I am currently the Assistant Professor of Early Judaism in the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department at the University of California-Los Angeles. My primary research interests are in the Early Judaism, rabbinic literature, the Roman Near East. Specifically, I am interested in the ways ancient Jews navigated living under imperial domination through the development of legislation and rhetoric about the Other. I am currently working on my first monograph, The Festivals of the Gentiles in Early Judaism. My research also concentrates on the Roman Near East and Semitic languages, especially Aramaic, and their use in imperial contexts. In particular, I investigate the material presentation of Aramaic inscriptions found throughout the Roman Empire. I have authored translation and paleographic articles on Palmyrene Aramaic inscriptions as one of the founding members of the Wisconsin Palmyrene Aramaic Inscription Project in journals including Maarav and KUSATU. I spent the 2017-2018 academic year in Rome as a Rome Prize Fellow in Ancient Studies at the American Academy in Rome (FAAR ‘18). I earned my PhD in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (2018) and my MA in Hebrew and Semitic Studies (2014) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A once and future classicist, my research focuses on the art and archaeology of ancient Iran, and on the regions of the Near East, Eastern Mediterranean, and Central Asia that interacted with Iran prior to the advent of Islam. I am especially interested in reconstructing the social, cultural, political and even economic environments in which objects were created. I am also interested in how our modern knowledge of the ancient world was created, since this affects how we interpret objects and the conclusions we draw about the people who made them. I have held fellowships at the Harvard Art Museums, the Getty Research Institute and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and teaching positions at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Southern California. I am currently Lecturer in Classics at the University of California, Riverside and adjunct faculty at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. I am also, by virtue of my work on the seals of the Persepolis Fortification Archive, a Research Associate of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
Jonathan Schmidt-Swartz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University focusing on Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. His primary research interests and dissertation focus broadly on the intersection of ancient scribal culture, critical theory, and kingship. More specifically, his dissertation aims to trace the intellectual history and historiography of kingship in more concrete terms, namely, by determining how post-monarchic scribes reinterpreted sources they inherited; how the juxtapositions of monarchic sources to their post-monarchic framings entails a two-way reinterpretation between older and newer texts. Unlike previous studies on the history of kingship in Israel-Judah, his work seeks to unpack the differing notions of kingship — the power dynamics between the king, Yahweh, and the people — through the lens of specific scribal practices as his guiding method. His objective is to understand, recognize, and begin to pull apart the layered conceptions of kingship on display in the Bible’s primary narrative about the kingdoms and recognize at once the conscious diachronic juxtaposition of sources by scribes and their synchronic multivalent unity. Dissertation: Recasting Kingship: Power, Disrupted History, and Scribal Adaptation Interests: Hebrew Bible, Ancient Near East, Critical Theory, Scribal Culture, Religious Studies/History of Religions, History/Historiography, Jewish Studies, Interdisciplinary Humanities, Public Humanities
…Roman Near East
Caravan Cities in the Syria and Jordan Desert. (Forthcoming as an edited volume chapter)
Tacitus on the RNE
Representations of Treachery in the RNE
Historical Game Reception Pedagogy
Imagining Classics: Towards a Pedagogy of Gaming Reception (Forthcoming as a journal article)
The Painful Art of Abstraction: Representing the Ancient World in Modern Games (Forthcoming as a journal article)
Historical Game Analysis
“Resynchronizing Atlantis: Herodotos & conspiratorial euhemerism in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.” Film and History…
Hamish began his study of the ancient world in Christchurch, continued it in Los Angeles, road-tripped with it to Maine via the Midwest, and has now returned with it to Wellington. Thematically, he studies movement, borderlands, networks, geography and imperialism. Geographically, he explores the Eastern Mediterranean, Southwest Asia/the Near East and Rome. Chronologically, he investigates the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Philologically, he enjoys cultural allusions and tricola. No, tetracola… Wait, I’ll come in again… Hamish received his PhD in Classics from the University of Southern California in 2014 where he wrote a dissertation examining the representation of “Mesopotamia” as a borderland in Imperial Roman geographic writing of the first four centuries CE. His monograph on the subject has now been published: Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland (Brill 2019). He received his MA from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 2006 with a thesis on the arrival of Roman power in Cilicia. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology (2011) from the USC Spatial Sciences Institute. He has participated in two survey seasons in Greece and in specialist conferences on digital geography, borderlands, networks, religion, and Cilicia. Hamish has taught classes in History and Classical Languages dealing with topics from the Bronze Age to the Information Age. He is interested in the applied methodologies of digital humanities, especially digital geography, the digital dissemination of academic information, and the pedagogy of tabletop games. He also designs boardgames and roleplaying games.
University Lecturer in Assyriology at Leiden University specializing in the social and economic history of the Ancient Near East and in the theory of collective identity.
Jeffrey Becker is a Mediterranean archaeologist. Becker has held teaching positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The College of William & Mary, Boston University, McMaster University, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University, and the University of Mississippi. Additionally, Becker served as Acting Director of the Ancient World Mapping Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an Associate Editor of the Pleiades Project and contributing editor for Etruscan and Roman art at Smarthistory.org. Becker is a veteran of archaeological fieldwork in Italy, notably on the Palatine Hill in Rome with Clementina Panella and the University of Michigan’s project at Gabii in Central Italy. He is currently a part-time lecturer in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at Binghamton University – SUNY. At Binghamton, he teaches courses in Mediterranean archaeology and Graeco-Roman art history.
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
- 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
Erin Walcek Averett is Associate Professor of Archaeology at Creighton University and Assistant Director of the Athienou Archaeological Project on Cyprus. She earned her Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology at the University of Missouri in the Department of Art History and Archaeology in 2007. She specializes in early Greek art and archaeology and the archaeology of Cyprus, focusing on terracotta figurines in the Geometric and Archaic periods in the Eastern Mediterranean. Dr. Averett has traveled and excavated throughout the Mediterranean and was a fellow of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in Greece from 2002-2004. Other areas of interest include Greek and Cypriot religion, points of contact between the Near East and the Aegean, gender in the ancient world, and digital archaeology. She also serves as Adjunct Curator of Antiquities at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE.
Senior Lecturer in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, SOAS, University of London