The Achaemenid or Persian empire dominated much of the modern Middle East and Central Asia from the 6th century BC down to its conquest by Alexander the Great in the 320s BC. It was characterised by vast linguistic and cultural diversity because of the many regions it absorbed. This predominantly French language website (with some German translations), produced by the Collège de France in association with the Ministère de l'Education nationale and the Ministère de la Recherche, is a major electronic resource for the study of the history, literature and archaeology of the Persian Empire and surrounding areas. The online resources include: the Journal of Achaemenid Studies and Researches (JASR); Achaemenid Research on Texts and Archaeology (ARTA); The Bulletin d'Histoire Achéménide, a major source of bibliographic information on recent Achaemenid studies; NABU, a series of scholarly papers; a major corpus of cuneiform Persian texts arranged by editor which will eventually be fully searchable by date, reign, find spot and text type. In addition, the site provides a rich mine of information on archaeological sites (with maps, plans and images and links to external websites), as well as corpora of Egyptian, Anatolian and Aramaic texts and sections on coinage and glyptic. Many of the texts can be easily navigated as Acrobat files and some of the papers require the ability to download large images. This is an indispensable source of information for advanced students and researchers working on the history and archaeology of the ancient Near East in the middle of the first millennium BC.
This is the official website of the Italian association of orientalists, scholars who study the ancient Near East. The website publishes information on the association and how to submit a CV or personal information to be published in "OrientaLista", a list of (mostly Italian) orientalists. The "Orientalia" publishes short reports; reviews; bibliographies; pre-prints; and papers; most files are in PDF format, and written in Italian or English. Among such contents are: "Wisdom Literature and Proverbs 1-9: A Bibliography"; "The Ugaritic Poems of Keret and Aqhat: A Bibliography"; "The So-Called ‘Jehoash Inscription’: Transcription and Bibliography"; "Magic and Divination in the Neo-Assyrian Period: A Selected Bibliography"; "Archaeometry of a Stone Tablet with Hebrew Inscription Referring to Repair of the House"; "Review of Gérard Toffin, Entre hindouisme et bouddhisme: la religion néwar, Népal"; "The Construction of Biblical Monotheism: An Unfinished Task"; "I colori nell’astrologia mesopotamica".
The association also organises some learned meetings; some information on recent meetings is provided on this website. In section "Orientalia" are also available the free and full-text PDF editions of the proceedings of such meetings, including Le discipline orientalistiche come scienze storiche. Atti del 1º Incontro «Orientalisti» (Roma, 6-7 Dicembre 2001), edited by Giuseppe Regalzi; "Mutuare, interpretare, tradurre: storie di culture a confronto. Atti del 2º Incontro «Orientalisti» (Roma, 11-13 dicembre 2002)", edited by Giuseppe Regalzi; and "Definirsi e definire: percezione, rappresentazione e ricostruzione dell’identità. Atti del 3º Incontro «Orientalisti» (Roma, 23-25 febbraio 2004)", edited by Massimo Gargiulo, Chiara Peri and Giuseppe Regalzi. Researchers specialising on the ancient Near East will find this website useful.
The Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project (Melammu) is an international academic research project focusing on Mesopotamia between the 13th century and the advent of the Islamic period. This website publishes some information about the project and the full database produced as part of the Melammu research project. The encyclopaedic entries (about 4,000 at the time of review) are referenced and can be browsed or searched by keyword. The arguments are divided according to religious and ideological doctrines and imagery; religious and ideological symbols and iconographic motifs; religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices; religious and philosophical literature and poetry; scientific knowledge and scholarly lore; visual arts and architecture; crafts and economy; administrative systems; army and warfare; judiciary and legislature; language, communication, libraries and education; and Assyrian Identity. There is also a bibliographic database and the authors welcome submissions of new entries in either database by filling the appropriate forms in the website.
Several symposia have been organised by the Melammu team; information on past and forthcoming symposia, as well as related publications, are available selecting "Melammu Symposia". All papers presented in the past symposia that have been published are are also available online in PDF format. The volumes include "The Heirs of Assyria"; "Mythology and Mythologies"; "Ideologies as Intercultural Phenomena"; "Schools of Oriental Studies and the Development of Modern Historiography"; and " Commerce and Monetary Systems in the Ancient World". This website may be useful to both researchers and students.
The British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara (BIAA) was founded in 1948 and serves to support, promote, and publish British research into the archaeology and related subjects of Turkey and the Black Sea region. The Institute funds a variety of research projects, most of which have links from the site. Grants and awards are available for undergraduate level study upwards.The website provides information about the facilities and funding the Institute can offer. There are also sections on upcoming events and conferences and recent publications. Membership details and conditions are described. Those embarking on the study of Anatolian archaeology or anthropology should consider membership of the Institute.
