This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the site of Hili (Abu Dhabi), Arabia. The site is a Bronze Age oasis on the shores of the Persian Gulf; several illustrated articles describe the recent discoveries. In particular, the possible trade contacts with Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley are analysed. 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.
This website focuses on Abu Hureyra, which is a site located in the Euphrates River Valley and was inhabited from ca. 11,500 to 7,000 years ago. It offers some of the data that was used to write the book 'Village on the Euphrates' by A.M.T. Moore, G.C. Hillman and A.J. Legge. It also provides an extensive bibliography. The founders of Abu Hureyra were hunters and gatherers, who began farming regularly around 11,000 years ago. The importance of this site cannot be overstated, as this is the first known place on Earth where farming was practised. In addition, Abu Hureyra was continuously inhabited for about 4,500 years. During this long period the climatic period of Pleistocene gave way to Holocene, very much changing the environment. Abu Hureyra is a fundamental site for social studies addressing the change from a nomadic to settled community and for long term studies of ancient economics, an invaluable source of information for further understanding of human adaptation to environmental change, and crucial to any study on the origins and early development of farming. This resource barely introduces the site, but does contains many tables of data, available in Word, RTF and Excel format. The tables include the levels taken, which can be plotted on a map; burials; and a list of stone tools. Since the interpretation of Abu Hureyra relies heavily on scientific analyses, especially of organic remains, only a specialist audience can understand most of the findings, which are available in print only. However, the list of burials and stone tools can be of great value to research into the society and economy of Abu Hureyra, and will complement the printed publications. The raw data published on this website are aimed at experienced researchers.
The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), founded in 1900, is one of the chief bodies in North America which promotes the archaeology of the Near East from the palaeolithic to the present. The website provides a detailed overview of the aims, structure, membership and archaeological and research activities of ASOR and its affiliated research centres in the Middle East, as well as news features and information on past and future meetings of the organisation. Also featured are the texts of ASOR's policy statement on the protection of archaeological heritage and a valuable guide to its lobbying activities regarding cultural resource management in Iraq. This includes useful links to web reources on Iraqi and Near Eastern archaeology which complement the page of weblinks to excavation and survey projects in the region. The publications page provides the full-texts of the ASOR newsletter (in PDF format) as well as information on ASOR monographs and its published journals. Tables of contents and abstracts of the Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Near Eastern Archaeology (formerly Biblical Archaeologist) and BASOR from the mid-1990s onwards are complemented by the usual advice for contributors and authors. In addition to details of ASOR centres in Cyprus, Israel and Jordan, there is an overview of the work of the Baghdad and Damascus committees which oversee research and excavation work in Iraq and Syria, in the absence of functioning research institutions on account of the recent political climate. This includes a history of American archaeology in Mesopotamia and a short guide to the ASOR-sponsored excavations at Tell Qarqur with preliminary reports from 2000 and 2001, a contour plan and a bibliography of published reports. This website provides much practical material for students and researchers in Near eastern archaeology as well as a fascinating insight into the cultural heritage issues and politics of doing archaeology in this troubled region of the world.
Among the many treasures gathered together at the Morgan Library in New York is a collection of ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets ranging in date from the fifth to the first millennium BC, which provide a fascinating insight into the art and iconographic traditions of Mesopotamia as well as demonstrating the extraordinary skill of ancient craftspeople to carve in miniature. This website provides a snapshot sample of some of the finer items with brief descriptions and high quality illustrations viewable at a variety of scales while the full collection of Near Eastern artefacts (and of the general library holdings) can be searched using Corsair, an elaborate, custom designed search engine which allows you to hypertext around the collection as well as making highly specific enquiries. This resource will interest both the general public but also provide a very useful research tool for researchers and teachers in archaeology and oriental or Middle Eastern studies.
This blog edited by Paul Cowie reports news related to the Ancient Near East and Egypt from prehistoric times to the 7th century AD. The same author also publishes ArchaeoWiki, which is an ongoing project publishing several referenced short articles on the ancient Near East. Several full-text academic papers published by individual authors on the Internet in PDF format are included in the references. Most articles discuss individual archaeological sites, but there are also a few other themes included, such as "Egyptian topographical lists"; "Amarna tablets"; and a gazetteer of Levantine polities under Egyptian rule or influence. This website may be useful especially to students.
