Institute of Archaeology


Ofelia Tychon

Urban sustainability and imperial collapse: the case of the fall of Assyria

Picture of Ofelia Tychon wearing sun glasses looking straight at the camera

Email:   ofelia.tychon.23@ucl.ac.uk

Section: World Archaeology



Ofelia’s research is focussed on the economic and social aspects of history and archaeology of the Near East during the first millennium BCE, particularly the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Empires.

Her doctoral thesis will assess the sustainability of the economy of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and how its level of resilience may have contributed to the collapse of Assyria in 612 BCE.

Using an agent-based modelling approach, she is looking to estimate the total cultivated land required to sustain the Assyrian population, particularly in its capital city Nineveh, as well as its heartland more broadly, under a variety of agricultural productivity and climate scenarios. Ofelia will be utilising a variety of data, including settlement patterns, environmental degradation, paleoclimatic data, field productivity, population growth, transportation and storage capabilities and agricultural strategies. Additionally, she is going to data mine relevant textural sources for additional economic data. The aim is not only to determine when the situation could become unsustainable and potentially contribute to Assyria’s collapse, thus augmenting our overall understanding of collapse and importance of sustainability in the success and failure of human societies, but also to gain a more thorough understanding of the late Assyrian economic structure.

Ofelia’s earlier research has centred around Babylonian women of the entrepreneur class during the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid periods.


  • BComm, Finance, University of Calgary, 2009
  • MBA, Queen’s University, 2012
  • MA, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of Toronto, 2023
Conference Papers

Tychon, O. 2023. “Breaking the ‘Glass Walls’: Babylonian Women’s Mobility and Independence, 626–484 BCE”. 68th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Leiden, the Netherlands.