Schmidt, Erich Friedrich, 1897-1964

Alternative names
Birth 1897-09-13
Death 1964-10-03

Biographical notes:

Excavation at Fara, initiated by German excavators between 1902 and 1903, was resumed in 1931 by Erich Schmidt, an archaeologist working under the aegis of the University Museum. Since the Museum’s participation was limited to one season which took place between February 15 and May 19, the records pertaining to this excavation are not numerous. It is a fortunate circumstance that Schmidt listed (letter of May 25, 1931 to H. Jayne) exactly what types of records were generated. A confusing aspect of this collection is that Fara was excavated with funds appropriated by the Joint Persian Expedition for the proposed excavation in Iran (Tepe Hissar) also headed by Schmidt. Most Fara records are contained here, although some may be with the records for the Citadel at Damghan (Tureng Tepe), and Tepe Hissar. However, the excavation at Fara occurred before those at these other sites, and therefore the records were already, for the most part, separate.

From the guide to the Fara, Iraq expedition records, Bulk, 1930-1931, 1930-1972, (University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives)


Schmidt conducted surveys and field work in Arizona funded by Ogden Mills on behalf of the American Museum of Natural History.

From the description of Papers, 1925-1929. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155511981

Archaeologist Erich F. Schmidt was born in Germany in 1897. He studied political science at Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin after serving in the German army in World War I. In 1923, Schmidt came to the United States, completing a Ph.D at Columbia University in 1929. While at Columbia, Schmidt joined the staff of the American Museum of Natural History. Schmidt’s position with the museum introduced him to William B. and Gertrude H. Thompson, who were to become his long-term benefactors, and to Fiske Kimball, Director of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, which co-sponsored the Damghan Project. Schmidt became professor, and eventually professor emeritus, at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. At the time of his death in 1964, Dr. Schmidt was writing the third volume in a series on Persepolis.

After the completion of one season of work (February-May, 1931) at Fara in Southern Iraq (c.f. Near East/Iraq/Fara), Erich F. Schmidt directed excavations at Tepe Hissar, a site located near Damghan on the Northeast Central Iranian Plateau. The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Museum of Art in Philadelphia (now the Philadelphia Museum of Art) collaborated on this expedition during June, 1931-February, 1933 due to the proximity of Islamic period sites to the prehistoric mounds of Tepe Hissar. The American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology contributed funds for the second season. Although limited, excavations were undertaken at other sites in the Damghan area: the Damghan Citadel, Tepe Muman, Tari(kh) Khaneh, Nareshan and Shir-i-Shian. Primarily, the excavators worked at Tepe Hissar, focusing on the site of the Sassanian Building and the prehistoric mounds, which dated from the mid-5th to 2nd millennium BCE. After the second field season, the expedition staff went on a reconnaissance trip traveling through Luristan, Fara and other provinces in Iran.

From the guide to the Erich F. Schmidt excavation records from Tepe Hissar, Iran, Bulk, 1931-1932, 1929-1944, (University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives)


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  • Scientific expeditions
  • Antiquities--Collection and preservation
  • Iran--Antiquities
  • Indians of North America--Dwellings
  • Indians of North America--Antiquities
  • Anthropology
  • Indians of North America
  • Excavations (Archaeology)--Iran
  • Ethnological museums and collections
  • Earthworks (Archaeology)
  • Archaeological expeditions
  • Pueblos
  • Antiquities
  • Archaeology--Burials
  • Anthropological museums and collections
  • Archaeology--Field work
  • Mounds
  • Archaeological museums and collections
  • Excavations (Archaeology)
  • Archaeology--Architecture, ancient
  • Damghan (Iran)--Antiquities


  • Archaeologists


  • Alishar (Turkey) (as recorded)
  • Persepolis (Iran) (as recorded)
  • Tepe Hisar (Iran) (as recorded)
  • Togetzoge Pueblo (Ariz.) (as recorded)
  • Fara (Iraq) (as recorded)
  • Damghan (Iran) (as recorded)
  • Turkey (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • Turkey--Alishar (as recorded)
  • Arizona (as recorded)
  • Persepolis (Iran) (as recorded)
  • Iran--Persepolis (as recorded)
  • Fara (archaeological site) (as recorded)
  • Iran--Tepe Hissar (as recorded)
  • Southwestern States (as recorded)