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Department of Archaeology



My interest in Assyriology began with passions for the languages and writing systems of the ancient Near East, which I developed during my prior degrees in Biblical Studies. I completed my PhD in Assyriology at Harvard University with a dissertation supervised by Piotr Steinkeller on the social stratification of the Ur III period. My ongoing research is focused on the socioeconomic history of the Ur III period and its broader historical context.


I work mainly on the socioeconomic history of the Ur III period, especially its social stratification. My work relies heavily on prosopography, so I have tabulated over 20,000 attestations of over 15,000 disambiguated individuals in Ur III administrative and legal texts. While I present various individuals as case studies, I generally focus on large datasets relating to the employment arrangements and incomes of much of the population of key locations. In order to contextualize my analysis of these socioeconomic data, I also address the history of scholarship on Ur III social stratification, especially Soviet scholarship, which I often critique. In addition to socioeconomic history, I am interested in epigraphy as well as political ideology, particularly in literary works.

Key Publications

Key publications: 

In Progress (In Descending Order of Completion)

Social Stratification in Southern Mesopotamia during the Third Dynasty of Ur (2112–2003 BCE).


Unpublished Ur III Texts Kept at the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East.



Pottorf, Andrew, and Andrew A. N. Deloucas. “The Groton School Cuneiform-Text Collection.” CDLJ.


Published (* Peer Reviewed)

Pottorf, Andrew Richard. 2022. “Social Stratification in Southern Mesopotamia during the Third Dynasty of Ur (ca. 2100–2000 BCE).” PhD diss., Harvard University.


* Pottorf, Andrew R. 2017. “A Regional Analysis of Epigraphic Data from Philistine Sites during the Eighth and Seventh Centuries BCE.” Pages 173–204 in Proceedings of the Twelfth Mainz International Colloquium on Ancient Hebrew (MICAH) and Cognate Languages, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, 2015. Edited by Reinhard G. Lehmann, Kwang Cheol Park, and Anna Elise Zernecke. KUSATU 22. Kamen: Spenner

Teaching and Supervisions


At the University of Cambridge, I mainly teach Akkadian. I have also taught Biblical Hebrew at Boston College as well as Akkadian and Sumerian at Harvard University.

Other Professional Activities

Recent Presentations


“Feeding the Multitude: The Distribution of Barley through Allotments and Wages as well as through Subsistence and Tenant Lands during the Ur III Period,” ASOR Annual Meeting 2023 (Chicago).


“From the Ground Up: The Foundational Role of the Land-Tenure System for Social Stratification in Southern Mesopotamia during the Ur III Period,” 16th Melammu Symposium (Freie Universität Berlin).


“Adding It All Up: A Synthesis of Accounting Data from Ur III Umma,” 68th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Leiden University).


“The Lives and Work of the Serflike un-il2 in the Ur III Period,” 68th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Leiden University).



“Administrative Notations and Terms Recording Conscripted Work during the Ur III Period,” ASOR Annual Meeting 2022 (Boston [online and in-person]).


“Who’s Who in the Ur III Period? Utilizing a Tabular Dataset for Prosopographical Analyses of Umma and other Significant Ur III Locations,” 66th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz).



“Tabulating Ur III Populations: A Prosopographical Approach to Socioeconomic History in the Twenty-First Century BCE,” Methodologies in Egyptology and Mesopotamian Studies Workshop (Harvard University).


“What Has Moscow to Do with Ur? The Impact of Soviet Scholarship on the Study of the Ur III Period,” 2nd Graduate Symposium in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Harvard University)

Job Titles

Teaching Associate in Assyriology
Dr Andrew Pottorf

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Socio-Politics of the Past
Assyriology and Mesopotamian Languages
Epigraphy & Paleography


Assyriology and Mesopotamian Archaeology
Geographical areas: 
Mesopotamia and the Near East
Periods of interest: 
Copper/Bronze Age
Iron Age