MemberChristopher Jones

…2021 – Ph.D, History, Columbia University.
— Dissertation: “Power and Elite Competition in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, 745-612 BC.”
2017 – M.Phil, History, Columbia University.
2016 – M.A., History, Columbia University.
2014 – M.A., Biblical Archaeology, Wheaton College.
2011 – B.A., Peace, War & Defense, History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill….
…Massachusetts (Paper accepted but withdrawn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will present in 2021).

“A Great King Without Rival: The Literary Memory of Sargon of Akkad in 8th-7th Century Assyria as a Background for Nimrod in Genesis 10:8-12.” November 24, 2019, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Conference, San Diego, California.

“Power and Elite Competition in the Neo-Assyrian Empire: Towards a Social Network-Based Model.” November 23, 2019, American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting, San Diego, California.

“Removing shirk and jahiliyyah: ISIS’s Destruction of the Pre-Islamic Past as a Rejection of Nationalism.” November 18, 2017, special panel on “The Past in Peril and the Perils of the Past: Ancient History in Mo…

I am a historian of the Assyrian empire, interested in study ancient imperialism, organization, and communication. I completed my Ph.D in 2021 at the Department of History at Columbia University with a dissertation titled “Power and Elite Competition in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, 745-612 BC.” For the 2021-22 academic year, I hold the position of Visiting Professor of History and Political Science at Warren Wilson College. My dissertation examines the careers of Assyrian provincial governors and other mid-level officials. Using several thousand official letters which survive from this period, as well as analytical tools borrowed from the fields of social network analysis, organizational communication, and leader-member exchange theory, I analyze the social connections, status, and career progression of these officials. Understanding empire as a dynamic process enacting power relationships which are created and maintained through communication, I argue that Sargon II greatly expanded the number of provinces as well as the number of officials, increasing competition between them. These structural changes to the empire created an often-vicious competition for status, a decrease in effective communication, and made the king less able to assert control over his officials. Kings attempted to remedy this through special agents, loyalty oaths, and scholars who could test officials’ loyalty through divination, but all of these proved ineffective.

MemberHeather D Baker

…FWF) (2009–2015)
BatCUL: Babylonian Texts Concerning the Urban Landscape (on ORACC, in preparation with graduate student assistance funded by the University of Toronto’s Work Study Program)
Nappahu: Digital Corpus of Neo-Babylonian Texts from the Nappahu Archive (on ORACC, in preparation)
Neo-Assyrian Bibliography (on Zotero)
PNAo: The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire Online (on ORACC)


Baker, H. D. 2017. Neo-Assyrian Specialists. Crafts, Offices, and Other Professional Designations. Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 4/I. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project & Finnish Foundation for Assyriological Research.
Baker, H.D. & M. Jursa (eds). 2014. Documentary Sources in Ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman Economic History: Methodology and Practice. Oxford & Philadelphia: Oxbow Books.
Baker, H.D., K. Kaniuth & A. Otto (eds) 2012. Stories of Long Ago. Festschrift für Michael D. Roaf. AOAT 397. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag.
Baker, H.D. (ed.) 2011. The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, 3/II: Š–Z. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.
Baker, H.D.,  E. Robson & G…

As an Assyriologist who has also trained in archaeology and gained considerable experience of Near Eastern excavation, my primary interest is in combining textual information and material culture in the study of Mesopotamian society and economy. I apply this approach to the study of the Babylonian city and to investigating house and household. I am currently PI of an international project, Machine Translation and Automated Analysis of Cuneiform Languages (MTAAC), funded by SSHRC through the Trans-Atlantic Platform Digging into Data Challenge. Research Interests My work focuses on the social, political and economic history and material culture of 1st millennium BC Mesopotamia, with a particular interest in Babylonian urbanism and the built environment, and in the Neo-Assyrian royal household. My research and publications cover the following topics:

  • urbanism and the built environment
  • religious architecture
  • house and household
  • integration of textual and archaeological data
  • Hellenistic Babylonia (especially the city of Uruk)
  • the Assyrian royal palace and household
  • onomastics and naming practices
  • prosopography
  • slavery
  • society and economy
  • political history
  • cuneiform archives and archival practices


  • 2014–present: Assistant Professor in Ancient Near Eastern History, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto
  • 2009—2014: Senior Postdoc and PI of project “Royal Institutional Households in First Millennium BC Mesopotamia,” Institut fūr Orientalistik, University of Vienna
  • 2003–2009: Postdoc, START Project “The Economic History of Babylonia in the First Millennium BC,” Institut fūr Orientalistik, University of Vienna
  • 1999–2002: Research Associate, State Archives of Assyria Project, University of Helsinki; from July 1999, Editor-in-Charge of The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
  • 1993–1998: Editorial Assistant/IT Assistant (part-time), A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (a British Academy Major Research Project)
  • 1994–1995: Curator Grade G (part-time), Department of the Middle East, the British Museum
  • 1984–1989: Field Archaeologist employed on various excavation and post-excavation projects in England, Cyprus, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq

MemberCarly L. Crouch

I am currently David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where I teach and research in a number of areas relating to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and Hebrew language and exegesis. My research focuses on the intersection of theology, ethics, and community identities, with a historical focus on the social and intellectual world of ancient Israel and a contemporary interest in the relevance of this work for twenty-first century ethics. I am especially interested in integrating insights from other disciplines, such as anthropology, refugee studies, and postcolonial theory, into biblical studies. This has led to monographs examining the intersection between creation theology and ethics in the conduct of war (War and Ethics), the social context of Deuteronomy’s distinctively Israelite ethics (The Making of Israel), and the relationship between oaths of loyalty to the Assyrian king and Deuteronomy’s emphasis on exclusive loyalty to God (Israel and the Assyrians), as well as a co-authored volume analysing scribal translation practice in the Iron Age (Translating Empire, with Jeremy M. Hutton). My current project incorporates trauma theory, social-scientific research on involuntary migration, and postcolonial theory to understand the consequences of the Babylonian exile on Israel and Judah, developing previous work on Israelite identity and theology and on the prophets. I also have interests in Genesis, the Psalms, and the prophets. My previous post was at the University of Nottingham (UK), where I directed the Centre for Bible, Ethics and Theology, bringing together biblical and historical scholars with systematic and philosophical theologians to address contemporary issues in theology and religious studies. I have held research fellowships at Keble College and St John’s College in Oxford and at Fitzwilliam College and Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge.