Jesper Eidem’s work focuses specifically on the interaction between information from textual sources and information from material culture, such as can be found in archaeological sources. His most important field of interest is the history of northern Mesopotamia during the Bronze and Iron ages (around 3000-500 BC).
In his current research project Van Iran tot de Eufrates ('From Iran to the Euphrates'), Eidem is analysing the politics, geography and ideology of an early Mesopotamian empire that was ruled by King Shamsi-Adad (around 1833-1776 BC). This kingdom covered large areas of northern Iraq and Syria. The rise, organisation and fall of this state, which existed for a very short period, is exceptionally well-documented. Cuneiform texts have been excavated at various places within the borders of the empire. Together with a number of other sources, these texts form the basis for the first comprehensive analysis of the strategies that were used in this early attempt to form an interregional state in the Near East. Eidem is also examining the impact the empire had on local communities.
Jesper Eidem has been director of the Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO) since 2009. Before this, he was an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen and a senior researcher at the Free University of Berlin. He has also supervised several excavation projects in Syria. Eidem is chief editor of the journal Bibliotheca Orientalis and a member of the editorial staff of PIHANS and Anatolica. He has received various research grants during his career, including an investment grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).