Samuel Kramer, the emeritus Assyriology professor who pioneered the field of Sumerian archaeology, died of throat cancer at his Philadelphia home Monday. He was 93. Kramer received his doctorate from the University in 1929, joined the faculty in 1942, and served as a Clark Research Professor of Assyriology from 1948 to 1968. Since his retirement, he had continued to publish books and translate Sumerian texts around the globe. He often quoted one of his amusing findings -- a Sumerian proverb which read "You can have a lord, you can have a king, but the man to fear is the tax collector." Thokild Jacobsen, a Sumerologist at Harvard University, said Kramer "completely transformed, almost created" the field. University Physics Professor Michael Cohen, a friend of Kramer, echoed the praise, saying that "he actually made the field of Sumerology." Kramer wrote 30 books and numerous articles for both the general public and the academic world. His research showed that ancient Sumerians were not very different from people of today. He wrote about their arguments over land and business, their worries about their children and how to make money. Robert Dyson, director of the University Museum, said that Kramer "always radiated and was enthusiastic about his research." His wife, Mildred Kramer, said "I never knew anyone so dedicated, so committed, and so in love with his work as my husband. Our 57-and-a-half years together were rich, exciting, and dramatic due to this love." Kramer has donated his body to medical research. There will be a memorial service in the University Museum in January.Comments powered by Disqus
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