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Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations (NELC)


The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) engages in the interdisciplinary humanistic study and teaching of the cultures of the Near East (often called the Middle East) as they express themselves in languages and texts, including both written and oral sources, as well as art, architecture, archaeology and material culture. These cultures encompass the geographic region that stretches from North Africa through the eastern Mediterranean, Arabia and Iran.


NELC's programs focus on the civilizations of Mesopotamia/Iraq, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Syria, Arabia, Anatolia/Turkey and Persia/Iran. We teach Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, Egyptian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Persian and Turkish, and other languages of the region, from ancient through modern.






The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106; or (215) 898-6993 (Voice)


NELC People

  • Standing Faculty
  • Lecturers
  • Emeritus Faculty
  • Administration & Staff
  • Alumni

    See News & Events for...

    A talk by Zvi Lederman Director, Tel Beth Shemesh Expedition, Israel
    November 13, 2017 at 5;00PM in Classroom 2 of the Penn Museum

    Dr. Nili Gold's New Book: Haifa, City of Steps

    Dr. Frame honored to host 62nd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Annual Assyriological Conference) at PENN

    Josef Wegner and Jennifer Houser Wegner's new book "The Sphinx That Traveled to Philadelphia: The Story of the Colossal Sphinx in the Penn Museum"