School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University
Dr. Stefania Ermidoro has extensively studied ancient Near Eastern History and Assyriology at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Using primary sources, particularly clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform writing, she mainly works on the cultural and material history of first millennium B.C. Mesopotamia. Dr. Ermidoro also investigates the rediscovery of the ancient Near Eastern cultures in modern times, an emerging field of research based on the identification, study and evaluation of unpublished or unexploited archival materials.
Dr. Ermidoro's project is entitled ‘Unfolding a Victorian Archive. The Layard Collection at Newcastle University’. Austen Henry Layard (1817-1894) was an archaeologist, collector and politician of the Victorian Age: he discovered and excavated two major Neo-Assyrian capital cities, Nineveh and Nimrud, in modern Iraq.
Dr. Ermidoro's research aims are to investigate some hitherto unknown aspects of his life, through an archive that has been recently acquired by Newcastle University and that has not been investigated yet. This collection has considerable historical value, because it contains evidence for Layard’s activities as ambassador to Madrid and Constantinople, as well as of his experience as an archaeologist in the Near East. The project will also elucidate the formation process of Layard’s manuscript collections held in some prominent British repositories, including the British Library in London and the National Library of Scotland.