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Department of Archaeology

 

Biography

My research is directed towards a better understanding of the social, economic, institutional, and ideological forces that affected Mesopotamian populations and the frameworks and contexts in which Mesopotamians made basic life choices. It also considers the epistemological underpinnings of Assyriological investigations into socio-economic matters and the transmission of knowledge across time and space. Most of the evidence I use dates to the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages, but I have also written on the Middle Assyrian, Neo-Assyrian and Ur III periods. 

I hold BAs in History and Anthropology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and I completed a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago under the guidance of J. A. Brinkman. In 2009, I was awarded the dissertation of the year prize from The American Academic Research Institutes of Iraq.

Research

Much of my research is based upon the extraction of data using the traditional research methodologies of Assyriology—e.g., philology, lexicography, archival studies, and prosopography—which is then analysed with methodologies first developed for other fields, such as quantitative studies, comparative history, historical demography, intellectual history, microhistory, and political science theory. 

Some of the topics on which I have written include:

-Population dynamics, socio-legal institutions, and labour capital in Babylonia.

-The family structure, and legal status of servile people.

-Mesopotamian religious, political, and intellectual expression, especially with respect to the so-called "elevated Marduk dogma". 

-Legal, epistolary, and administrative intertextuality in cuneiform texts.

-The epistemology of Assyriological knowledge. 

Key Publications

Key publications: 

BOOKS

-Administrative Reality and Scribal Apparatus in the Kassite Period. Harvard Semitic Studies. Leiden: Brill. (Coming 2021)

-Life at the Bottom of Babylonian Society: Servile Laborers at Nippur in the 14thand 13thCenturies B.C.Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 51. Leiden: Brill, 2011.

ARTICLES

-“Babylonian Populations, Servility, and Cuneiform Records."

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 60/6

(2017): 1–73. 

-“The Elevation of Marduk Revisited: Festivals and Sacrifices at Nippur during the High Kassite Period.” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 68 (2016): 153–80.

-“Uruk in Southern Babylonia under the Kassite Kings” in Uruk–Altorientalische Metropole und Kulturzentrum,in Colloquien der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 9 (2021).

Publication

Book chapters

2022 (No publication date)

  • Tenney, J., 2022 (No publication date). Kassite, Kassites
  • Tenney, J., 2022 (No publication date). Kassite Dynasty
  • Tenney, J., 2022 (No publication date). Demography, Ancient Near East.
  • Tenney, J., 2022 (No publication date). A Servile Population in Kassite Nippur: A Brief Overview
  • Tenney, J., 2022 (No publication date). Household Structure and Population Dynamics in the Middle Babylonian Provincial ‘Slave’ Population
  • Tenney, J. and Widell, M., 2022 (No publication date). Staple Production, Cultivation, and Sedentary Life: Model Input Data
  • Tenney, J. and Widell, M., 2022 (No publication date). Household and Village in Early Mesopotamia
  • Tenney, J., 2022 (No publication date). Babylonia. History
  • 2021

  • Tenney, J., 2021. Uruk in Southern Babylonia under the Kassite Kings
  • Journal articles

    2022 (No publication date)

  • Tenney, J., 2022 (No publication date). Additions and Corrections to CHANE 51 N.A.B.U.,
  • 2017

  • Tenney, JS., 2017. Babylonian Populations, Servility, and Cuneiform Records Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, v. 60
    Doi: 10.1163/15685209-12341440
  • 2016

  • Tenney, JS., 2016. The Elevation of Marduk Revisited: Festivals and Sacrifices at Nippur during the High Kassite Period Journal of Cuneiform Studies, v. 68
    Doi: 10.5615/jcunestud.68.2016.0153
  • Books

    2022 (No publication date)

  • Tenney, J., 2022 (No publication date). Administrative Reality and Scribal Apparatus in the Kassite Period
  • 2011

  • Tenney, JS., 2011. Life at the Bottom of Babylonian Society Servile Laborers at Nippur in the 14th and 13th Centuries B.C.
  • 2009

  • Tenney, JS., 2009. Life at the Bottom of Babylonian Society Servile Laborers at Nippur in the 14th and 13th Centuries B.C.
  • Teaching and Supervisions

    Teaching: 

    My primary teaching duties include all levels of Akkadian and Sumerian Language, as well as content surveys on Mesopotamian beliefs, thought, and society. 

    M1/G30 Babylonian Language I/ Introduction to Babylonian

    M4/G33 Intermediate Babylonian/ Intermediate Akkadian Language and Texts

    M5/G34 Advanced Babylonian with Assyrian/Advanced Akkadian Language and Texts

    M2/G31 Mesopotamian Culture I: literature

    M3/G32 Mesopotamian Culture II: religion and scholarship

     

     

    Research supervision: 

    I welcome advising students with an interest in Assyriology and Mesopotamia. Most interesting to me are students whose work crosses disciplinary lines yet prioritizes textual acumen and working with original sources.

    Job Titles

    Assistant Professor in Assyriology
    Fellow of Jesus College

    General Info

    Takes PhD students
    Available for consultancy
    Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
    Assyriology and Mesopotamian Languages

    Contact Details

    Department of Archaeology
    jt812 [at] cam.ac.uk
    Cambridge
    CB2 3DZ

    Affiliations

    Person keywords: 
    Assyriology, Mesopotamia, Cuneiform, Akkadian, Sumerian
    Subjects: 
    Assyriology and Mesopotamian Archaeology
    Themes: 
    Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
    Material Culture
    Geographical areas: 
    Mesopotamia and the Near East
    Periods of interest: 
    Copper/Bronze Age
    Iron Age