabri: The 2013-2019 Seasons, has just been published by Brill in December 2023; as the title indicates, it presents the results of the most recent field seasons at his Tel Kabri excavations in Israel. Prior to that, in March 2020, his behind-the-scenes account of Chicago’s excavations at Megiddo in the 1920s and 1930s was published as Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon. Another recent book is Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology, which was published in March 2017 and has been translated into five languages so far; a smaller spinoff, entitled Digging Deeper: How Archaeology Works, was published in November 2020. He will be publishing two more volumes with Princeton University Press in April 2024: one is a sequel volume entitled After 1177: The Survival of Civilizations and the other is a graphic adaptation of the original 1177 BC book, created with artist Glynnis Fawkes.

Honorary Doctoral Degree (honoris causa), Muhlenberg College, 2015

Ph.D., Ancient History, University of Pennsylvania, 1991

M.A., Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, Yale University, 1984

A.B., Classical Archaeology modified by Anthropology, Dartmouth College, 1982

A prolific researcher and author with twenty books and more than 130 articles and book reviews to his credit, Dr. Cline is perhaps best known for writing books such as Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: International Trade and the Late Bronze Age Aegean (1994, republished in 2009); The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age (2000); Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel (2004); From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible (2007; republished as a Kindle edition with a new Afterword in 2012); Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (2009); The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction (2013); 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed (2014; revised edition 2021); Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology (2017); and, most recently, Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon (2020). 

In addition, he edited the handbook entitled The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean (2010); co-authored Ancient Empires and The Ahhiyawa Texts, both of which appeared in 2011; co-edited a volume entitled Ramesses III (2012); and The Social Archaeology of the Levant (2019). He has also previously published co-edited volumes on Amenhotep III (1998) and Thutmose III (2006), as well as a conference volume, The Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium (1998). 

His books have been translated, or are currently being translated, into nineteen languages to date, including French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Serbian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Russian, Polish, Greek, and Arabic. 

In addition, he has recorded an introductory course on archaeology which was released in June 2016 by The Teaching Company/Great Courses, entitled Archaeology: An Introduction to the World's Greatest Sites, as well as three courses for Modern Scholar/Recorded Books which are now available as downloads through A History of Ancient Israel: From the Patriarchs Through the Romans (March 2007); A History of Ancient Greece: From the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic Age (March 2007); and Archaeology and the Iliad: The Trojan War in Homer and History (January 2006). 

He also received acclaim for his 2007 op-ed in the Boston Globe, a diatribe against pseudo-archaeology, which was republished numerous places, including online by Archaeology magazine. Read the original here.

Click here for access to webpage

In July 2020, Professor Cline was named a Getty scholar for the 2020-21 year, but took up the fellowship in Fall 2021. In July 2015, Professor Cline was named a member of the inaugural class of NEH Public Scholars, receiving the award for his book project entitled Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomonwhich was published in Spring 2020 by Princeton University Press. In May 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree (honoris causa) from Muhlenberg College. He also won the national "Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award" from the Archaeological Institute of America in 2005 and a Service Award from the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR) in 2016.

At GW, Professor Cline has won the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence (2012) as well as the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Faculty Scholarship (2011); he is the first faculty member at GW to have won both awards. In addition, previously he won the GW Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Departmental Advising in 2006; the GW Morton A. Bender Teaching Award in 2004; and has been nominated three times for US CASE Professor of the Year (2008, 2009, and 2012). 

In 2018, his book Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology received the “Nancy Lapp Best Popular Book Award from the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR). In 2014, his book 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed received the same award and was also submitted for consideration for a Pulitzer Prize (although it did not win). In 2019, his co-edited volume The Social Archaeology of the Levant won the “G. Ernest Wright Award” from the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR). Three of his previous books have won the Biblical Archaeology Society's "Best Popular Book on Archaeology" award (2001, 2009, and 2011). His books have also been featured as a Main Selection of the Natural Science Book Club, a Main Selection of the Discovery Channel Book Club, a USA Today 'Books for Your Brain' Selection, and selected by the AAUP for Public and Secondary School Libraries.


