Shiyanthi Thavapalan was awarded Ph.D. degree from Yale University in December 2017. She studied history at York University in Canada (B.A. 2009) and Near Eastern history and Assyriology at Yale University (M.A. 2011). Her Master’s thesis, “Travelling Deities: The Blessing Formula In Neo-Assyrian Letters,” discussed the theological and political implications of the particular choice of gods invoked in letters from the first millennium B.C. Her doctoral dissertation explores the relationship between color perception, color cognition and color naming in ancient Mesopotamia through textual analysis and the examination of samples of ancient coloration.
Shiyanthi was a visiting scholar at the Institut für die Kulturen des Alten Orients at the University of Tübingen during the academic year 2014-2015. She is the recipient of the Graduate Curatorial Fellowship at the Yale University Art Gallery (2015-2016) and the Michael and Sophie Rostovtzeff Travel Fellowship in Archaeology (2014). Her research interests are polychromy in ancient sculpture, ancient technologies (glass, dyes, pigments), Mesopotamian cultural and economic history and ancient color language.