Archaeogate is a portal for Italian archaeologists which also publishes numbers of preliminary reports of Italian excavations. Most of the contents on this website are in Italian and prepared for Italian students, but many preliminary reports are in English and useful to an international audience. In the section "Egittologia" (Egyptology), among the "rapporti di scavo" are preliminary reports of excavations in Egypt (Dra Abu el-Naga; Bakchias; Kí´m el-Ghoraf; Dime - El-Fayyum; Khelua; Medinet Madi; Antinoe; Kom El-Ghoraf; Nelson's Island; Uadi Sikait; Khelua; Farafra; Tebtynis - Umm el-Breigat; Gebelein; Abuqir; and Mersa - Wadi Gawasis); Sudan (Gebel Umm Nabari; Abu Dom; Gebel Barkal - Napata); and Bahrain (Siwa). Worth noting are the sites of Wadi Gawasis, where archaeologists have found the first Egyptian seagoing ships, and Gebel Barkal - Napata, which is the main site of an important Nubian culture. "Missioni italiane"; "itinerari" and "gallerie fotografiche" contain photographs of Italian excavations in Egypt and Nubia; some photographs originate from archives of old excavations; there are also interactive and archaeological maps of the region. In section "antichità classiche", there are "rapporti di scavo" (preliminary reports) on Roman sites such as Colleferro; Correggio; Scoppieto and Carthage. In the section "vicino oriente" (Near East), the "rapporti di scavo" (preliminary reports) include sites in Oman (Khor Rori; Salut); Armenia (Artaxata; Azat River Valley; Armavir); and Turkmenistan (Nisa - Mithradatkert). Mithradatkert was the capital of the Parthian Empire. All reports are accompanied by several colour photographs of the archaeological sites discussed as well as of some of the artefacts found.
John and Peggy Saunders of the Oriental Institute of Chicago have made available their valuable collection of photographs of almost 40 archaeological sites in Egypt and Mesopotamia which were taken during their work in the Middle East, particularly at the site of Nippur, between 1973 and 1990. The archaeological sites featured in this resource, which range in date from the 3rd Millennium BC to the middle of the 1st Millennium AD, can be searched using an interactive map or an alphabetic list. The images are presented in the form of thumbnail images which can also be viewed at full screen size and can be used for not-for-profit purposes by students, scholars and the general public. While the photographs include little in the way of commentary or further description of the archaeology, this website is a very useful adjunct to existing printed-medium reference books. This website is an indispensable source or relatively up-to-date photographs of important archaeological sites in Egypt and Mesopotamia, particularly significant because of the political and military troubles in the latter region since the 1990s, and will benefit students and researchers working on the archaeology and ancient history of the Near East.
This is the official website of the "Archaeology in the Levant" research project at the University of California at San Diego. The website provides information on the activities of the Levantine Archaeology Lab, and particularly of the research on GIS applied to Levantine archaeological sites. The website also publishes preliminary reports of field excavations and studies, among which are "the Edom Lowlands Project: Iron Age State Formation in Southern Jordan, ca. 1200 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 500 BC"; " the Chalcolithic Sanctuary at Gilat, Negev Desert, Israel"; and "Ethnoarchaeology in India: Traditional Bronze Casters in Tamil Nadu".
The Archive of Mesopotamian Archaeological Reports (AMAR) website publishes a collection of archaeological site reports describing archaeological excavations both in Iraq and in the immediately surrounding areas (Turkey, Syria, Iran and the Gulf). The website is under development at the time of review and it is expected that by the end of 2010 about 500 reports, some out-of -copyright and some still in-print, will be published here. The website is published as part of the Iraq Cultural Heritage Program Grant, funded by International Relief and Development (IRD) in cooperation with the Cultural Affairs Office, US Embassy Baghdad, and the Cultural Heritage Center, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State, USA. According to Elizabeth Stone, project director, "this online collection is intended to provide basic sources of information to our colleagues in Iraq, and also other archaeologists working in the Middle East".
The collection is centred on publications on Mesopotamia and can be easily browsed through the interface. There are some metadata for each resource, which can then be accessed from a link. The publications have been digitised in PDF format.
