Fredrik Hiebert



Lonely woman walking on the old Silk Road.

Photograph by Matthieu Paley, Photonica/Getty Images

Photo: Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist

Photograph by Becky Hale

Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist and explorer, has traced ancient trade routes overland and across the seas for more than 20 years. Hiebert has led excavations at ancient Silk Road sites across Asia, from Egypt to Mongolia. His excavations at a 4,000-year-old Silk Road city in Turkmenistan made headlines around the world. He also conducts underwater archaeology projects in the Black Sea and in South America's highest lake, Lake Titicaca, in search of submerged settlements.

Hiebert completed his doctoral dissertation at Harvard University in 1992 and held the Robert H. Dyson chair of archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the National Geographic Society in 2003. He rediscovered the lost Bactrian gold in Afghanistan in 2004 and was the curator of National Geographic's exhibition Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul which toured major museums in the United States and internationally.

As National Geographic's archaeology fellow, he extends the enthusiasm for archaeology to the public in lectures, presentations, films, and museum exhibits. Hiebert also holds positions with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Institute for Nautical Archaeology, and Robert Ballard's Institute for Exploration. Among other honors, Hiebert received the Chairman's Award from the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration in 1998.

Inside National Geographic Magazine

In Their Words

Imagine the tangibility of picking up something that’s four thousand years old and thinking: I’m the first person to pick this up for four thousand years. It could be just a piece of pottery, but it’s a thrill.

-Fredrik Hiebert


  • fred_dive.jpg

    2012 Issyk Kul Expedition

    Follow along as Fred Hiebert and his team search for a sunken palace in Kyrgyzstan.

  • reddit_logo.jpg

    Reddit IAmA Chat

    Fred Hiebert chats about what it's like to search for a sunken palace associated with Tamerlane.


  • Photo: A golden dagger that is part of the lost treasures in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan's Hidden Treasures Photo Gallery

    Concealed from invading Soviets, later from the Taliban, and feared lost, a trove of precious antiquities reveals the rich cultures that came together at one of history's great crossroads.



Listen to Fredrik Hiebert

Hear an interview with Hiebert on National Geographic Weekend.

  • 00:08:00 Fred Hiebert

    Now you can enter the world of Indiana Jones and experience the adventure of field archaeology. Lucasfilm Ltd. and National Geographic have teamed up to bring you “Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology,” an exhibit based on the Indiana Jones franchise. National Geographic Fellow and archaeologist Fred Hiebert joins Boyd in the studio to talk about the traveling exhibit.

Our Explorers in Action

See Photos »

Meet All Our Explorers

  • NationalGeographic_1289095-flag.jpg

    Explorers A-Z

    At the heart of our explorers program is the quest for knowledge through exploration and the people who make it possible.

  • Photo: Michael Lombardi diving

    Explorers by Category

    Browse our different areas of exploration and discover the fascinating people behind the projects.