The "Centro ricerche archeologiche e scavi di Torino" focuses on research in the Middle East and publishes on its official website short illustrated reports of its field activities. The reports are available selecting "progetti" from the menu on the top and then "progetti di ricerca". It is possible to access the individual reports by browsing by name or using a convenient map. Reports are available for excavations carried out in Italy (GIS survey of the Verbano, Cusio and Ossola area; virtual reconstruction of a Greek capitel from the Greek temple at Marasí , Locri Epizefiri; temple E of Selinunte); Tunisia (Carthage; Colonia Iulia Pietas Tertiadecimanorum Uthina); Lebanon (Beirut); Jordan (Jerash); Iraq (Seleucia on the Tigris; Choche; Nimrud; Hatra; Hamrin dam; Kifrin; Eski Mosul dam; Ninive; museum of Baghdad); Iran; Turkmenistan (Nisa - Mithradatkert); Pakistan (Udegram). Most reports are just introductions to the research projects and contain limited useful information. Among the most interesting and referenced reports are those of Carthage, focusing on the ancient harbours of the Punic town, between the second and third Punic war (202-146 BC); Nisa, focusing on clay figurines, rhyta, marble and metal sculptures; Seleucia, focusing on clay figurines, ceramics, seals and architectural structures such as the archives, the stoa and the southern square; Nimrud, focusing on artistic finds dated to the period of king Sin-shar-riskum; and Nineveh, focusing on the conservation of the palace of Sennacherib.
This website details the excavations of the Bala Hisar (High Fort) at Charsadda in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province. Excavations began at the site in 1958 under the direction of Sir Mortimer Wheeler. The website relates the history of the site and its archaeology as well as detailing the results of a recent, AHRC and British Academy funded joint British-Pakistani excavation at the site. The site includes an online exhibition which gives photographs of excavations, a history of the fort itself and detailed information about the various archaeological digs which have taken place there. There are also sections on the carbon dating of material from these digs, which have been used to challenge Wheeler's original thesis about the age of the fort. A list of publications resulting from the project is also included.
The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) website contains articles on the archaeology of Iran as well as news, pictures and a list of events. The website was still incomplete at the time of the review, but it contains enough information to be useful. This website has been produced by a group of amateurs with the participation of academics. The section on news appears to be updated daily and it can be a precious resource for both students and researchers to remain updated on recent discoveries. The gallery of pictures can be useful primarily to students. The "articles" section is a comprehensive collection of texts on the archaeology of Iran, but quality varies and not all the articles have adequate bibliographic references; students should not rely primarily on these articles to prepare academic essays, especially when using articles without references. Some illustrated short reports about excavations may be used by researchers.Considering the difficulties in obtaining updated information on recent archaeological research on Iran, this website may be very useful primarily to researchers as a source of information on recent work and discoveries as well as to students looking for pictures.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the site of Tell el-Herr, Egypt (Sinai peninsula). The site is located on a strategic position between Egypt and the Levant and has been occupied from the fifth century BC to the sixth century AD. The site was a Roman settlement, later a Persian settlement and finally an early medieval Egyptian site. Several illustrated articles concentrate on the archaeological evidence unearthed by a French team of archaeologists. Achaemenid, Roman and Ptolemaic monuments are discussed. The 'diaporama' (picture gallery) collects in one place all the many colour photos and drawings in the articles. There is a map and a bibliography.
A free online version of the Encyclopaedia Iranica published by the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University. The entries range in date from c1250 BC to the 20th century AD and cover a wide variety of articles on the history, archaeology, geography, literature, science, religion and philosophy of the Iranian plateau and related areas. The website also provides information on the editorial board and contributors, a series of reviews, some FAQs and details of how to order the printed edition or support the project through scholarly or financial contributions. Volumes 1-6 are available in PDF format while a special Iranweb2 font, downloadable for free in Mac and PC formats, is required for the later volumes. This substantial and wide-ranging resource will benefit students and researchers of oriental studies and the archaeology and history of the ancient and modern Middle East.
This is an excellent resource offering articles on ancient history and archaeology together with an impressive library of photographic images of ancient sites which can be down-loaded for free for non-commercial use. The website is laid out geographically with sections on Greece, Persia, Anatolia, Carthage and Punic Sicily, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Judaea, Germania and Rome (as well a Dutch language resource on Dutch history) while the authoritative but very readable text has many cross links between them. There is no overall structure to individual sections: the Greek entries have a strong emphasis on Alexander the Great and his successors, on various authors such as Plutarch and Herodotos (including selections of extracted texts) and a series of short encyclopaedia-style entries on politicians, philosophers and literary figures. The Judaean passages discuss, for instance, Messianic claimants, the Diaspora and anti-Semitism in the ancient and mediaeval worlds, alongside more linear accounts of the Roman wars and potted biographies of leading Jewish figures. This website will benefit both students and teachers of the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world but the author makes the pointed observation that students must combine the use of electronic resources with proper library research for which the Web is not a substitute.
