Professor Fanie Vermaak

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Fanie Vermaak is a professor in Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of South Africa. With an initial background in theological studies (also ordained minister of the Dutch Reformed Church) he focuses on various cultural activities in the Ancient Near East, specializing in Sumerian and Egyptology.

Prof Fanie (P S) Vermaak studied Theology and various Semitic Languages at the Universities of the Free State (Bloemfontein) and Stellenbosch, South Africa. He specialized (PhD) in the cuneiform (Sumerian) studies of the Ur III period (2100-2000 BC) on the activities of the temple administrators of Southern Mesopotamia and published also extensively in this regard. He extended further studies with the various ancient gateways of the Near East towards also the outside world so far as the Indus Valley.

Current research focuses mainly on the Persian cultural activities in ancient Egypt in order to determine the exact nature of the Persian (Archaemenid) period from the sixth to the fourth period BC with a main interest in Darius I. These activities include the Qanat water systems in Egypt, the 40-days road to Africa, the temple of Hibis in the Kharga Oasis and other archaeological sites in the western desert of Egypt.

He travelled extensively through the Middle East and guided various postgraduate student groups to the archaeological sites in the Middle East mainly in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

He is also the chairperson of the Ancient Egypt and Near Eastern Society (AENES) who is responsible for the monthly evening lectures for the public sector (15 years). He served eight years on the national academic society called Southern African Society for Near Eastern Society. He is a founding member of International Society of Cuneiform Studies. Fanie often acts as a Middle East analyst on various media and has a special interest in the ancient and modern Near East or Middle East.

Fanie has an extensive interest in ancient and modern sports and also wrote an entire thesis on ancient Egyptian sports and extended it later to sport activities in Mesopotamia and the Middle East. He has participated in wrestling for more than 50 years, of which 15 years on an international level, and was captain of the Southern African Wrestling Team. Currently he assists youths to develop to an international level and leads various wrestling tours abroad.

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