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dr. Shiyanthi Thavapalan

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Art and Culture, History, Antiquity

Assistant Professor, CLUE+

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I am Assistant Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and at the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology.

My research on Akkadian technical recipes, ancient colour perception and the history of crafts and technologies in Mesopotamia integrates methodologies in anthropological theory with philology and material culture studies. My first monograph, The Meaning of Color in Ancient Mesopotamia (Brill 2020), is a study of Akkadian color semantics that seeks ultimately to understand how human beings interacted with the material world and how they articulated the relationship between nature and culture through physical and semantic codes. My second book, provisionally entitled Ingenious Crafts: The Mimicry of Substances in Mesopotamian Language and Thought, delves into art historical concepts, the beginnings of Mesopotamian chemistry and its links to Graeco-Roman alchemy. I am also the co-editor of The Value of Colour. Material and Economic Aspects in the Ancient World (Edition Topoi, 2020) with David Warburton.

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dr. Shiyanthi Thavapalan


  • Assyrian and Babylonian Cultural History, Ancient Science, Ancient Crafts and Te...