ISAW Commencement 2022

By Marc LeBlanc

Two ISAW graduates posing together in front of a fireplaceLorenzo Castellano and David Danzig successfully defended their doctoral dissertations during spring 2022 and graduated in May 2022. The ISAW community celebrated Lorenzo and David's accomplishments at an in-person graduation ceremony and reception on April 29, 2022. The official conferral of their doctoral degrees took place on May 18, 2022, at the NYU All-University Commencement at Yankee Stadium. We are extremely proud of ISAW’s May 2022 graduating class!

Our PhD Graduates

Lorenzo Castellano speaking at the lectern in ISAW lecture hallLorenzo Castellano received a BA in Cultural Heritage Sciences and an MA in Archaeology from the University of Milan. Lorenzo has received several prestigious fellowships and grants, including the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship (2020-21), the NYU Antonina S. Ranieri International Scholars Fund Award (2016), and the P.E. MacAllister Fellowship of the American School of Oriental Research (2015). During his time at ISAW, Lorenzo's research has been divided between archaeological excavations and archaeobotanical lab work. Since 2015, he has directed excavations on the southern slope of the mound of Niğde-Kınık Höyük (Turkey). He has established new archaeobotanical lab resources, facilitated interdepartmental collaborations across NYU, and taught a course in the NYU Department of Anthropology for three years running. Lorenzo has authored or co-authored numerous publications, including recent articles in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Antiquity, and Near Eastern Archaeology. In addition, he was selected to serve as a Class Representative at the NYU-GSAS Doctoral Convocation and a Banner Bearer at NYU's All-University Commencement.

Lorenzo's doctoral dissertation, which he defended on April 29, 2022, is entitled "Farming the Land of Hatti: A Socio-economic History of Agriculture in Central Anatolia from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Period." According to his advisor, Prof. Lorenzo d'Alfonso, "the works that Lorenzo has published in the last few years, while being a student at ISAW, on climate, environmental change, and archaeobotany of Anatolia are already reference work in the field of western Asian archaeology. But the dissertation offers a much more complex view, setting the changes visible in the study of plant remains within the most general setting of socio-political developments of an entire macroregion. In this respect the work is unique."

This fall, Lorenzo will begin a Postdoctoral Lectureship at NYU in the Department of Anthropology and at ISAW.

David Danzig speaking at the lectern in ISAW lecture hallDavid Danzig received a BA in Physics and MA in Biblical Studies from Yeshiva University and an MA in Assyriology from Yale University. David is the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization Save Ancient Studies Alliance (SASA). During his time at ISAW, he was the organizer of the ISAW conference "Melting Bowl or Salad Pot?: Identity Dynamics of Migrants to State/Imperial Heartlands Through the Ages" (November 2019) and the co-organizer of the SASA/Digital Hammurabi conference "Opening the Ancient World: A Free Public Virtual Conference" (August 2021). In addition, David is the creator, grant writer, and lead researcher of a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project entitled “Shanati: Reconstructing the Daily Ancient Babylonian Chronology in Synchronization with the Proleptic Julian Calendar” (Principal Investigator: Alexander Jones).

David's ISAW doctoral dissertation, which he defended on March 30, 2022, is entitled “Identities in Contact: New Paths for Uncovering Immigrant History and Identity Trajectories in the 1st Millennium BCE.” According to his advisor, Prof. Beate Pongratz-Leisten, "David has made the most of what ISAW has to offer to our students and taken on all opportunities—intellectual and communal—to prepare himself for a professional career." Regarding his dissertation, Prof. Pongratz-Leisten notes that "his work is a pioneering model for the way digital humanities should be applied to the study of ancient history, as it goes far beyond mere crunching of statistical information and combines it with philological and historical research."

After commencement, David is continuing in his role as Lead Researcher of the NEH-funded Shanati project at ISAW.

Crowd of people clapping in the lectern in ISAW lecture hall ISAW community and guests celebrating the graduates in the lecture hall at ISAW.

ISAW community lining up for food at commencement reception ISAW community lining up for food at the reception.

ISAW graduates posing together in front of a fireplace along with ISAW's founder, director, and director emeritus ISAW graduate Lorenzo Castellano, Director Emeritus Roger Bagnall, Founder Shelby White, Director Alexander Jones, and gradute David Danzig.

Members of ISAW community lifting their champagne glasses for a toast with one of the graduates and a friend in the foreground Members of ISAW community lifting their champagne glasses for a toast with ISAW graduate Lorenzo Castellano and fellow doctoral student Amber Jacob in the foreground.