Congratulations: To Sergio Alivernini

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It is our pleasure to congratulate Sergio Alivernini, who was recently appointed research fellow at the Oriental Institute in Prague! Alivernini, who has previously held positions in Rome and Heidelberg, will be working in Prague on the waterways of the Ur III and Old Babylonian period.

Alivernini is an Assyriologist who specializes in Sumerology, with a particular focus on the Third Dynasty of Ur. He studied at the Sapienza University of Rome, where he obtained his Master and Doctoral degrees in Assyriology, working on social and economic history and focusing on the administration structure called “mar-sa”, or shipyard.

His book, “La struttura amministrativa del mar-sa nella documentazione della Terza Dinastia di Ur,” (a revised version of his dissertation), explains the administrative management of the shipyard and the workers in charge of the construction and restoration of ships and boats. The result has been an overall analysis of the relationship between the “mar-sa” and other institutions, such as the orchards and mill.

His analysis made it clear that the “mar-sa” not only functioned as a shipyard, but also as a site for storing materials and technicians that could be employed in many other administrative organizations. This research expounds on the methods of administrative management dealing with circulating workers, materials, and resources among different institutions in a Sumerian city of the third millennium BC.

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During his doctoral studies, he spent 6 months at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Madrid, and worked on unpublished materials kept in the British Museum. Moreover, he took part in an international project in the city of Nasiriyah (Dhi Qar Province, southern Iraq) financed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: this project, a collaboration with Iraqi scholars in both the fields of Computer Science and Humanities, established scholastic and technical systems and methods to manage and develop the local cultural heritage.

After completing his Ph.D., and following his interest in the function and practice of Sumerian administration, Alivernini developed a project studying the use of mathematical knowledge in administrative management of land and labor of the Ur III period. In the frame of this project, Alivernini worked in Heidelberg in 2013, financed by a German scholarship from Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and in Rome in 2015- 2016, financed by another German scholarship from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung.

As of the end of 2016, he joined the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague working on a project mapping the river and maritime routes of boats and ships in Mesopotamia between the Ur III and Old Babylonian periods. He is also involved in two archaeological projects in southern Iraq: the excavation of the Abu Tubairah site, and the monitoring of the Eridu site for excavation as a member the AMEr Project (the Iraqi-Italian Archaeological Mission at Eridu).

It only remains to say: congratulations, and good luck!

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