We welcome Caroline Wallis, Johannes Bach, Marta Lorenzon and Melanie Wasmuth

Since the start of February, our team is strengthened by four new postdoctoral researchers with strong expertise in Assyriology, Social Anthropology and Archaeology: Dr. Johannes Bach (Team 1), Dr. Caroline Wallis and Dr. Melanie Wasmuth (both Team 2), and Dr. Marta Lorenzon (Team 3). Below we will briefly introduce each of them.

Johannes Bach has studied Assyriology, Ancient History and Comparative Historic Linguistic at the University of Erlangen, with a strong inclination towards literature and literary history. For his PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin, he studied the so-called “Transtextual poetics of Assyrian royal narrative texts.” For that, he evaluated a row of recent theories on inter- and transtextuality, as well as on narratology, and developed a methodology to track down and properly analyse transtextualities within the corpus of Assyrian royal inscriptions and related texts. During this work it became apparent that a profound research into the history of the literary evolution of the genre is needed in order to properly understand the textual developments, especially in the later Neo-Assyrian period. Within ANEE, Johannes's work offers the unique opportunity to create a database on the literary history of Assyrian royal narrative texts, which is not only of great help for the study of the construction of history and royal identity not only during the Neo-Assyrian Empire, but also in Old and Middle Assyrian times.

Marta Lorenzon (PhD in Archaeology, University of Edinburgh) is a postdoctoral researcher within ANEE's Team 3 ("Material Culture and Community Heritage"). Her PhD research aimed at developing an interdisciplinary methodology in the study of Minoan earthen architecture combining geoarchaeology, ethnoarchaeology and architectural analysis. Since 2005 she has worked in the Mediterranean region, in the Americas and Asia with a research focus in earthen architecture, knowledge of production, conflict archaeology and identity construction. Her core expertises lies in archaeology of architecture, Near Eastern archaeology, geo-ethnoarchaeology, and community archeology. Currently, Marta's research concentrates primarily on Mediterranean archaeology with a special focus on the built environment, material culture and decolonization of archaeology. She has extensive fieldwork experience in the Mediterranean region (Syria, Greece, Egypt, Spain, Italy, Israel and Cyprus) where she has been pursuing questions related to the process of identity creation in ancient and modern times, the relationship between natural and built environment and public engagement in archaeology.

Caroline Wallis holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University Paul-Valéry, Montpellier. Until now,  her research has focused on the social and cultural construction of collective identifications with particular attention to identity building processes within nationalist movements. She has worked in the field of the invention of tradition, analysing the ways in which elements of the past are reintegrated into contemporary political discourse where they serve modern goals. Within ANEE, Caroline will conduct research into the transformations of representations, beliefs and practices associated with the New Year in the Ancient Near East and will study the telescoping of socioeconomic, religious and political significations of this ritual. The research is synchronic and diachronic: it seeks to throw light on how the society held together at a specific moment but also highlights the destructuring / restructuring of ritual arrangements over the long period covered by the study, by following the thread that links Akitu to the New Day of the Persian Empires. As a member of Team 2 ("Social Scientific Theory and Applications"), Caroline will also engage in a reflection on the use of theoretical models from the social sciences in ancient history. She will contribute to the definition of notions handled in the research project such as "elites," "social group," "economy," " ritual,"  and reflect upon the possible epistemic concerns of their use for the understanding of the ancient societies in question.

Melanie Wasmuth (PhD, University of Basel) specialises in Ancient CrossArea Studies with focus on cross-regional contacts and identity display in the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asian Area of Connectivity in the first millennium BCE. Melanie studied Egyptology, Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Philology, and to a lesser extent Prehistory, Archaeological Theory and Ancient Philosophy at the Universities of Tübingen, Cambridge, Munich, Vienna and Basel. Since her PhD, she examines the impact of cross-regional politics and mobility in the wake of the Assyrian, Kushite and Achaemenid expansion politics towards the Mediterranean and our modern prospects to discern these issues. Case studies include Egypto-Persian royal display, the ‘Egyptian community’ in Assyria, and historiographical mapping of seventh century BCE Egypt. Within ANEE, Melanie combines her interests in Ancient CrossArea Studies and Ancient Cultural Anthropology. She will develop key terms from the semantic field of ‘cultural identity’ into research approaches concerning historical perspectives of globalisation and cross-regional migration.