This website focuses on the ancient site of Arslantepe, which was inhabited from the Chalcolithic period (fifth millennium BC) to the Roman period. The most important monuments date from the fourth millennium BC, when a Hittite palatial complex with painted walls, bronze weapons, seals, and written tablets had been built. A royal tomb and a temple are from the same period, when Arslantepe was capital of a small Hittite kingdom. Also important is the discovery of the third millennium BC fortified citadel. The sections of this website outline the geographic, historical (chronology) and cultural contexts. A few pictures document some findings now preserved at the local museum. Of particular interest is the section about research, which contains short articles on metalworking; formation of administrative systems; ceramics; bone tools; stone tools; and surveys carried out in the region. This website is thoroughly illustrated, but the content is not as extensive as one might wish: most texts are short introductions or overviews. Hence this site is likely to be of most use to students. The English version is updated after the Italian version and therefore readers are advised to check the Italian version first for contents.
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.
This website outlines past and present German research projects and excavations in Assyria, particularly at Assur. There excavations began in 1903 with work sponsored by the Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft. A series of illustrated essays provides a guide to the excavations and an account of the history and archaeology of the archaeological site, including of the most recent work undertaken there by German archaeologists. The essays include "1903-1914: Assur - Das Herz eines Weltreiches" (1903-1914: Ashur, the heart of a world kingdom); "Wer baute die babylonische Arche?" (who built the Babylonian arch?); "Assur - eine altorientalische Großstadt" (Ashur, a town in the ancient Near East); and "Auf den Spuren assyrischer Gelehrsamkeit" (tracing back Assyrian sources). A separate website also publishes the preliminary reports of the recent excavations; most are available in both English and German, but the German version has more contents. This is largely a specialist, German language resource, which will interest researchers and teachers of Assyriology and related topics in the history and archaeology of the ancient Near East.
A useful illustrated guide to the history and archaeology of the important archaeological site of Assur in northern Iraq providing a brief account of the city's long history and of the various excavations at the site together with short preliminary reports of recent German and Iraqi work there. Most of this resource is in German, but an English translation is provided for the section on recent excavations. Assur, the eponymous capital of the Assyrian empire, was first occupied in the 3rd millennium BC and was subject to the Akkadian and Neo-Sumerian empires until the 19th century BC when it emerged as a major political power in its own right during the Old Assyrian Period. It remained the political and religious focus of the Assyrian kingdom until the foundation first of Calah (Nimrud) and then Nineveh and was finally destroyed by the Medes in 612 B.C. The city was later refounded and functioned as a political centre of the Parthian and Sassanian kings between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD and was later occupied in Islamic times. Excavations began in 1821 and have continued to this day, involving many of the eminent figures of Assyriology such as Claudius Rich, Henry Layard, Hormuzd Rassan and Robert Koldewey. This website provides a useful overview of this fascinating archaeological site which has produced extensive remains of temples, palaces, houses and graves, as well as archives of cuneiform documents. In addition there is a page of links to websites of Near Eastern interest and some news reports on Iraqi archaeology. The resource will benefit in particular students and teachers of Assyriology and Near Eastern history and archaeology.
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.
In 1989 archaeologists from the Iraqi Department of Antiquities and Heritage excavated three intact royal tombs in the North-West Palace on the citadel of the Assyrian city of Kalkhu or Nimrud (biblical Calah) in northern Iraq. This website provides a brief but attractive illustrated guide to this extraordinary discovery of the tombs of three Assyrian queens : Yaba (wife of Tiglathpileser III, reigned 744-727 B.C.), Banitu (wife of Shalmanasser V, 726-722 B.C.) and Atalia (wife of Sargon II, 721-705 B.C.). Kalkhu was the capital of the mighty Assyrian Empire for more than 150 years before Sargon II built a new city at Khorsabad in 717 B.C. Excavations in the 19th century A.D. uncovered a number of extraordinary palaces and temples decorated with vast quantities of stone sculpture and which yielded many inscribed cuneiform documents revealing administrative and historical records of the Assyrian Empire. The brick and stone vaulted tombs discovered in 1989, which yielded many splendid gold vessels and costly personal ornaments inscribed with the names of the deceased, are rare examples of Assyrian royal burials, most of were looted in antiquity or in more recent times. A selection of the objects is illustrated alongside numerous maps and architectural plans, including a map of Iraq and the surrounding region, which usefully contextualise the tombs within the wider urban topography. This resource, part of Assyria Online, a substantial online resource on Assyrian culture, both ancient and modern, will benefit anyone studying the archaeology and ancient history of the Near East, particularly at a more basic level but is also a useful aide-memoire and image source for the more experience teacher or researcher.
