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Professor receives Outstanding U.S. Dissertation Prize

History professor, Jonathan Tenney was awarded the Outstanding U.S. Dissertation Prize from the The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII) this fall for his contribution to the history of ancient Iraq.  According to TAARII, Tenney’s dissertation received superlative reviews from the panel. The award, which carries a prize of $1,500, will be announced in an upcoming newsletter produced by The Middle East Studies Association with a longer article in the spring TAARII newsletter.

Tenney's dissertaion, "Life at the Bottom of Babylonian Society: Servile Laborers at Nippur in the 14th and 13th Centuries B.C." is a study of a population of prisoners of war, captives, salves, and other very low status individuals who are well documented in demographic, occupational, and nutritional terms in unpublished Late Bonze Age cuneiform tablets from the city of Nippur in Babylonia. 

Its members were supported and tracked by the state and were forced to work for the government, religious institutions, and private individuals.  Some attempted to escape their plight, and there was a network of bounty hunters amd courts in place to capture and return escapees. 

The study considers considers what the quantitative data reveal about the demographics of the population , how a person entered the group, how the group was structured, what role they played in the economy, and what effect this new study has on the current understanding of the interactions of the major regional powers of the Near East during the Late Bronze Age.