John Curtis has been Keeper of the Department of Middle East at the British Museum since 1989. He is primarily interested in the archaeology and history of Iraq and Iran circa 1000-330 BC. Between 1983 and 1989, he directed excavations on behalf of the British Museum at eight different sites in Iraq, including Nimrud and Balawat. Since becoming Keeper, he has overseen the installation of six new permanent galleries at the British Museum. He has also curated the travelling exhibition Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum that has been sent to many venues worldwide, as well as the special exhibition Forgotten Empire: the World of Ancient Persia at the British Museum September 2005-June 2006, which attracted over 150,000 visitors. He has written or edited 14 books and more than 100 articles. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003, and awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2006. He is currently very involved in trying to protect the cultural heritage of Iraq.
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