VOA | Ancient Near East research group

In the wake of the tradition of the former CNR institutes engaged in the studies on the Ancient Near East, the ISPC conducts archaeological and philological research on crucial historical issues, at the forefront of the international scene, which is now crossed by strongly innovative trends.

The wide range of skills of the VOA Group’s members enable fruitful collaborations with colleagues from other institutions in Italy and abroad. Their research lines and projects encompass broad geographical and chronological horizons.

In the northernmost area, the researches focus on cuneiform texts and the material culture of pre-classical Anatolia, while in the southernmost region, pre-Islamic inscriptions from the Arabian Peninsula are investigated. In the central areas of the Near East, archaeological and art-historical studies are devoted to the cultures of Mesopotamia. Further west, the Levant is the subject of Assyriological and archaeological research, from Syria to Cyprus to the Egyptian Delta.

From a chronological point of view, the time span concerned is very wide, from the 3rd millennium BC to the mid-1st millennium AD . In fact, the research not only continues to cover the periods traditionally investigated by the CNR, i.e. the Late Bronze and Iron Ages, but it has further extended to include both the Ancient and Middle Bronze Ages and Late Antiquity.

Two aspects of the ISPC’s VOA group, both characterised by an interdisciplinary approach, should be highlighted. The first concerns the increasing attention to the use of innovative technologies and their integration in archaeological and philological investigations. The second is the strong interest in the history of Near Eastern studies, which includes research based on archival materials and the study of archaeological collections.

The main lines of research can be summarised as follows:

  • Surveys and archaeological excavations in Turkey and Egypt.
  • Study of Indo-European and Semitic languages and analysis of the different forms of writing, sources and media.
  • Analysis of material production and craftsmanship and study of the diversification of specialisations and of cultural heritage as material evidence.
  • Study of the Near Eastern collections in public and private museums in Italy and abroad for the purposes of conservation, valorisation and communication.
  • History of archaeological, philological and historical studies on the ancient Near East and their reception in modern and contemporary societies.
  • Study and application of digital methodologies and technologies for the analysis, cataloguing and publication of material and textual sources from the Ancient Near East.

The ISPC publishes the series Documenta Asiana. Collana di studi sull’Anatolia e l’Asia Anteriore Antica, established in 1994.

VOA Staff


Gruppo VOA

Silvia Alaura

Gruppo VOA

Marco Bonechi

Gruppo VOA

Gian Luca Bonora

Gruppo VOA

Giuseppina Capriotti

Gruppo VOA

Anacleto D'Agostino

Gruppo VOA

Stefania Ermidoro

Gruppo VOA

Alessandra Lazzari

Gruppo VOA

Federico Manuelli

Gruppo VOA

Silvana Di Paolo

Gruppo VOA

Tatiana Pedrazzi

Gruppo VOA

Luca Peyronel

Gruppo VOA

Fabio Porzia



Research Associates

Amalia Catagnoti (Università degli Studi di Firenze), Elisabetta Cianfanelli (Università degli Studi di Firenze), Maria Cristina Guidotti (Museo Archeologico di Firenze), Stefano Gusmano (Università Roma Due Tor Vergata), Bruno Marcolongo (IRPI, CNR, Padova), Agnese Vacca (Università degli Studi di Milano), Ryan D. Winters (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena).

How to contact us

Projects and Research activities

For further information on ISPC research activities click the button.

CNR ISPC Projects

Main collaborations

  • Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Altorientalistik
  • Sapienza Università di Roma, Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità
  • Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento SAGAS
  • Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Studi letterari, filologici e linguistici
  • Università degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento di Studi Storici
  • University of Oxford, Faculty of Oriental Studies
  • Accademia dei Lincei – Fondazione Leone Caetani
  • CNRS (UMR 8546 AOROC – École normale supérieure, Paris; UMR 8167 ‒ Orient & Méditerranée; UMR 5133 – Archéorient)
  • Istituto di Cultura Italiana al Cairo
  • Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale (MAECI)
  • Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities ‒ Arab Republic of Egypt
  • Soprintendenza Archeologica della Toscana
  • Museo Archeologico, Firenze
  • Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid

Main publications

S. Alaura, Reassessing the Legacy of Victorian Orientalists: Ongoing Research of the GRISSO Project, “News from the Lands of the Hittites. Scientific Journal for Anatolian Research”, 2, 2018, 105-109.

S. Alaura, The Much-Fabled End of the Hittite Empire. Tracing the History of a Crucial Topic, in S. de Martino, E. Devecchi (eds.), Anatolia between the 13th and the 12th Century B.C.E. (International Congress, Turin, January 22-23, 2019), Eothen 23, Firenze 2020, 9-30.

M. Arbach, I. Rossi, Haram, cité antique du Jawf (Yémen): quelques bribes de dix siècles d’histoire et nouveaux textes amīrites, “Semitica et Classica”, 13, 2020, 19-47.

M. Bonechi, Data and Problems Concerning the Intercalary Month in the Ebla Palace G Texts (with Special Focus on MEE 2 39 and 40), in W. Sommerfeld (ed.), Dealing with Antiquity: Past, Present & Future. RAI Marburg, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 460, Münster 2020, 101-164.

S. Di Paolo, The Copy is More. The Inquiry on the “Unstable” Original-Copy Relation. Theoretical Foundations and Application Contexts; Copies and Degrees of Similarities: Accuracy in the Mimesis and its Violations in the Ancient Near East, in S. Di Paolo (ed.), The Power of Implementing Meanings of the Copy between Past, Present and Future. An Overview from the Ancient Near East, AVO 19, Münster 2018, 29-70.

S. Di Paolo, Personhood, Senses and Artefacts: Tactile and Visual Experience in Perceiving the Immaterial Materially, in D. Nadali, F. Pinnock (eds.), Sensing the Past. Detecting the Use of the Five Senses in Ancient Near Eastern Contexts, Rome 2020, 167-181.

M. Frangipane, F. Di Filippo, F. Manuelli, L. Mori, Collapse or Transformation? Regeneration and Innovation at the Turn of the 1st millennium BC at Arslantepe, Turkey, “Antiquity Project Gallery” 362, 2018, 1-7.

F. Manuelli, Drifting Southward? Tracing Aspects of Cultural Continuity and Change in the Late 2nd Millennium BC Syro-Anatolian Region, “Studia Eblaitica”, 4, 2018, 139-186.

T. Pedrazzi, Canaanite Jars and the Maritime Trade Network in the Northern Levant during the Transition from the Late Bronze to Early Iron Age, in A.B. Knapp, S. Demesticha (eds.), Maritime Transport Containers in the Bronze-Iron Age Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, SIMA PB 183, Uppsala 2016, 57-77.

I. Rossi, The Minaeans beyond Maʿīn, in O. Elmaz, J. Watson, Languages of Southern Arabia. Supplement to the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 44, Oxford 2014, 111-123.