The virtual Achaemenid museum is a multimedia-rich interactive website focusing on the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 560 to 330 BC), also known as Persian Empire. The website publishes a database of artefacts from several museums representing a broad selection of categories and archaeological sites of provenance. It is possible to browse the artefacts in the "consultation" section by museum; archaeological site; category; or iconographic theme. A large sub-section publishes drawings by early travellers to the region. Any object can be saved as link in a special section, "my archive". Section "discovery" publishes a few audio and video presentations of key topics such as the "The Middle-East 550 B.C."; "Cyrus' conquests"; and "Pasargades". The help section is also a brief multimedia presentation and it is very useful to familiarise with the interface. At the bottom left there is a menu which allows to perform keyword searches, to add and access the records saved in "my archive" and to jump to any previously accessed record. For each record there are a few textual details and generally at least one picture, often more than one. Captions and texts change according to the picture displayed, and therefore multiple records may be available for a single object, one for each available photograph or drawing. At the top of each picture there is a menu labelled "tools", which allows zooming; reversing colours; transforming to greyscale; pan; copy; and paste pictures. Among the categories are buildings (architectures); coins; paintings; statues; vessels (both ceramic and metal vessels); and others.
This is the official Web page of the galleries of Near Eastern antiquities at the Louvre Museum. There are introductory pages on the collection as well as several pages on individual objects (about 200 at the time of review); there is a map and a timeline. Anatolia, Persia, Mesopotamia and the Levant are all represented in the objects analysed in detail. Several tablets and inscriptions of famous texts, such as the Code of Hammurabi, are also presented in some detail, though translations are only partial. Pictures can be enlarged and it is possible to click on "documentation" to reveal a small bibliography, which is provided for each object. Some data appear by hovering with the mouse on various parts of the pages and it is possible to print or email these pages with ease thanks to some tools. For those wishing to visit the museum, apart from practical details, it is possible to have information about new additions to the collections and about objects loaned to exhibitions (which objects, where they are and for how long). An attractive introduction to the Near Eastern collection of one of the world's great museums which will interest the general public and school children as well as university level students of archaeology and ancient history.
A brief illustrated guide to the excavations at the Parthian city of Nisa in Turkmenistan undertaken by the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino (University of Turin) and the National Department for the Protection, Study and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Turkmenistan. The project, which begun in 2000, aims to establish a general topographical map of old Nisa and to study the spatial and functional relationships between individual buildings within this important Parthian centre, including the fortress in the southern part of the site. The Parthian kingdom was the political successor to the Persian Empire destroyed by Alexander the Great and, between 243 BC and 228 AD, was the most powerful entity in the Near East, covering a vast area taking in modern Iran and parts of Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azarbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It rivalled successively (and successfully) both the Seleucid kingdom and the Roman Empire until it was conquered by the Sassanians in the 3rd century AD. The resource provides a useful overview of the excavation campaigns from 2000 onwards, with valuable up-to-date photographs of many of the buildings and excavation trenches as well providing information on the archaeological team from the University of Turin. The website is part of Parthia.com which provides the essential historical and archaeological background information to the site of Nisa itself which is lacking in this particularly context. "The Nisa expeditions" is a useful addition to the corpus of online websites of archaeological sites and would interest students and researchers of ancient history and classical and Near Eastern archaeology.
The “Online Cultural Heritage Research Environment” (OCHRE) is an Internet database system for cultural heritage information available to researchers. OCHRE provides a service available to any scholar. Several projects already use the database, including the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (letters L, M, N, and P available; project directed by Theo van den Hout and Harry Hoffner of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago); The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project (directed by Matthew Stolper of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago); and forthcoming others. The interface is neat and uses Java, but exporting and printing data is still a work in progress. At the time of review, OCHRE had not been fully launched and therefore more improvements can be expected. OCHRE promises to be a great tool for archaeologists and linguists specialising in ancient writings and this is already evident with the contents already available.
