Dr. Robert Raymond Cargill is a biblical studies scholar, classicist, archaeologist, author, and digital humanist at The University of Iowa. His research includes study in the Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, literary criticism of the Bible and the Pseudepigrapha, and the Ancient Near East. He has appeared as an expert on numerous television documentaries and specials and is an advocate for public higher education.
Dr. Robert R. Cargill was born in Van Nuys, California to Leonard and Sharon Cargill (née Costales) on February 22, 1973 (Pisces, Ox). He is of Spanish descent on his mother's side, and Italian on his father's side, with the Cargill name being of Scottish origin. His family soon relocated to Madera, California, a small farm town in central California that he called home for 15 years. Dr. Cargill has experienced every level of public education in California. He attended John Adams Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Junior High, and Madera High School. At age 17, his family moved to nearby Fresno, California, where he graduated from Bullard High School. He turned down undergraduate admission offers to attend UC Berkeley, USC, and Pepperdine, choosing instead to attend local community college. By working the graveyard shift at a local Walgreens, he put himself through Fresno City College, where he earned his A.A. degree and won a state championship in 1992 as a catcher with the baseball team. He then transferred to California State University, Fresno, where he followed a pre-medical curriculum and earned a B.S. degree in Human Physiology.
Dr. Cargill then accepted the J.P. Sanders Scholarship to attend Pepperdine University, where he earned his seminary degree, the Master of Divinity. While at Pepperdine, he began studying archaeology and Middle Eastern culture and politics under Dr. Randall Chesnutt and Dr. John F. Wilson. Also while at Pepperdine, he experienced the birth of his daughter, Talitha Joy. He returned to Pepperdine in 2002 and taught courses in Hebrew Bible and New Testament at Pepperdine University. In 2004, Dr. Cargill was hired by Academy Award winning actress Nicole Kidman to teach her history and religion of the Middle East. He then accepted a fellowship to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, and earned his Ph.D. studying under Dr. William Schniedewind in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, emphasizing Second-Temple period archaeology and biblical studies. His dissertation work focused on the archaeological remains of Khirbet Qumran, the site associated with the composition of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Dr. Cargill has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Central and South America, and the Middle East. He began his archaeological career in 1999 as a Square Supervisor in the excavations at Banias (Golan Heights) with Dr. Vassilios Tzaferis and Dr. John F. Wilson. The next year he served as Area Supervisor at Banias. In 2004, he began work as a Square Supervisor for the excavations at the nearby site of Omrit, Israel with Dr. Andy Overman. Most recently, Dr. Cargill participated in the excavations at Hatzor, Israel in 2006 with Dr. Amnon Ben-Tor.
Dr. Cargill is Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at The University of Iowa with an emphasis on the Digital Humanities. He previously taught at Pepperdine University, Azusa Pacific University, Portland State University, and UCLA. He formerly served as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities, and as Chief Architect and Designer of the Qumran Visualization Project, a real-time virtual reconstruction of the site of Qumran.
Dr. Cargill's first book, "Qumran through (Real) Time: A Virtual Reconstruction of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls," examines the settlement of Khirbet Qumran using new technological approaches in the Digital Humanities including digital archaeological reconstruction and virtual reality. Dr. Cargill has appeared as an expert on numerous documentaries and television shows, and regularly lectures on topics concerning history, archaeology, biblical studies, the Dead Sea Scrolls, religious sects in the Roman period, and linguistic ideology.
Dr. Cargill is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, American Schools of Oriental Research, Israel Exploration Society, Association for Jewish Studies, and the Archaeological Institute of America, among others. He is also involved in intellectual, social, and environmental organizations including American Mensa, the American Humanist Association, the National Geographic Society, Global Green USA, Ducks Unlimited, the Sierra Club, the Santa Monica Mountain Trails Council, and is a supporter of NPR.
Dr. Cargill was married to his partner, Roslyn, on March 20, 2010. He has a daughter, Talitha, and a son, MacLaren, and resides in Iowa City, IA. He spends much of his spare time reading, blogging, and hiking.
©2001-2010 Robert R. Cargill