Dr. Cline currently teaches a wide variety of courses, including History of Ancient Greece; History of Egypt and the Ancient Near East; History of Ancient Israel; Introduction to Archaeology; Archaeology of Israel and Neighboring Lands; Art and Archaeology of the Aegean Bronze Age; Rise of Old World Cities and States; Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; and various smaller Honors and Freshmen Seminars on topics such as History and Homer, Troy and the Trojan War, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jerusalem through the Ages, and Archaeology, Politics, and Nationalism. 

He has also served as the advisor to the undergraduate archaeology majors at GW for the past decade and has overseen the graduation of more than 220 majors since 2001, with nearly half going on to leading graduate schools in archaeology and related fields, including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, and University College London.

Articles and Interviews in the Popular Media

Dr. Cline has appeared in more than 40 television programs and documentaries, ranging from ABC (including Nightline and Good Morning America) and HBO/Max to the BBC and the National Geographic, History, Discovery, and Travel Channels. He has also been interviewed on NPR and by numerous podcasts.

His research has been featured and reviewed in Time magazine, the New Yorker, Washington Post, New York Times, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Globe, US News & World Report, USA Today, Wine Spectator, National Republic, Weekly Standard, Huffington Post, National Geographic News, Times Literary Supplement, Times Higher Education Supplement, Jerusalem Post, the London Daily Telegraph, London Mirror, Brisbane Courier-Mail, Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati Post, the Associated Press, and elsewhere.


GWU Responsibilities:

Director, GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute; April 2010-present

Chair, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; 1 July 2004-30 June 2014

Undergraduate Advisor: Archaeology Majors (Fall 2001-present); >200 graduated (2002-2022)

Faculty Senate; May 2016-May 2018

CCAS Undergraduate Studies Committee (elected); 2012-2015; Chair: 2013-14; reappointed and then re-elected Spring 2018-Fall 2018 (Chair)

Academy of Distinguished Teachers; Steering Committee, Sept 2014-Nov 2017; member 2014-present

CCAS Dean’s Council (elected); 2006-2009 (Vice-Chair, 2007-2009)

CCAS Research Advisory Council (elected); 2005-2006

University Committee on Research (appointed); 2005-2006

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) Bylaws Revision Committee; 2004-2005

CCAS Student Appeals Committee (elected); 2002-2005; Chair: 2004-2005



Series Editor, “Unearthing the Past” book series, Princeton University Press; Sept 2020-present

Editorial Board, The International Journal of Prehistory; 2022-present

Area Editor, Oxford Classical Dictionary (5th edition); December 2014-present

Editorial Board, Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies; 2012-present

Co-editor, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research; w/ C. Rollston; 2014-2020

Editorial Board, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry; 2008-2011

Editorial Board and Digital Web sub-committee, Near Eastern Archaeology; 2008-2011

Archaeology Advisory Board, National Geographic; 2007-2010



American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR)

                        Board of Trustees (elected): 2002-2006; 2008-2010 (VP in 2007); 2023-present

Committee on Archaeological Research and Policy (CAP): 2003-2011

Nominations Committee: 2004-2011

Vice-President (Programs): February-December 2007

Vice-President (Governance): May 2006-February 2007

Executive Committee: 2004-2007

Development Committee: 2006-2007

                        Committee on the Annual Meeting and Program (CAMP): Chair, 2004-2006

Committee on Publishing Unprovenanced Cuneiform Texts from Iraq: 2004-2006

Academic Master Planning Committee: 2004-2006

                        Program Committee: Chair, 2001-2003; Member, 1998-2003; Ex Officio, 2004-2007

Committee on Publications (COP): 1997-2002

W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research

Treasurer: November 2021-present

Board of Trustees (elected): November 2020-present

Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)

                        Nominations Committee (elected): January 2021-2023

Washington DC Society: Co-President, 2019-2021; Interim President, Fall 2017; Liaison to the

National AIA, 2011-2018; Vice-President, 2006-2007; Board of Governors, 2003-2006,

2008-2011, 2018-present

                        Near Eastern Archaeology Interest Group: 2000-present

McDonald Lecturer: 2019-2020

Norton Lecturer: 2018-2019

Lecture Program Committee: 2009-2015

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award Selection Committee: 2005-2012

Matson and La Follette Lecturer: 2008-2009

Kantor Lecturer: 2006-2007

                        Society Trustee, elected: 2001-2002

                        Professional Responsibilities Committee: 2001-2002


American School of Classical Studies in Athens (ASCSA)

                        GWU Representative to the Managing Committee: 2023- present