Georgina Herrmann

1996 Laureate, Cultural Heritage
United Kingdom, Born 1937

Project Goal

Explore the central Asian Silk Road caravan city of Merv

Location: Turkmenistan

Although she always swore to never direct an archaeological dig, Georgina Herrmann couldn't resist when offered the opportunity to explore the ancient cities of Merv.

Georgina Herrmann’s journey from being a British Foreign Office secretary in Iran in the late 1950s to earning a doctoral degree from Oxford University, to becoming Reader in Western Asiatic Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, was a long but rewarding one.

Her scholarly voyage eventually brought her to Turkmenistan and Merv, the series of medieval settlements that Herrmann and her multi-national team explored and documented over a period of 10 years.

She credits her 1996 Rolex Award for transforming the project. The funding and publicity led to UNESCO’s designation of Merv as a World Heritage Site and helped finance the detailed mapping of this Silk Road city, among other projects.

Now retired, Herrmann, born in 1937, remains involved in Central Asia, writing articles on the region — one for the Oxford Handbook for Archaeology — and books, including the recently completed fourth volume on first-millennium BC Assyrian ivories. 

Other 1996 Laureates