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This week I had the pleasure of participating as a teacher in the Digital Applications in Assyriology Summer School, hosted by Uppsala University, in collaboration with ANEE at the University of Helsinki.

The staff and students of DAA 2022

I was one of six teachers: Rune Rattenborg, Seraina Nett, Aleksi Sahala, Stefan Smith, and Lena Tambs. We had 12 students attend from all over Europe – France, Belgium, and Denmark were all represented!

Me teaching Python

I was asked to give a Python 101 module, where I introduced the students to the programming language Python. Then I took them through a piece of code that opened a .txt file and did some simple statistical analysis.

I also gave a longer module where I introduced the Lexical Network Analysis method developed by ANEE in Helsinki. I gave a basic introduction to word co-occurrences, and Aleksi Sahala talked them through the basics of Pointwise Mutual Information. Then I walked the students through the workflow with a case study. I asked them to make and analyse networks to explore the semantic domain of animals in Neo-Assyrian texts.

The students now have a week to work on their assignments. They need to choose a small project that would use the applications they were introduced to during the week (html markup; Tableau; OpenRefine; Python; R; QGIS; Github; Gephi), and write up their methods.

My favourite photo of me telling the students my experiences with Python

I was so proud to hear that a third of the students wanted to use Python in their projects! Even better, at least two wanted to do some sort of lexical analysis of their data!

I had a wonderful time, and I’m so grateful for being invited to teach in a wonderful environment surrounded by excellent people. I hope this happens again next year, as I can only see this becoming more and more useful for future Assyriology students.

All photos were taken by Rune Rattenborg, and shared with permission.


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