This Web page gives access to the full-text of 'Orient: Report of the Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan' (1960-2004), and despite the word 'report' in the title this is actually a substantial academic journal. Tables of contents, abstracts, and PDF files of articles are all freely available online. The journal was published in English, with occasional articles in German and French, and was devoted to reports and scholarly articles on archaeological and historical topics, with forays into linguistics. Example article titles include: 'Historical problems of the early Achaemenian period'; 'Hadiths as historical sources for a biography of the prophet'; 'A Japanese view of Lord Cromer's rule in Egypt'; and 'A Century of Turkish Studies in Japan', among many others. The latest issue available at 2009 is the 2004 issue, a special on the history of glass and glass-making. This will be a useful full-text resource for those engaged in the historical study of the Near East. The journal issues are held on the Japanese central online archive of ejournals (which is presented in English, but which otherwise contains only scientific journals), and as such the page does not have details of editors and Editorial Board - but these may be found by browsing the preface of recent issues or by searching Google.
This is the website of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. The goals of the Institute are to document and study the languages, history and cultures of the ancient Near East. The site includes a link to an Index to Ancient Near Eastern Resources on the Internet (ABZU), now run in partnership with Etana, and information about research, projects and publications. The Oriental Institute Museum is a showcase of the history, art and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The Museum exhibits major collections of antiquities from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and Anatolia. Highlights from these collections are displayed online.
"Persian Texts in Translation" is a website published by the Packard Humanities Institute. The website contains dozens of Persian texts in translation as well as several digitized secondary sources on Persian literature. The texts can be browsed by author or title and each Persian author is introduced with a short bibliography. Persian titles are available in translation and can be read using a HTML browser. Over 100 works are already available in full-text. The website requires a Java-enabled browser.
This website focuses on ancient Parthia and is aimed primarily at students. Parthian history is almost unknown until 53 BC, when the Parthians defeated the Roman legions that attempted the conquest of Persia. the struggle for power in Persia between Rome and Parthia continues until 224 AD, when the Sasanid Empire replaces Parthia, and continues thereafter. The Parthians were the only people who stopped the Roman expansion by repeatedly defeating Roman legions, though they also suffered several defeats themselves. There is copious historical and geographical information on the website with maps, chronological tables and some illustrations. In particular, all main historical events and locations are clearly outlined. A very interesting section focuses on Parthian coins, with tables of inscriptions and photographs. There are also some statistical analyses produced on the whole database. The author is also developing a special font, which can be downloaded along with other fonts designed for the study of ancient coins. References for all coins are provided. Photographs and details of coins sold at recent auctions are also available. This section has been authored by several people, some amateur and some academic archaeologists, and may interest researchers. There are also some pages with basic information about the art and culture of Parthia with hyperlinks to other resources. The website also includes a special section publishing the results of the ongoing archaeological excavations at Nisa. There is a search facility; an incomplete site map; a mailing list; a list of recent additions to the website; and an extensive bibliography.
This page, part of the University of Chicago's very extensive site, includes 999 photographs constituting an archaeological survey of the environs of Persepolis in Iran. Persepolis was the royal seat of the Persian Achaemenid dynasty from the time of Darius I in the fifth century BC until the palace's destruction at the hands of Alexander the Great. The magnificent archaeological remains constitute some of the finest surviving examples of ancient Persian architecture. Most of the pictures found here were taken during expeditions carried out by Profs. Ernst Herzfeld and Erich Schmidt in the 1930s and 1940s, and the majority of them have not previously been published. They include images of architecture, reliefs and finds, as well as aerial surveys. Although the photographs are available in black and white only, the site provides a unique opportunity to explore the excavation records and complete artefact assemblages in great detail. The images are crisp and offer comprehensive coverage of the sites and associated finds. The photographs are divided into those taken on the palace terrace at Persepolis and at the two nearby city mounds of Tall-i-Bakun and Istakhr. Each of the three sections is provided with a concise and descriptive introduction, and the photographs are accessible both from a list of captions and a page of thumbnails, allowing for easy browsing. The page provides material for anyone with an interest in ancient Iran, from students who want an overview of the sorts of material found at these sites to academics looking for particular images.
The website "Ancient Near Eastern Art" introduces this collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which possesses one of the largest and most significant collections of Near Eastern artefacts in the world. This beautifully produced and easily navigated website provides an excellent guide to these holdings for both the general public and the professional academic. The collection can be searched in a number of ways, from a series of 50 highlighted objects selected by the museum or via a search engine which allows you to store a personal collection of search results for future research. Each record provides brief but informative descriptions of each object together with a high quality illustration which can be viewed at a variety of scales from thumbnail to full screen size. The Heilbrunn timeline of world art history which accompanies the entire museum collection, presented as an attractive interactive world map, situates the objects in their wider chronological and cultural context. This resource is a fine example of online museum publishing and will interest a wide public from the interested amateur and school children (and their teachers) to university level students and researchers of ancient Near Eastern art, archaeology and history.