I’m a Near Eastern Ph.D. student at the Johns Hopkins University, specializing in Assyriology. I’ve been fascinated with the ancient world since discovering Greek mythology in elementary school, and feel very lucky that I get to spend my days doing research! Along with my husband, Dr. Joshua Bowen, I work to bring the material that I am so passionate about to a non-academic audience, primarily through our YouTube channel, ‘Digital Hammurabi’.
We live in southern Maryland with our three children and two cats, and I visit my native Britain as often as time and money permit.
My dissertation focuses on objects from Mesopotamia inscribed with royal inscriptions from the Early Dynastic through to the Old Babylonian periods (2700 B.C.E. – 1959 B.C.E.). While these objects and their associated inscriptions are an important source for Mesopotamian history and culture, due to the large quantity of objects they have never been analyzed as a single corpus. Instead, scholarship has focused on thematic or chronological groupings, often separating inscriptions from object. By utilizing a relational database, I am attempting to both recombine object and inscription, while considering this corpus as a whole. In this way I hope to identify both long-term diachronic patterns and changes, as well as identify connections between object type and inscriptional element.
I am also interested in topic modeling, and attempting to use computer-generated topics to suggest different ways to understand these texts than modern categories, such as ‘building inscription’, which often flatten the thematic variety present in the corpus. I am currently researching and writing a conference paper on this subject, to be presented at the American School of Oriental Research annual meeting in November 2018.
I am very open to collaborative work, and would love to hear from anyone with a background in computing (especially topic modeling!) as I have several ideas on further directions for research, but little understanding of how to implement them!