Cale Johnson



I studied Assyriology, Comparative Semitics and Linguistics at UCLA, receiving my PhD in 2004, with a dissertation on applicative constructions in literary Sumerian. I moved to Berlin in late 2008 to work at Freie Universität Berlin and also taught for one year at Universiteit Leiden before coming to the University of Birmingham in 2018. My first book, Unaccusativity and the Double Object Construction in Sumerian, was published in 2010 and my second, in collaboration with M. Geller, The Class Reunion—An Annotated Translation and Commentary on the Sumerian Dialogue Two Scribes, in 2015. I served as Deputy Head of the BabMed Project at the Freie Universität Berlin (2012–2018), where I supervised the creation of the online corpora of therapeutic, diagnostic and physiognomic texts made available at the BabMed website.

Research interests

I am finishing up two projects, a new edition of Babylonian medical treatments for gastrointestinal disease, Gastrointestinal Disease and Its Treatment in Ancient Mesopotamia, and an edition of Middle Assyrian administrative archive M6. In future, I hope to continue my work on Babylonian medicine, while at the same preparing several new editions of Sumerian literary works.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I am currently supervising several PhD dissertation projects. I welcome research projects that focus on:

Sumerian language and literature
Babylonian medicine, pharmacology and physiognomy
Early Mesopotamian administrative and legal history
Linguistics / discourse analysis of the languages of the ancient Near East
Current PhD students
Muhsen Alyami
Eleanor Bennett
Guy Kirkham-Smith
Kerrie Myers