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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I completed my BA in Human, Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge, specialising in the Assyriology track, taking papers in Akkadian Language, Mesopotamian Archaeology, Literature, and Religion and Scholarship. My dissertation then examined interpretations of male relationships in the Epic of Gilgamesh, such as the ambiguity of perceived homoeroticism, then offering comparison with the Iliad. I then continued at Cambridge with an Assyriology MPhil, writing coursework papers on nonsense literature in Mesopotamia and the peculiarities of the Akkadian word melammu. My end-of-year thesis focused on how journeys are used as a narrative device in the Epic of Gilgamesh, drawing on narratological interpretation of the Odyssey for further insight.

During my PhD, I seek to expand on the interdisciplinary approach towards literary comparison, using other fields to enrich an understanding of the Mesopotamian material. Focus will be given to changes in the ‘hero’ identity, looking at different cultural paradigms for comparison, as well as the shifting perspectives of the Mesopotamian world over time.

Other academic interests

  • Akkadian philology
  • Mesopotamian scholarship
  • Literary nonsense
  • Representations of AD(H)D in the Ancient World


Department: Archaeology
Supervisor: Dr Martin Worthington
College: Trinity Hall
AHRC Subject Area: Archaeology
Thesis Title (Preliminary): 'Mesopotamia: A View from World Literature'
 Alex Reina Barker