Ancient Near East studies examines the history, languages and cultures of the Near East from the beginning of recorded history to the Roman times (approximately from 3000 BCE to 200 CE). Even though the research subject is temporally distant, it has something of value for people today: Western civilisation, culture and many religions are largely based on Mesopotamian culture.
Research in the field has strong traditions in Finland, and contemporary Ancient Near East studies includes several research focus areas from the previous disciplines of Assyriology and Egyptology. The research conducted in Helsinki is particularly focused on Mesopotamia in the first millennium BCE. From 2018 to 2025, the University of Helsinki hosts Ancient Near Eastern Empires, a centre of excellence funded by the Academy of Finland.