Dr. Antti Lahelma (PhD, University of Helsinki) is vice-director of the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires and leader of Team 3.

Lahelma holds a docentship in Archaeology from the University of Helsinki and is a Senior Lecturer in archaeology there. His core expertise lies in the study of prehistoric identity, cultural production, and worldview, and his dissertation on Finnish rock art, A Touch of Red (2008), remains a landmark work on the subject, used as a textbook in several Scandinavian universities. Since 2012, he is the editor-in-chief of Fennoscandia Archaeologica, the leading peer-reviewed journal on the archaeology of northernmost Europe.

Between 1998 and 2007, Lahelma served as one of the chief archaeologists of the Finnish Jabal Hārūn Project, spending eight field seasons excavating a Nabataean/Byzantine religious complex in Petra, Jordan, as well as contributing major chapters to the project’s final publications (Petra – the Mountain of Aaron, Vols. I and II). He thus has excellent knowledge of the local conditions for conducting fieldwork in Jordan. He also has experience in the museum and heritage sector. Lahelma has worked for regional Finnish museums, the Finnish National Heritage Board, and the National Museum of Finland; the latter of which recently (spring 2016) commissioned him to produce a manuscript for the new permanent archaeology exhibit.

Keywords: archaeology of religion, rock art, iconography, archaeoacoustics, conflict archaeology, cosmology, Neolithic, Petra, early Byzantine period, the circumpolar region, hunter-gatherers

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Dr. Marta Lorenzon (PhD in Archaeology, University of Edinburgh) is an archaeologist and architectural specialist. She is currently the vice-leader of ANEE's Team 3 and a university researcher in the Faculty of Arts. Her research concentrates on developing an interdisciplinary methodology in the study of ancient architecture, combining geoarchaeology, ethnoarchaeology and social anthropology. Since 2005 she has worked in the Mediterranean region, in the Americas and Asia with a research focus in earthen architecture, knowledge of production, conflict archaeology and identity construction. Her core expertise lies in the archaeology of architecture, geo-ethnoarchaeology, and community outreach. 

Currently, Lorenzon's research at ANEE concentrates primarily on the built environment as a key instrument to investigate the process of identity creation in ancient and modern times, the relationship between power and architecture in the first millennium BCE Near East, and the use of computational archaeology in diachronic settlements analysis.

Keywords: craft specialisation, Near Eastern architecture, mudbrick, geoarchaeology, earthen architecture, building archaeology, anthropology of architecture, identity building through architecture, Egyptian architecture, urban planning, preservation, community archaeology, postcolonial theories, public archaeology and outreach, excavation methods

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Dr. Rick Bonnie (PhD, University of Leuven) is University Lecturer in Museology at the University of Helsinki. He holds a docentship in archaeology from the same university, with an emphasis on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern archaeology. His research interests include museum and heritage ethics, object biographies, decolonisation and provenance issues, museum collection histories, and sensory archaeology. 
 
Bonnie currently directs two projects. He leads a team of archaeologists, anthropologists, museum educators and teachers in a project titled Making Home Abroad: Understanding Migrant Experiences and Heritage Implementation in Finland (Finnish Cultural Foundation, 2020–22). The project engages communities with stored-away Middle Eastern objects in Finnish museum collections through 3D scanning technologies, teaching toolkits, and pop-up museums. He also leads a UH 3-year project Religious Responses to Climate Change in the Southern Levant (2019–22). This project uses archaeological data, historical sources, and hydrological modelling to study to what extent the changing climatic situation in Roman-period Palestine impacted Jewish ritual purification practices.
 
Within ANEE, Bonnie coordinates the making of an exhibition around the Ancient Near East that will open in mid-2022 with ANEE’s museum partners. Furthermore, he currently co-leads a Nordic NOS-HS workshop series, Changing Hands, Changing Meanings: Researching Cultural Heritage Trafficking in the Nordic Region, with colleagues from Kristiansand, Oslo, Stockholm, and Turku.
 

Keywords: Museum and heritage ethics, museum collection histories, decolonisation and provenance issues, object biographies, sensory archaeology, Jewish material culture, Mediterranean archaeology

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Helen Dawson is a prehistoric archaeologist specialising in the study of the Mediterranean islands. After leaving her native Sicily to study Mediterranean prehistory at Cambridge (MPhil 2000) and University College London (PhD 2005), she moved to Berlin in 2013 and joined the Topoi Excellence Cluster of the Freie Universität Berlin as a Marie Curie – COFUND Research Fellow (2013-2015) and as a Gerda Henkel scholar (2015-2019). Her latest research uses network analysis to trace connections between the coastal and island communities of Sicily and the wider Mediterranean during the Bronze Age. Local, regional, and inter-regional networks illustrate changes in centrality and marginality during this period.