This is the official website of the Australian Institute of Archaeology (AIA) at La Trobe University. The "AIA Newsletter" contains short articles of all current activities of the Institute and is available in PDF format. The scholarly journal "Buried History" is published by the Institute and focuses on Biblical archaeology; indexes of the volumes and abstracts of the published papers can be accessed for free. At the time of the review several sections of the website were incomplete.
The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem contains collections encompassing all great civilisations surrounding Israel, including Greece, Egypt, the Levant and Mesopotamia. There is a short history of the museum and its founder, Dr Elie Borowski, as well as pictures from some of the artefacts in the permanent collection and a QuickTime VR tour of the rooms. Past and forthcoming events (lectures, conferences, special exhibitions, etc.) are listed and described with some illustrations or even a full interactive catalogue (e.g. Three Faces of Monotheism). Section "study resources" also publishes a list of books and periodicals from the museum's library that are being sold: this may interest some researchers. There is also an online shop selling publications, gifts and reproductions and it is possible to subscribe to a mailing list diffusing announcements. The website does not provide much information on the collections, though at the time of review more information was forthcoming. Yet, students and researchers may find useful information, even if they do not plan a trip to the museum.
"Bioarchaeology of the Near East" is a yearly journal available free and full text online; individual papers are available as PDF files. "The aim of the journal is to promote research on the history of human populations inhabiting South-Western Asia (chiefly Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, Anatolia, Iran, and Egypt)". It concentrates on papers on physical anthropology and bioarchaeology. In addition to papers and reviews (both peer reviewed), the journal also publishes short fieldwork reports. Information for prospective authors is also available. At the time of review (just two issues available) the journal was still relatively unknown and mainly publishing reports of field projects carried out by the editors. Yet, the journal has potential given the topic, and being peer reviewed, free, and giving space primarily to eastern European authors it provides a venue for publishing research that just a few years ago would have been difficult to access for an international audience. Advanced students and researchers are the primary audience for this website.
The British Museum is one of the great treasure houses of objects from the Middle East, whose collection ranges in date from the Neolithic period to the present. The excellent official website provides an attractively designed guided tour of the highlights of the Middle Eastern galleries, an outline of the history of the collection, a guide to recent and current research conducted by department staff, news of forthcoming lectures, study days and conferences and an extensive page of weblinks to sites of archaeological interest. The website provides a fascinating history of the Middle Eastern collections which, begining with Sir William Hamilton in the 18th century, have been added to by a galaxy of colourful antiquarians and archaeologists such as Claudius Rich of the East India Company, A.H. Layard, William Loftus, Hormuzd Rassan, T.E. Lawrence, Leonard Woolley, E.A. Budge and Kathleen Kenyon. More recent research is represented by brief notes on British Museum sponsored excavations in various locations around the region. The galleries can be browsed virtually with the help of enlargeable thumbnail photographs while the collection itself can be searched in a variety of ways using Compass. This fully hypertexted database of the entire British Museum collection provides concise descriptions and cultural contexts of individual objects accompanied by good quality photographs. This resource is an excellent example of web publishing and will profit a very wide range in individuals interested in the Middle East including school children and their teachers, the general public, undergraduates and researchers in archaeology and ancient history and museum professionals.
Since in foundation in 1932, the British School of Archaeology in Iraq (BSAI) has been the main institution in the United Kingdom responsible for organising archaeological fieldwork in Iraq, Mesopotamia, Syria and the Persian Gulf. The official website provides a concise guide to the activities and chief officers of the school as well as providing online version of its biannual newsletter from 1998 onwards and links to websites providing information on the impact of the 2003 war on the archaeological heritage of Iraq. The newsletter features summary accounts of excavations and research projects carried out by associates of the school, many accompanied by bibliographic references and hypertext links to contact addresses of individuals and institutions, as well as providing details of new publications and conferences. There is also a brief history of the school, a guide to the monographs and journals it publishes and a section outlining the research and excavation projects supported by BSAI grants. This resource is a very useful overview of the work of an important scholarly institution as well as providing an insight into the relationship between archaeology and politics in the contemporary Middle East.
