In recent years, research on the Ancient Near East has been carried out in several different research projects. Finnish research on the Ancient Near East is internationally recognized and has gained scholarly appreciation in the fields of Assyriology, archaeology, papyrology, and biblical studies. In addition to universities, research work is conducted at the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME).
Led by Professor Saana Svärd, the Centre of excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires investigates the people, history, and languages of the region from various perspectives, such as linguistics, digital methods, network analysis, and archaeological fieldwork.
Please watch the video presentation in English showcasing the research work of the Centre of excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires:
You can study Ancient Near Eastern research at the University of Helsinki in the Bachelor's and Master's programs offered by the Faculty of Humanities. The University of Helsinki is the only place in Finland where you can study ancient Near Eastern languages and cultures either as a major or as elective courses. You can study languages such as Akkadian and Sumerian, as well as courses on culture, history, and methodology.
For more information, please visit the link below (in Finnish):
Digitization of Cuneiform Tablets
The digitization project initiated by Professor Simo Parpola in the 1960s, involving cuneiform tablets, led to the Assyrian State Archives Excellence Unit's project, which publishes cuneiform tablets found in the ancient palace of Nineveh. Thanks to this project, Finland has become an international center for research on the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
Archaeological Excavations on Mount Aaron in Jordan
Led by Professor Jaakko Frösen, the Finnish Excavations on Mount Aaron project investigated the ruins of the Holy Monastery of Aaron and inventoried the surrounding area in Petra, Jordan. The project was based on Frösen's extensive work in conserving and documenting charred papyrus scrolls discovered in the ancient city of Petra. The preservation of the papyrus scrolls opened the doors to a multidisciplinary project and archaeological excavations of the monastery ruins.
Sacred Texts in the Ancient Near Eastern Cultural Sphere
Under the leadership of Professor Martti Nissinen, the Sacred Texts and Traditions in Transition Excellence Unit brought together researchers in Old Testament exegesis, archaeology, Assyriology, Qumran studies, and New Testament exegesis to investigate how major cultural changes in the ancient Near East influenced the origins and changes of sacred texts and how these texts, in turn, shaped ancient cultures.
The University of Helsinki has served as the home for all the aforementioned projects, with the main funding provided by the university itself and the Academy of Finland.