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Elites and Gods of the City: Analysis of a Mesopotamian local social network in the 3rd millennium BC

May 28 @ 12:30 pm
Kaplan 365,

The site of Adab, situated in Southern Mesopotamia between Nippur and Umma, was mostly active in the Old Akkadian period. Its mounds revealed palaces, temples and workshop installations. Around 3000 cuneiform sources were excavated either as part of the original or later illegal digs; their distribution in various archives dated to different sub-periods make this corpus particularly interesting for diachronic investigation. This talk exposes the social network of the elites of Adab and its correlation with the pantheon over time. Who were the elites of the city and how did their multiple roles change over time, especially in light of political changes? What was their connections with the palace, the Akkadian leadership but more importantly, to the temples? And finally, how do these connections give us clues about changes in the pantheon of the city over time? Using both official and administrative sources, the reach of elites in the social fabric of the city and their relationship with god cults and theirs institutions is examined over time, revealing both changes in city’s economic infrastructure and in the pantheon’s composition.

Émilie Pagé-Perron is PhD Candidate in the field of Assyriology at the University of Toronto. Her research balances traditional social history investigation of the Mesopotamian south in the 3rd millennium BC, with computational linguistics for the Sumerian language. She is co-Principal investigator at the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI https://cdli.ucla.edu; UCLA-Oxford-Berlin), manages the NEH funded project “CDLI Framework Update” and coordinates the international research project Machine Translation and Automated Analysis of Cuneiform Languages (https://cdli- gh.github.io/mtaac/ MTAAC; UCLA-Toronto-Frankfurt). This summer she is joining the Ancient Near Eastern Empires center of Excellence at the University of Helsinki as a post-doctoral researcher where she will pursue the development of automated methods for the semantic analysis of texts, and the perfection of social network analysis methods for cuneiform sources, with the express goal of gaining better understanding of 1st millennium social identity dynamics.

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May 28
12:30 pm
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Kaplan 365