This website publishes the preliminary report of the excavations at the archaeological site of Chagar Bazar, Syria. At the time of review the report concentrating on the Halafian period was available only in Catalan. The report summarises several topics, including: the historical background of the discovery and following excavation of the site; the stratigraphic sequence and the proposed chronology; the palaeoenvironment; preliminary results of palinological and archaeozoological analyses; ceramics; funerary practices; and other topics. The report concludes that ovicaprines were the most represented domestic species. The ceramics date to the Halaf ("cream bowls"), Halaf-Ubaid transitional and Ubaid periods; vessels were deposed also in tombs. To access this website it may be necessary to start from the SAPPO home page.
This is the repository of digital recordings of lectures held at the Collège de France and École normale supérieure, Paris, and contains a growing list of recorded lectures on a variety of topics. The audio and video recordings of the lectures are available in compressed MP4 format and are often accompanied by additional material in PDF format, usually handouts and PowerPoint presentations; lectures can be accessed from a list of speakers or topics as well as from a calendar. Most files are very large and should be downloaded before attempting to open them. All lectures include both the presentation and following discussion; many lectures are part of a series given by one author; most published lectures are in French.
Topics include archaeology (e.g. Chris Scarre on the megalithic monuments of the British Isles; Colin Renfrew on the Indo-Europeans; Carlo Zaccagnini on economy and society in the ancient Near East); history; art; philosophy of science (e.g. Marc Hauser on the evolution of aesthetics, mathematics, language and morality); language studies, epigraphy and linguistics (e.g. Harry Falk on the epigraphical evidence on the history of the Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian dynasties; Albert de Jong on the Zoroastrian text Avesta during the Sassanian period; Sheldon Pollock on Sanskrit before colonialism; Richie S. Kayne on comparative syntax; Francisco Jarauta on Cervantes' Don Quixote); music (e.g. Guerino Mazzola on musical logic); philosophy and cognitive studies (e.g. Patrick Suppes on the neuropsychological foundations of philosophy; Ian Maclean on defining nature; Richard Andersen on the evolution of brain-machine interfaces). There are also a few lectures on biology; earth sciences; mathematics; and physics.
This archive, hosted by the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), represents the raw information from a project designed to collect and analyse archaeological data from two Near Eastern sites - namely Tell Brak in north-eastern Syria, and Kilise Tepe in Southern Turkey. The data is intended to aid study into the use of space within the two different urban settlements, and the respective excavations utilised standardised objectives and procedures to enable more comparative analyses.Much of the identification and analysis of the materials recovered from the excavations was undertaken in U.K. laboratories, specifically at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (Cambridge), at the EAU (York), and UCL (London). The final versions of these analyses have been compiled into a single electronic archive in Cambridge.Available through these webpages are the various components of this electronic archive, including sections on the sampling procedures, excavations, and many final reports on artefactual and environmental materials. The text-based files are available for download in HTML, RTF (rich text format) and plain text formats. Images are available as TIFFs, whilst other file types include comma-delimited and Microsoft Excel files.
CultureMATH is a website aimed at teachers and students of mathematics that also publishes an interesting series of papers and video interviews on the history of mathematics. Two special sections on the mathematics in ancient Mesopotamia and China are particularly valuable for archaeologists; they contain some full-text papers, bibliographic references and hyperlinks to other full-text papers (also in French) published on the Internet. Among the papers are "Calculer chez les marchands Assyriens au début du IIe millénaire av. J.-C." by Cécile Michel; "Le calcul sexagésimal en Mésopotamie: enseignement dans les écoles de scribes" by Christine Proust; "les Neuf Chapitres, le classique mathématique de la Chine ancienne et ses commentaires" a video by Karine Chemla. The videos are normally very large files available in Windows Media and Quicktime format. Of some importance are also the papers focusing on the mathematics on some medieval manuscripts, such as "Le Compendy de la practique des nombres", and those focusing on manuals for traders, such as "Le compendy de la praticque des nombres, une arithmétique du XVe siecle í mi-chemin entre théorie et pratique commerciale" by Maryvonne Spiesser.
Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) is an online collection of resources on cuneiform, the international writing system of the ancient Near East for thousands of years, in which were recorded historical, religious and administrative documents in a wide variety of languages including Sumerian, Akkadian (or Babylonian) and Hittite. The (CDLI) is an collaborative project led by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin and the University of California at Los Angeles to create a digital record of the earliest horizon of cuneiform texts ca. 3300-2000 B.C. to facilitate research and cast further light on the origins of writing and of urban civilisation. The resource, published as two mirrored websites hosted by the project partners, consists of a series of inter-related databases of fourth and third millennia B.C. cuneiform texts, including proto-cuneiform, from a variety of institutions including the University of Leiden, the Hilprecht Collection and the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin. The databases include extensive glossaries of words and sign types and high resolution photographs of many of the writing tablets. Navigating the databases is sometimes confusing and the limited introductory material indicates that this a website for specialist in ancient Near Eastern languages and scripts. Bibliographic resources include the Gelb Library of over 10,000 references to scholarly works on the origins of writing and a special section on proto-cuneiform. The full-texts of several scholarly articles is also available, including one on the undeciphered script Proto-Elamite. Technical information on the digitisation process is also provided as is news about the on-going CDLI programme. This is a specialist resource will interest students of the Sumerian and Akkadian languages and archaeologists and cultural historians working on the origins of writing and administration in the Near East.
Cuneiform Digital Palaeography Project is the website of an interdisciplinary project which seeks to establish a detailed palaeography for the cuneiform script. Such a project has only recently become viable, thanks to technological advances that have made possible the digitisation of three-dimensional script. The project, based at the University of Birmingham and the British Museum, is centred on a database which consists of high-resolution images of each of the many cuneiform signs as they appear on clay tablets and other artefacts. The website explains the aims, objectives, and methodology of the project, and provides access to the database and other related materials. The database may be browsed or searched by: character instance; sign; or text vehicle. Each record specifies: the reigning king at the time of the inscription; the provenance; genre; medium; and vehicle (tablet, cone, or other artefact). The site also explains the related research being enabled by the construction of the database. This includes: the identification of particular scribal hands; the issue of wedge order (cuneiform being impressed by means of pyramidal wedges); and three-dimensional imaging techniques. The site explains the terminology of cuneiform and the components of cuneiform signs. There is also a publications list and a set of links to related web resources. This website provides an excellent example of the application of new technology to research and the dissemination of knowledge.
An attractively presented and illustrated online edition of some 19 Sumerian cuneiform documents from the collection of the Special Collections and Rare Books division of the Library of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The resource consists of excellent, multi-scale photographs and concise but full descriptions of the inscriptions in addition to modern editions of the documents providing transliterations and translations of the Sumerian texts, as well as a short bibliography and a guide to the epigraphic conventions used by the editor. Most of the objects presented are clay tablets but the collection also features 2 clay foundation cones and a sealing. 16 are from the UR III period (late 3rd Millennium BC) and the remainder are royal decrees from the Old Babylonian phase of the Sumerian cities of Isin and Uruk in southern Iraq. Also provided is some background information on the nature and use of cuneiform and a small section of weblinks. This resource will benefit undergraduates and researchers in the archaeology and ancient history of the Near East and those interested in the development of writing systems.
"Cuneiform Tablets: From the Reign of Gudea of Lagash to Shalmanassar III" is an online catalogue of 38 cuneiform tablets from the Library of Congress' collections. The tablets are dated from the reign of Gudea of Lagash (2144-2124 BC) to the reign of Shalmanassar III (858-824 B.C.). Among the tablets are receipts of commercial transactions; clay bullas; cone inscriptions; school exercises; seal contracts; temple offerings (satukku); votive inscriptions; and others. There is a short article on cuneiform writing, which is aimed at a general audience. For each tablet there is a photograph, available in JPEG and TIFF (high resolution, very large) formats; and in some instances drawings of the tablet and transcriptions; a brief description; and some additional metadata. This website will be useful primarily to researchers in both Classics and Archaeology.
The DigMaster website presents the artefactual evidence (specifically figurines) from two separately excavated Persian sites (Tell Halif and Maresha) together with those from the Pierides Foundation Museum in Larnaca, Cyprus. The site provides an easy to use figurine database interface with a wealth of images and VR media. The DigMaster website is simply set out and very intuitive. There are pages describing the geography and environment, the excavation, survey and ethnography of the sites, as well as a summary of the stratographic settings of the figurines. A simple visual browse structure enables the users to view the figurines arranged by type. There is also contact information for the site's authors, and links to related projects. This is an excellent example of the way in which electronic publication of fieldwork results can move way beyond the limitations of traditional 'hard copy' publication. A new website, DigMasterII, is expanding this website.
