ANEE Annual meeting 2021

The fourth Annual meeting of the Center of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires was held in a historical and peaceful milieu of Mustio Manor in Raasepori. We were highly pleased to be able to meet each other in person at Mustio, and to virtually meet those who could not make it to Mustio. Mustio provided a great venue for the meeting and amazing fine dining experiences.

The theme of this year’s Annual meeting was ANEE Networks – tools, data and research strategies. Different networks were the core of this Annual meeting and every day had its own theme. On Monday, after a nice guided tour in the Mustio manor, the first keynote speech was hold by Dries Daes with the title “Connectivity and interaction: Network as drivers of social complexity”. We also had a really nice and inspiring poster session with all the new research projects that are conducted by ANEE members.

 Tuesday was dedicated to Social Network Analysis (SNA) as a research tool and multiple ways to apply it in different fields of research in ANEE. Four sessions with cross-team presentations and responses really showed that SNA can be a common tool for all of the teams regardless of the nature of data. After the day full of SNA we had our social activity in the world of aromas and especially the aromas of whiskey. Chemistry PhD Jari Tuominen introduced us to some science and chemistry behind the smells and aromas of different whiskeys. In the end, we found some new connections of different smells and aromas, almost like networks.

The theme of the third day of our meeting was “ANEE as a research network”. In the morning, we focused on The King-/Queenship in the Ancient Near East project. This cross-team project has been developed from the posters presented in annual meeting 2019. This session started with a lively panel discussion and was followed with internal and external responses from Joanna Töyräänvuori and Helen Dixon. In the afternoon we had a session about ongoing Migration projects and workshops in ANEE team 2. In the beginning Adrianne Spunaugle presented her individual research project Self-Described Neo-Assyrian Deportation Schemes within the Royal Annals. After Melanie Wasmuth had told us about Migration workshops, Caroline Wallis showed us video materials from her public outreach project Living (t)here: a video archive of Middle Easterners living in Finland. Before our last evening festive dinner Päivi Miettunen challenged our imaginations and creativity by making us plan some ANE-related program to public audience for “The Night of Science” in January 2022.   

On the last day of our Annual meeting, we moved on to the Modern Networks through presentations of the ongoing projects conducted in team 3. Antti Lahelma presented the upcoming museum exhibition in Finland and Stefan Smith gave us a presentation Networks of the Past, Networks of Today: Landscape of Mobility in Eastern Jordan and Public Outreach aids their Investigation and Preservation.  Saana Svärd, director of ANEE, closed our meeting with Jason Silverman and Antti Lahelma. Finally, SAB member Andrea Berlin wrapped up the past academic year of ANEE and research, and also the whole annual meeting. Her inspiring and encouraging words of ANEE’s work highlighted this exceptional interdisciplinary academic community, proving also that ANEE itself has become a network.

Before we left Mustio Manor to visit ruins of the Raasepori castle ANEE paper award winners were announced. The winners were:

Team 1: Aleksi Sahala,
Sahala, A., Silfverberg, M., Arppe, A. & Linden, K. (2020). BabyFST: Towards a Finite-State Based Computational Model of Ancient Babylonian

Team 2: Joanna Töyräänvuori,
Töyräänvuori, J. (ed.) (2020). Construction of Identity in the Ancient World

Team 3: Sanna Saari 
Saari, S. (2020). Lions in Images and Narratives: Judges 14, 1 Kings 13: 11-32 and Daniel 6 in the Light of Near Eastern Iconography.

Congratulations to all the winners.

Thanks to everyone who were part of the meeting in one way or another and helped in creating this unforgettable experience!