The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is one of the premier research institutes of near eastern languages and civilizations, and one of the few places left in America where you can study Egyptology, Assyriology and cuneiform studies, and Hittitology. Current projects include the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, the Chicago Demotic Dictionary project, the Chicago Hittite Dictionary, and the current excavations at Tel Hamoukkar in Syria, which may prove to unearth some of the oldest city walls and organized settlements in the Middle East. Other work proceeds in catalogueing older finds, Egyptian magic, Islamic archaeology, and scores of others. They are rather weak on Egyptian archaeology, though.

The adjacent museum contains several decent collections from all over the middle east, though only a small fraction of the objects in the collection are on display.

It was founded as part of the University in the early part of this century by one Prof. James Henry Breasted, an Egyptologist trained in Berlin, who wrote his dissertation on the Amarna period, as the first real department of Oriental (sic: the 19th century, British definition) languages and cultures in the United States.

It was the institute which George Lucas was thinking of when he gave Indiana Jones an undergraduate degree from the University in archaeology.

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