Dr. Antti Lahelma (PhD, University of Helsinki) is vice-director of the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires and leader of Team 3.

Lahelma holds a docentship in Archaeology from the University of Helsinki and is a Senior Lecturer in archaeology there. His core expertise lies in the study of prehistoric identity, cultural production, and worldview, and his dissertation on Finnish rock art, A Touch of Red (2008), remains a landmark work on the subject, used as a textbook in several Scandinavian universities. Since 2012, he is the editor-in-chief of Fennoscandia Archaeologica, the leading peer-reviewed journal on the archaeology of northernmost Europe.

Between 1998 and 2007, Lahelma served as one of the chief archaeologists of the Finnish Jabal Hārūn Project, spending eight field seasons excavating a Nabataean/Byzantine religious complex in Petra, Jordan, as well as contributing major chapters to the project’s final publications (Petra – the Mountain of Aaron, Vols. I and II). He thus has excellent knowledge of the local conditions for conducting fieldwork in Jordan. He also has experience in the museum and heritage sector. Lahelma has worked for regional Finnish museums, the Finnish National Heritage Board, and the National Museum of Finland; the latter of which recently (spring 2016) commissioned him to produce a manuscript for the new permanent archaeology exhibit.

Keywords: archaeology of religion, rock art, iconography, archaeoacoustics, conflict archaeology, cosmology, Neolithic, Petra, early Byzantine period, the circumpolar region, hunter-gatherers

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Dr. Rick Bonnie (PhD, University of Leuven) is vice-leader of ANEE's Team 3 in the Faculty of Arts. He also serves as a University Researcher in the ongoing Centre of Excellence: Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions. He currently directs a project entitled "Religious Responses to Climate Change in the Southern Levantine."

Bonnie's research focuses primarily on the archaeology of the Greco-Roman Near East, with a special focus on urbanism, identity construction, materiality and ritualization. He has a keen interest in questions relating to how the Roman Empire created new dimensions of ‘cultural mobility’ and how this affected local cultural practices and self-representation in the empire. Bonnie also has research interests in community archaeology, heritage crime and open science.

Within ANEE, he focuses his work on developing a museum exhibition, audience engagement studies, and  community archaeology approaches, as well as exploring local cultural practices among Jewish communities.

Keywords: Hellenistic period, Roman period, Israel/Palestine, Architecture, Heritage crime, Community archaeology, Archaeology of ritual and religion, Cultural innovation

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Dr Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä holds a PhD in archaeological materials science (Institute of Archaeology, University College London), and MA and BA degrees in archaeology (University of Helsinki). Her research focuses on ancient craft technologies and geochemical characterisation of archaeological materials, particularly questions related to movement of people and goods, and adaptation and transfer of cultural traditions. She has worked at the University of Helsinki since 2012, e.g. as a Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies Core Fellow (2018–2020), senior lecturer (2016–2017) and Academy of Finland postdoctoral fellow (2012–2015). She is currently involved in archaeological research projects in Finland, Israel and Jordan. She has served as the ceramic analyst for the Jabal Hārūn excavations in Petra (2002–2007). In ANEE Team 3, she is responsible for the materials science analysis of the archaeological materials.

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Dr. Paula Kouki's (PhD, University of Helsinki) specialties are interdisciplinary work between archaeology and sciences (geology, geography) and archaeological surveys. Her dissertation (2012) was about the rural settlement in the Petra region from the Nabatean through the Late Byzantine period. She also has a minor in geology and an MA in landscape studies from the University of Leicester, UK (2004). Kouki participated in the Finnish Jabal Harun Project as a member and later as a vice-leader of the archaeological survey team in 1999-2013. Currently, Kouki is involved in the Holocene Environmental Change in Southern Levant project, directed by Dr. Bernhard Lucke (Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg). Kouki is also an active expert in participatory archaeology and museum work. In her published articles, she has concentrated mainly on the archaeology of Jordan (e.g. together with Prof. Mika Lavento and Prof. em. Jaakko Frösén, she was the main editor of the FJHP survey publication, Petra: The Mountain of Aaron. The Archaeological Survey [2013]).

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Heidi Kovanen has a master’s degree in Archaeology (University of Helsinki, 2017) with minor studies in Classical Archaeology, Art History and Museology. She wrote her master’s thesis on social space and its formation in Finnish Medieval castles and has since then continued on the subject with Roman funerary material. Her current research and doctoral dissertation is concentrating on gender identities in the Ancient Near East with a long-term perspective on how people perceived and displayed gender in death.

In ANEE Heidi will be working closely with research teams 1 and 3 and contributing on her part on the study of Jordanian archaeological material.

 

Dr. Marta Lorenzon (PhD in Archaeology, University of Edinburgh) is an archaeologist and architectural specialist. Her research concentrates on developing an interdisciplinary methodology in the study of ancient architecture, combining geoarchaeology, ethnoarchaeology and social anthropology. 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 expertise lies in the archaeology of architecture, geo-ethnoarchaeology, and community outreach. 

Currently, Lorenzon's research at ANEE concentrates primarily on the built environment as a key instrument to investigate the process of identity creation in ancient and modern times, the relationship between power and architecture in the first millennium BCE Near East, and the use of computational archaeology in diachronic settlements analysis.

Keywords: craft specialisation, Near Eastern architecture, mudbrick, geoarchaeology, earthen architecture, building archaeology, anthropology of architecture, identity building through architecture, Egyptian architecture, urban planning, preservation, community archaeology, postcolonial theories, public archaeology and outreach, excavation methods

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Dr. Päivi Miettunen holds a PhD in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Helsinki. In 2017-2018 she lived in Beirut and worked as a researcher and coordinator in the Finnish Institute in the Middle East, studying information practices and identity building in tribal communities.  In 2016, she worked as a visiting researcher in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Lund University, focusing especially on information sharing and representations of tribal identities in social media. Her doctoral dissertation was a case study of holy sites in Southern Jordan. Miettunen spent several months among the Bedouin in the region, collecting data about the various sites and observing their social and religious functions. This project was a direct continuation from her MA thesis, in which she focused on the site of Aaron’s mountain near Petra. Miettunen was a member of the Finnish Jabal Haroun Project between 2000-2007. Through her ethnographic research, Miettunen has gained extensive knowledge of the Jordanian society and tribal communities. She is interested in the processes of community engagement through information sharing and collaboration.

Keywords: Arabic (Levantine dialects), Tribal networks, Tribal identities, Modern society (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria), Islamic pilgrimage, saints and holy sites in the Levant, Anthropological field research methods, Space and Place, Oral narratives

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Prof. Suzie Thomas completed a PhD in Heritage Studies at Newcastle University, UK. In 2018, Thomas is Professor of Cultural Heritage Studies at the University of Helsinki, usually working as University Lecturer in Museum Studies. She is interested in community heritage, museum studies and issues around difficult and contested heritage. She is currently PI of the Academy of Finland project “SuALT: The Finnish Archaeological Finds Recording Linked Open Database”. She also works on the Helsinki Future Fund project “Working with Cultural Objects and Manuscripts”. Before moving to Helsinki, Suzie was Community Archaeology Support Officer at the Council for British Archaeology and then a Research Associate at the University of Glasgow.

Thomas'  research interests in community engagement with heritage relate to the goals of Team 3. She also has interests in the ethics around cultural property and curtailing the illicit trade in antiquities - a key ethical concern of ANEE and its research practices

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