Postdoctoral Researchers (2-5) in “Ancient Near Eastern Empires” (ANEE) University of Helsinki, Centre of Excellence Finland


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Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki is one of the best multidisciplinary research universities in the world. The University of Helsinki is an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. It operates on four campuses in Helsinki and at 15 other locations. The high-quality research carried out by the university creates new knowledge for educating diverse specialists in various fields, and for utilisation in social decision-making and the business sector.


The Centre of Excellence in “Ancient Near Eastern Empires” (ANEE) at the University of Helsinki will run from 2018-2025 and is directed by Dr. Saana Svärd. ANEE asks: How do changing imperial dynamics impact social group identities and lifeways over a millennium? ANEE covers the Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic, and early Roman / Parthian Empires. ANEE engages with methodologically varied yet integrated research on the long-term processes by which social group identities and lifeways were negotiated. Taken together, the innovations of ANEE are the integrated longue durée approach; and the methodological innovativeness of each team (both separately and in collaboration). There will be several recruitment calls for fixed term positions during ANEE’s lifespan (doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and university researchers).


ANEE is recruiting members for three teams which investigate identity-building processes. Each team has a methodologically specific approach yet collaborates on four work packages.


Applications are invited for




for a fixed term of 2-3 years, preferably starting on 1 January 2018 to work in the University of Helsinki. The successful candidates’ research projects will focus on the goals of a team or teams. The applicant should indicate to which team she/he is applying. The appointed postdoctoral researchers will have proven expertise in one of the areas of interest of ANEE. Their main duties will include full-time research in their respective fields. As ANEE is deeply multidisciplinary, competence in more than one field and/or proof of successful scientific collaboration will be considered an advantage. The post will require both independent and collaborative scientific publishing.


Team 1 “Digital Humanities Approaches” develops digital humanities approaches (especially social network analysis and language technology), using these to supplement the more traditional Assyriological approaches. Team 1 is looking for applicants with a solid background in Assyriology or a related field (preferably within the chronological scope of ANEE) and/or skills in Digital Humanities that can be put to use in relation to ANEE’s goals. Team 1 is led by Saana Svärd (


Team 2 “Social Scientific Theory & Applications” tests and refines theoretical models from the social sciences for ancient evidence, integrating anthropological approaches to archaeology with sociological readings of textual and archaeological evidence. Team 2 seeks sociologists with expertise in migration, forced labor, and/or elite identities, and ancient historians of any of the relevant empires with similar profiles. Willingness to work with future PhD candidates and for multiple work packages is desirable. Team 2 is led by Dr. Jason Silverman (


Team 3 “Material Culture & Community Heritage” investigates the impact of each empire on ancient local communities inhabiting the imperial fringes and provides a sustainable future for this heritage. This it does through an archaeological field survey program in the ancient imperial fringe zone of southern Jordan and by developing a local community outreach program there. Our work in Finland revolves around promoting an understanding of Ancient Near Eastern heritage and culture by developing a touring museum exhibition on the ancient Near East. The team also aims to collaborate with the Finnish authorities to further develop the policies and legislation regarding the trade in illicit antiquities. Team 3 seeks applicants with expertise in community archaeology and/or cultural heritage studies. Previous research/work experience in the Near East is not required. Team 3 is led by Dr. Antti Lahelma (, who is also the vice-director of ANEE.


For more information on the three teams and the work packages, please see


An appointee to the position of postdoctoral researcher must hold a doctoral degree in a relevant field. The year of graduation and previous postdoctoral experience do not exclude the applicant from consideration. The appointee must have the ability to conduct independent scientific research, and possess the teaching skills required for the position. Teaching or teaching-related tasks will form 5-10 % of the position. The candidate should have a proven capability to publish in scientific journals, have excellent analytical and methodological skills, and be able to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary scientific community. The successful candidates are expected to have excellent skills in written and oral English. Skills in Finnish or Swedish are not required. Relocation costs can be negotiated and ANEE will offer help and information for the practicalities, if needed.


ANEE is functioning in the Faculty of Arts (Teams 1 and 3) and in the Faculty of Theology (Team 2), located in the City Centre Campus. The city of Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, with a population of ca. 600 000. It has been consistently ranked amongst the top cities in the world for quality of living. Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki is an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. It operates on four campuses in Helsinki and at 15 other locations.


The salary for the position will be based on level 5 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The salary is EUR 3,300-4,000 per month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience.


Applications should consist of the following English-language documents:

(1) CV (max. 3 pages) and a list of publications
(2) Contact information for two referees
(3) A research statement (max. 2000 words) consisting of
i) a brief description of previous research experience
ii) a proposal for the research project that the applicant wants to conduct in ANEE (including suggested dates for the project)
iii) a brief description of the plans for scientific cooperation within ANEE, preferably specifying relevant team and work packages.


Further information on the position may be obtained from the team leaders (see above) or the director Saana Svärd (


Please submit your application, together with the required attachments, through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for job. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to send their application via the SAP HR portal. Deadline for applications is 15th of October, 2017.


If you need assistance with the University’s electronic recruitment system or SAP HR portal, please contact


Apply at latest 15.10.2017


Ap­ply link


Due date
Sunday, October 15, 2017

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