Hervé Reculeau

Assistant Professor of Assyriology

Ph.D. École Pratique des Hautes Études, 2006. Teaching at Chicago since 2015.

Special Interests

Akkadian Language, Syrian and Mesopotamian History, Old Babylonian, Amorite, Middle Assyrian, History of Climate, Environment and Landscape, History of Agriculture, Social and Economic History, Ancient Concepts of Space.

Hervé Reculeau is a historian of Syria and Mesopotamia in the second millennium BCE. His research centers on the environmental and social histories of the ancient Near East, with a particular focus on landscapes and the interaction between humans and their environment from the technical, historical, and socioeconomic points of view. Among his special interests are irrigation practices and devices, agricultural works and techniques, and the social settings of the Syrian and Upper Mesopotamian countryside, as well as their relationship to urban centers. He also investigates the human response to environmental change, and how ancient conceptions of space impacted the spatial strategies of sedentary and nomadic groups in Upper Mesopotamia. As an epigrapher, he is in charge of editing some of the cuneiform tablets discovered at the ancient cities of Mari (Syria) and Aššur (Iraq). Reculeau has authored several scholarly articles and books on these topics, and was awarded the 2013 Prix Saintour by the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, for his book Climate, Environment and Agriculture in Assyria in the 2nd Half of the 2nd Millennium BCE. 

An alumnus of the École Normale Supérieure in Fontenay/Saint-Cloud (France), Reculeau holds a B.A. and M.A. in ancient history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, as well as an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Assyriology from the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. Before joining the Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, he has taught Assyriology and conducted research at several institutions in France (the École Pratique des Hautes Études, the Collège de France, the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Germany (the Freie Universität Berlin and Excellence Cluster 264 - TOPOI: The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilisations), and Russia (the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow).



  • (2012) Mittelassyrische Urkunden aus dem Archiv Assur 14446, Keilschrifttexte aus mittelassyrischer Zeit 10, WVDOG 130, Wiesbaden (with B. Feller).
  • (2011) Climate, Environment and Agriculture in Assyria in the 2nd Half of the 2nd Millennium BCE, Studia Chaburensia 2, Wiesbaden.


  • (2015) Middle Assyrian Agrarian Management in the West in the Light of its Forerunners, in B.S. Düring (ed.), Understanding Hegemonic Practices of the Early
  • Assyrian Empire. Essays dedicated to Frans Wiggermann, PIHANS 125, Leiden, pp.199-219.
  • (2010) Périphérique ou local? Le vocabulaire des paysages de la vallée de l’Euphrate auIIe millénaire av. n. è., Babel und Bibel 3 [= CRRAI 53], Moscow, pp. 505-520.(2010) Über den Beitrag der historischen Geographie zum Verständnis der Sesshaftigkeitam Beispiel des Mittleren Euphrat-Raumes im 2. Jt. v.Chr., in E. Cancik-Kirschbaum &N. Ziegler (ed.), Entre les Fleuves I. Untersuchungen zur historischen GeographieObermesopotamiens im 2. Jahrtausend, BBVO 20, Gladbeck, pp. 303-322.
  • (2009) Le point sur la “plante à huile”: réflexions sur la culture du sésame en Syrie-Mésopotamie à l’âge du Bronze, Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes 13, pp. 13-37.(2008) Tell Hariri/Mari: Textes. V. Environnement et occupation de l’espace. II. Lessédentaires, Supplément au Dictionnaire de la Bible XIV (fasc. 77-78), Paris, col. 324-356.
  • (2008) Late Bronze Age Rural Landscapes of the Euphrates according to the Emar Texts,in L. d’Alfonso, Y. Cohen & D. Sürenhagen (ed.), The City of Emar among the LateBronze Age Empires. History, Landscape, and Society. Proceedings of the KonstanzEmar Conference, 25.–26.04. 2006, AOAT 349, Münster, pp. 129-140.
  • (2002) Lever d’astres et calendrier agricole à Mari, in J.-M. Durand & D. Charpin (ed.),Recueil d’études à la mémoire d’André Parrot, FM VI, Mémoires de N.A.B.U. 7, Paris,pp. 517-538.