Dr. Shai Gordin

Dr. Shai Gordin is a senior lecturer of Ancient Near-Eastern History and Digital Humanities at Ariel University, and a research associate at the DHSS Hub. Gordin is an epigraphist and historian of cuneiform texts, and head of the Digital Pasts Lab, where he and his students conduct research in the computational analysis of ancient texts and artefacts, digital history, ancient language processing (ALP), Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for complex scripts, and reconstructed virtual heritage in 3D. He is the principal investigator of the Babylonian Engine project (Ministry of Science grant 2019-2022), which focuses on creating a human-in-the-loop pipeline for ancient cuneiform languages. He also leads the MAPA project (ISF 2019-2022), which reconstructs the geographical network of ancient Babylonia through linked data, and is a partner in the Pelagios network.

The results of his research on ancient language processing in Akkadian and cuneiform include automatic transliteration and segmentation (PLOS ONE 2020), text restoration (PNAS 2020), and machine translation (PNAS nexus 2023). Gordin's publications include Hittite Scribal Circles: Scholarly Tradition and Writing Habits (Harrassowitz, 2015), and several edited volumes and guest editorships in journals. The most prominent of these are Priest and Priesthood in the Ancient Near East: Social, Intellectual and Economic Aspects (with M. Jursa, Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 19, 2019), People and Places in the Near East of the First Millennium BCE: A Tribute to Ran Zadok (with U. Gabbay, De Gruyter 2021), and A Digital Ancient Near East: Challenges and Opportunities (with A. de Freitas, H2D: Digital Humanities Journal 3/1, 2021).

Gordin is the co-initiator of the Digital Ancient Near Eastern Studies Network (DANES); the co-organizer of its first international conference; and serves on the editorial board of OpenDANES, its online platform. He co-organized the ALP workshop at RANLP2023, and the first international shared task of ancient cuneiform languages translation at the Ancient Language Translation workshop at MT-SUMMIT2023. He currently serves on the editorial board of PLOS ONE.