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Jaakko Frösén

Jaakko Lars Henrik Frösén
Born January 9, 1944, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1967 (Greek literature), Roman literature, psychology, general linguistics (1968), Licentiate 1969 (Greek language and literature, Latin and Roman literature) and PhD 1974, University of Helsinki

Emeritus professor 2012–, University of Helsinki
Acting professor of Greek philology 1999–2011, University of Helsinki
Senior Research Fellow and Academy Professor 1992–99 and 2006, Academy of Finland
Director of the Finnish Institute at Athens 1988–92
Acting professor of Greek language and literature 1985, University of Helsinki
Junior Academy Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow 1981–88, Academy of Finland
Research assistant in Greek language and literature 1977–81, University of Helsinki
Commissioner of the Council of Finnish Academies 1977
Acting associate professor of Classical philology 1976, University of Turku
Research assistant in Greek literature 1974–76, University of Helsinki
Lecturer in Classical philology 1971–73, University of Turku
Research assistant in Roman literature 1970, University of Helsinki
Acting lecturer in Latin 1969, University of Oulu
Part-time teaching positions at schools, universities, summer universities and colleges (Latin, Greek, Italian, sociolinguistics, Classical archaeology) 1967–

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Research themes
Greek sociolinguistic research
The conservation and publication of papyri, particularly carbonised papyri or papyrus scrolls.
The Mount Aaron archaeological excavations, Petra
Mediaeval scrips of the patriarchate of Alexandria (conservation, digitalisation and codification)
Prolegomena to a Study of the Greek Language in the First Centuries A.D. – The problem of Koiné and Atticism 1974 (doctoral dissertation)
Publication of papyrus texts in collaboration with others 1979–
Numerous articles, book reviews and publications, textbooks, audio recordings, video, radio and television programmes and exhibitions. In addition an expert guide on more than 100 trips to the eastern Mediterranean.

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Jaakko Frösén (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Archaeological Digs at Mount Aaron in Petra

Between 1997 and 2007, Finnish archaeologists conducted research at the Jabal an-Nabi Harun (“Mountain of the Prophet Aaron” in Arabic), which is located about 3 miles from the centre of the ruined city of Petra. In Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions, the mountain is considered to be the burial site of Aaron, the older brother of Moses. At the top of the mountain, a small Muslim shrine was built in the 14th century on the ruins of a church. Sources reveal that there was both a church and a monastery on the mountain, but it is not known for certain exactly when the Christians abandoned the location. It seems most likely that this only occurred after the Crusades.

Jaakko Frösén on top of Mount Aaron in 2005. 70 metres below him are the archaeological digs at the pilgrimage centre of Aaron. Photo by Christina Danielli.

Research is concentrated on the ruins below the Muslim shrine, which at 1250 metres above sea level cover an area of 3000 square metres. Explorers who have previously visited the site have assumed the ruins to have been those of a Byzantine monastery.

The Project began when Finnish papyrus researchers started opening and reading carbonised papyrus scrolls found in the ruins of the church in Petra. One of the papyri from 573 AD mentions that “the house of the high priest Aaron” is located outside the city. The text therefore mentions the pilgrimage centre of Aaron, or the monastery.

The aim of the project has been to dig and restore the structures of the monastery and publish material that is of archaeological interest. The project has also performed archaeological inventory surveys and geological research in the area surrounding the mountain. The results can be divided into three categories: understanding the characteristics and range of the monastery on the mountain, topographical research of the monastery and its environs as well as the historical study of the people who lived there, and determining the connections the area had to the nearby city of Petra.

The first part of the results of this research was published in 2008 and the third in 2013. The second part will be finished last, in 2015. After the structures have been conserved and covered, the site will be opened to tourists.

Three-dimensional virtual models have been created of the ruined site and its reconstruction, and they are included in the appendix of the final publications. Collaboration between archaeologists and technical experts (cartography) was a unique endeavour.

Jaakko Frösén in the Siq, the narrow entrance to the city of Petra. In the background can be seen Al-Khazneh, or the Treasury. Photo: Simopekka Virkkula 2000.

A popular and much talked about Petra exhibition was held in 2002 in Helsinki, at the Amos Anderson Art Museum. In conjunction with the exhibition, a book titled Antiikin kadonnut kaupunki (Edited by Erko Mikkola, Amos Anderson, Helsinki, 2002) was published in Finnish and Swedish. The English version was titled Petra – A City Forgotten and Rediscovered (edited by Jaakko Frösén and Zbigniew T. Fiema, Amos Anderson, Helsinki, 2002).

Paula Kouki successfully defended her archaeological and geological doctoral dissertation titled The Hinterland of a City. Rural Settlement and Land Use in the Petra Region from the Nabataean-Roman to the Islamic Period at the University of Helsinki in 2012. She applied new methods in landscape archaeology to her research.

Monastery on Mount Aaron

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