By Claire Young
Shiyanthi Thavapalan (PhD ’18) won the prestigious International Association of Assyriologist’s Dissertation Award for her thesis The Meaning of Color in Ancient Mesopotamia. Her work offers the first in-depth study of words and expressions for colors in Akkadian (c. 2500-500 BCE), debunking myths that Mesopotamians had limited use of color in artwork and aesthetics. Her interdisciplinary use of anthropology, philology, and scientific analysis has allowed for this breakthrough in Near East studies. Thavapalan is now a visiting assistant professor at Brown University working on a new project, Mimicking Beauty: Glass and Textile Industries in the Ancient Near East.