Dr. Saana Svärd is director of the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires and leader of ANEE's Team 1.

Svärd (PhD, University of Helsinki) is experienced in interdisciplinary work, and holds expertise in collaborative and methodologically-diverse Near Eastern research. She is a docent of Assyriology at University of Helsinki and a docent of Cultural History of the Near East at the University of Turku. Her expertise in using ancient primary sources is complemented by her experience in interdisciplinary work. Svärd has collaborated with specialists in Arabic studies, classical studies, ancient history, archaeology, and language technology in publications. 

In her published work, she has adapted and developed approaches from gender studies, social sciences, and linguistic semantics to gain new perspectives on cuneiform sources. Identity, especially gender identity, has been a focal point in much of her work. Her monograph, Women and Power in Neo-Assyrian Palaces, and numerous peer-reviewed articles have established Svärd as one of the leading experts in the study of women and gender in the Neo-Assyrian empire. Her 2017-co-authored (with Dr. C. Halton) monograph, Women's writing of ancient Mesopotamia: an anthology of the earliest female authors (Cambridge UP), expands this work, raising questions of gender in cuneiform cultures on a broader scale, as does a forthcoming co-edited volume, Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East (with A. Garcia-Ventura; Eisenbrauns).

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Dr. Krister Lindén is vice-leader of Team 1. Lindén is Research Director of Language Technology at the Department of Digital Humanities of the University of Helsinki and National Coordinator of fin-clarin. He is particularly interested in Cross-Language Lexical Semantics and Corpus Linguistics. He has published more than 90 scientific papers on developing resources for Language Technology and tools for Corpus Linguistics.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Dr. Tero Alstola (PhD, Leiden University; ThD, University of Helsinki) is a scholar of Near Eastern cultures and languages interested in studying ancient history with digital methods. His previous research has focused on migration and immigrants in Babylonian society in the first millennium BCE. He currently works as a postdoctoral researcher studying the Akkadian language using computational methods from language technology. His project aims to enhance the understanding of a dead language and to develop methods that can be used to study other extinct and living languages with small text corpora.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Dr. Johannes Bach 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.” In that project, he evaluated recent theories on inter- and transtextuality, as well as on narratology, and developed a methodology to identify and properly analyse transtextualities within the corpus of Assyrian royal inscriptions and related texts. During this work, it became apparent that deeper 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, Bach aims to create a database relating to the literary history of Assyrian royal narrative texts, which is of great use 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.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Dr. Sebastian Fink (PhD University of Innsbruck) is an Assyriologist with a strong background in philosophy (especially Philosophy of Language). His research focuses on Sumerian and the intellectual and literary history of Mesopotamia. For several years he was part of a Innsbruck-based Emesal-dictionary project and his current work at CSTT focuses on change in Emesal-lamentations and is mainly concerned with the changing conceptualization of the divine in these texts. Currently (2017-2019) he is the vice chair of the Melammu project that fosters interdisciplinary research regarding the Ancient World. Within ANEE he is interested in applying language technology to single words as well as to semantic fields in order to deepen our understanding of complex terminologies and subtle distinctions within the Mesopotamian tradition.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Dr. Heidi Jauhiainen has a background in Egyptology, where her interests lie in local and individual religion as well as everyday life. After defending her doctoral thesis in 2009 on the topic of "Feasts and Festivals in Deir el-Medina," she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Since 2013, she has been working in a project identifying and harvesting pages written in Finno-Ugric languages on the Internet. She is responsible for crawling the internet and post-processing and publishing the texts found. She is currently working with Assyriologists and Language Technologists on identifying semantic domains in Akkadian Texts. Her main interests include corpus linguistics, especially the analysis of texts, and text mining.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Dr. Gina Konstantopoulos (PhD, University of Michigan) is an Assyriologist. Her research has focused on Sumerian and Akkadian literary texts, as well as the study of religion and magic in the ancient Near East, especially the place of demons and monsters in Mesopotamia. Her previous project explored the role of one group of supernatural figures, known as the Sebettu, examining their appearances in texts, their utilization in the political sphere, and the development of their official cult. Her current project examines conceptions of distant places in Mesopotamia in the second and first millennia BCE. In particular, her project investigates the fictionalization of distant locations, places that were at the edges of Mesopotamia's worldview and, though known to be real, were given fantastical qualities in textual depictions. Her work with ANEE considers the intersection of distant space and empire in the first millennium BCE, and how Mesopotamian society conceived of the lands at and beyond its borders.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Dr. Shana Zaia (PhD, Yale University) is an Assyriologist specializing in the Neo-Assyrian period. Her previous research focused on Neo-Assyrian religion at the state level, specifically in the corpus of royal inscriptions, and the relationships between royal power and official cult. She is currently studying cult centers in the Assyrian Empire by focusing on cities that were not also political capitals, such as Arbela and Kilizi. She contributes to Ancient Near Eastern Empires through her expertise on the Assyrian Empire, especially in terms of the official text corpora, royal and elite levels of society, and religion.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Tommi Jauhiainen (PhD student) has a master’s degree in Language Technology (2010) with minor studies in Computer Science, Assyriology, and Egyptology. He wrote his master’s thesis on automatic language identification and has since continued his research on the same subject in the "Finno-Ugric Languages and the Internet" project as a doctoral student under the guidance of Dr. Krister Lindén and Prof. em. Kimmo Koskenniemi. During his studies, he was also enlisted as an information systems manager at the National Library of Finland, where he has gained experience in software engineering projects, both small and large. In ANEE, his research concerns Akkadian dialect and text genre identification and is conducted as part of his doctoral studies.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.

Aleksi Sahala (PhD student) has a combined master’s degree in Language Technology and Assyriology (2014) with a focus on computational Assyriology and the Sumerian language. He is currently writing an article based PhD thesis on applying statistical and machine learning methods on fragmentary text corpora under the supervision of Saana Svärd and Krister Lindén.

Recent publications

RSS Feed

No results.