A web guide to the Oriental Institute of Chicago's project to publish the definitive report on its important excavations in the Diyala river basin north-east of Baghdad between 1930 and 1938. The excavations at Tell Asmar (ancient Eshnunna), Khafajah (ancient Tutub), Ishchali and Tell Agrab conducted by Henri Frankfort and Pinhas Delougaz were exceptionally meticulous and professional for their time. The enormous quantity of carefully excavated and recorded material from these sites provided the seminal sequence for Mesopotamian archaeology in the crucial Protoliterate and early Dynastic periods (circa 3200-1750 BC) despite the relatively marginal importance of the region compared to the main centres of Sumerian and Akkadian culture. The resource is framed by a history of fieldwork in the Diyala region and a detailed exposition of the aims and methods of the publication project. The bulk of the website consists of a series of annual project reports between 1996 and 2000 in addition to an article on the tablets and sealings found in the palace of Tell Asmar by Clemens Reichel accompanied by an extensive bibliography of research on the Diyala region. The many high quality illustrations, including maps, plans and photographs, can be viewed at a variety of scales. Also included is an annotated list of project personnel. This website will interest professional researchers in the archaeological and history of ancient Iraq and surrounding areas as well as providing insights into the history of archaeological scholarship and fieldwork in the region.
The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL) publishes nearly 400 Sumerian literary compositions from ancient Mesopotamia and dating to the late third and early second millennia BC. The corpus contains Sumerian texts in transliteration, English prose translations and bibliographical information for each composition. The transliterations and the translations can be searched, browsed and read online using the tools of the website. No further additions are planned. Both students and researchers interested in reading some Sumerian texts (including Gilgameš, Sumerian poetry and royal correspondence) may find this website useful.
The project has been funded by the AHRB; the Leverhulme Trust; the University of Oxford; the British Academy; and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The Essence of Ebla is a student website focusing on Ebla (Tell Mardikh), a Mesopotamian centre discovered in 1964 and famous for its archives. The website, aimed at undergraduate students and the general public, provides short texts with a few pictures on many aspects of the settlement, including: its discovery; ancient economy; society; language; and religion. The bibliography includes books, articles and Internet resources. Each page is reproduced as an image file and the text appears too small. This is a good introduction to Ebla written in concise and clear language.
ETANA is a cooperative project between ten scholarly institutions and organizations, funded by the Mellon Foundation, with the aim of enabling wider access to Abzu (the Internet gateway for Ancient Near East studies) and the digitization of core texts in the field. At the time of review, there were over 350 digitized texts, covering topics including ancient Egyptian and Babylonian history, biblical archaeology, and the religion of the Semites. There are also over 180 digitized cuneiform texts. Texts include an electronic version of the 'Pantheon Babylonicum: Nomina Deorum e Textibus Cuneiformibus Excerpta et Ordine Alphabetico Distributa' by Deimel, Panara, Patsch and Schneider. The site also offers a short list of links to archaeological projects and organizations affiliated with ETANA. The ETANA core texts collection can be browsed alphabetically, or keyword searches can be performed using the Abzu interface. Abzu also offers details of a vast array of websites, online journals, and ebooks relevant to academics and students working in this area.
The ancient city of Nimrud in northern Iraq was the capital of the Assyrian Empire from the reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) until it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 612 BC. This website, published by the Metropolitan Museum in New York as part of the online 'Explore and learn' service, is an attractive interactive guide to the archaeological discoveries at Nimrud since the 19th century and helps to contextualise the collection of Near Eastern artefacts from the museum. This resource provides a history of the numerous colourful individuals who have excavated at Nimrud such as Henry Layard, William Loftus and Hormuzd Rassan in the 19th century, Max Mallowan (husband of novelist Agatha Christie who also worked at Nimrud) in the middle of the last century and the Iraqi department of Antiquities in more recent times. In addition is a brief description of the various palaces excavated at the site and of the extraordinary collection of ivories and carved stone reliefs unearthed in these vast, multi-roomed complexes. Also included is a short description of the 1989 excavations of the Queens' Tombs. This website is a very useful addition to the corpus of didactic websites and is aimed in particular at the general public and school children (and their teachers). It will also benefit undergraduates studying the archaeology and ancient history of the Near East. These excellent and beautifully illustrated pages will interest and improve a wide range of individuals from the general public and school children to more specialised undergraduates and teachers in the archaeology and history of the ancient Near East.