Dr Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä holds a PhD in archaeological materials science (Institute of Archaeology, University College London), and MA and BA degrees in archaeology (University of Helsinki). Her research focuses on ancient craft technologies and geochemical characterisation of archaeological materials, particularly questions related to movement of people and goods, and adaptation and transfer of cultural traditions. She has worked at the University of Helsinki since 2012, e.g. as a Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies Core Fellow (2018–2020), senior lecturer (2016–2017) and Academy of Finland postdoctoral fellow (2012–2015). She is currently involved in archaeological research projects in Finland, Israel and Jordan. She has served as the ceramic analyst for the Jabal Hārūn excavations in Petra (2002–2007). In ANEE Team 3, she is responsible for the materials science analysis of the archaeological materials.

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Uine Kailamäki is a PhD student in the Doctoral Programme in Geosciences at the University of Helsinki. She has completed supporting studies in chemistry, radiochemistry, and geology to complement her MA and BA degrees in archaeology, and focuses on applying scientific methods to answer archaeological questions.

Currently Kailamäki is working on her dissertation as a part of the three-year project “Building sustainability”. Her goal is to investigate interactions between past people and their built and natural environments in the first millennium BCE Eastern Mediterranean by the means of conducting archaeological, geochemical, sedimentological, micromorphological and statistical analyses on earthen architecture samples from multiple archaeological sites.

Dr. Paula Kouki's (PhD, University of Helsinki) specialties are interdisciplinary work between archaeology and sciences (geology, geography) and archaeological surveys. Her dissertation (2012) was about the rural settlement in the Petra region from the Nabatean through the Late Byzantine period. She also has a minor in geology and an MA in landscape studies from the University of Leicester, UK (2004). Kouki participated in the Finnish Jabal Harun Project as a member and later as a vice-leader of the archaeological survey team in 1999-2013. Currently, Kouki is involved in the Holocene Environmental Change in Southern Levant project, directed by Dr. Bernhard Lucke (Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg). Kouki is also an active expert in participatory archaeology and museum work. In her published articles, she has concentrated mainly on the archaeology of Jordan (e.g. together with Prof. Mika Lavento and Prof. em. Jaakko Frösén, she was the main editor of the FJHP survey publication, Petra: The Mountain of Aaron. The Archaeological Survey [2013]).

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Heidi Kovanen (MA, University of Helsinki) is an archaeologist specializing in the southern Levantine Iron Age. She has studied Classical Archaeology, Art History, Museology, African Studies and – to a lesser extent – Comparative Literature and Journalism at the Universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä, while working in various interdisciplinary research projects and institutes around the Mediterranean. Since her Master’s thesis (2017) Heidi has developed a strong research interest in both archaeological and architectural theory and now focuses her attention on promoting interdisciplinary research in the Arts and Humanities. Her current research project (2018–2022) is a doctoral dissertation that aims at theorizing gender in southern Levantine Iron Age burials.

Within ANEE, Heidi is working closely with research teams 1 and 3 and contributing to the study of Jordanian and Israeli-Palestinian archaeological materials.

Keywords: History and Archaeology, Death and Burial, Identities, Gender, Iron Age, Levant.

Dr. Päivi Miettunen holds a PhD in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Helsinki. In 2017-2018 she lived in Beirut and worked as a researcher and coordinator in the Finnish Institute in the Middle East, studying information practices and identity building in tribal communities.  In 2016, she worked as a visiting researcher in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Lund University, focusing especially on information sharing and representations of tribal identities in social media. Her doctoral dissertation was a case study of holy sites in Southern Jordan. Miettunen spent several months among the Bedouin in the region, collecting data about the various sites and observing their social and religious functions. This project was a direct continuation from her MA thesis, in which she focused on the site of Aaron’s mountain near Petra. Miettunen was a member of the Finnish Jabal Haroun Project between 2000-2007. Through her ethnographic research, Miettunen has gained extensive knowledge of the Jordanian society and tribal communities. She is interested in the processes of community engagement through information sharing and collaboration.

Keywords: Arabic (Levantine dialects), Tribal networks, Tribal identities, Modern society (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria), Islamic pilgrimage, saints and holy sites in the Levant, Anthropological field research methods, Space and Place, Oral narratives

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Prof. Suzie Thomas completed a PhD in Heritage Studies at Newcastle University, UK. Suzie previously worked at the University of Helsinki firstly as University Lecturer in Museum Studies and then as Associate Professor of Cultural Heritage Studies, before moving to the University of Antwerp to take up a Professorship in Heritage Studies from September 2021. She is interested in community heritage, museum studies and issues around difficult and contested heritage. She was PI of the Academy of Finland project “SuALT: The Finnish Archaeological Finds Recording Linked Open Database”.

Thomas'  research interests in community engagement with heritage relate to the goals of Team 3. She also has interests in the ethics around cultural property and curtailing the illicit trade in antiquities - a key ethical concern of ANEE and its research practices

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