Annarita Bonfanti

Visiting Assistant Professor 2023-25

Annarita S. Bonfanti is a Visiting Assistant Professor at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. She holds a BA and an MA in Classics from the University of Pavia, where she also received her PhD in History under the supervision of Professor Mauro Giorgieri (2022). She is interested in the history, philology, and culture of the Urartian Kingdom, and its relations with the neighbouring entities. She has conducted fieldwork in Turkey and Armenia, and she is currently a member of the AMSC (Archaeological Mission to Southern Caucasus).

Her doctoral dissertation explores the definition of Urartian culture, taking into account the philological and archaeological data; for this purpose, she had the opportunity to study several materials preserved in the Yeghegnadzor Regional Museum and in the History Museum of Armenia. Her current research concentrates on the reconstruction of the complex system of interconnections among ancient Near Eastern states in the 1st millennium BCE, with the main focus on the Urartian inscribed movable objects, which appear to be a particularly suitable way to conduct this analysis, as they bear evidence of influence and contacts between populations. The further focus on writing is pivotal, as it appears to be a central issue in Urartu: the cuneiform writing system was adapted from Assyria and used, apparently, exclusively by the Urartian royal dynasty throughout the whole history of the state, but the presence of a lesser understood “hieroglyphic” system, probably used by warehouse workers, adds a piece to the complex relations of the Urartian state with the Anatolian neighbours. Everything speaks in favour of an existing system of connections, which, with attentive analysis, appears to be wider than we previously thought.