Hacinebi is an important ancient settlement site on the Euphrates river in south-eastern Anatolia which was excavated in the 1990s by an archaeological team led by Gil Stein of Northwest University Anthropology Department. This website provides a useful online guide to the discoveries at the site, with a particular focus on the Late Chalcolithic period (4100-3300 BC) when, according to the excavators, a commercial enclave (or 'colony') was established by people from southern Iraq as part of the so-called Uruk phenomenon. This is a term used to describe the first major economic integration of the various regions of the ancient Near East which may also have had a political dimension. The site was later settled, apparently after a gap in occupation, in Early Bronze Age I (3000-2800) and later in the Achaemenid-Hellenistic (5th-2nd centuries BC) and Roman periods. An outline of the aims and methods of the interdisciplinary project and of the cultural background to the Uruk phenomenon is accompanied by annual reports from 1992-1997 and a period by period account of the settlement history. Also featured is an illustrated selection of the artefactual record (including Uruk bevel rim bowls and seal impressions and distinctive 'eye idols'), a discussion of the relative and absolute chronology, and a bibliography of recent publications from the 1990s onwards. This resource will benefit undergraduates and researchers in Near eastern archaeology as well as those interested in ancient economic history.
This website details the excavations at Tell Hammam al Turkman (Syria), 80km north of Raqqa, which have been conducted since 1981 under the direction of J. W. Meijer and the Faculty of Archaeology of the University of Leiden. The project has been jointly financed by the Faculty of Archaeology and the Netherlands' Organization for Scientific Research. The archaeological site was deemed to be of value due to its potential to provided a well-stratified guide to the settlement history of the area. In addition, it was also considered of particular interest because of its apparent role in international trade networks during the Middle Bronze Age. Information on the site's location and on-going excavation is provided, along with details of the results. Researchers in particular may find this website useful.
This is the website of the Hamoukar Expedition of the Oriental Institute of Chicago, a multidisciplinary archaeological research project on a major tell site and its surrounding territory in the semi-arid Jezira region of north-eastern Syria. Although the ancient name of this city is unknown, the site is one of the largest tells in Syria and is located on a strategic route between the major political centres of Nineveh and Aleppo and must have played an important role in the political and economic life of the region. The settlement was occupied intermittently between the Uruk and the Islamic periods c.4000 B.C.-c.700 A.D. and reached its greatest extent of 103 hectares in the third millennium B.C. Discoveries in the earliest Uruk levels provide important information on the emergence of complex societies in northern Mesopotamia which questions traditional assumptions concerning the origins of urban cultures in the Near East. The interdisciplinary focus of the project also examines ancient land-use, animal husbandry and water management in this fertile but arid part of Syria. The resource consists of a number of annual reports together with a dossier of newspaper articles on Hamoukar while the accompanying illustrations, including a series of useful contour plans showing the changing extent of the site over its occupation history, are of high quality and can be viewed at a number of scales. These pages will interest university level students and researchers of Near Eastern archaeology as well as providing insights into the practise of archaeology in the contemporary Middle East.
The archaeolgical site of Tall Harmal (ancient Shaduppum) was occupied from the 3rd millennium B.C. onwards and particularly flourished during the Isin Larsa and Old Babylonian periods (c2200-1600 BC) when the city was an important urban centre and political power in southern Iraq. This website provides a brief guide to recent archaeological work at the site carried out by the Baghdad Museum and the German Archaeological Institute in Baghdad and building on the major campaigns on the site undertake by the Iraqi Department of Antiquities between 1945 and 1963. The resource, part of the home page of Assyriologist Dr Peter Miglus of the University of Halle, provides a brief summary of the history and archaeology of the the city of Shaduppum together with preliminary reports of the 1997 and 1998 campaigns illustrated with images of architectural and stratigraphic features. The temples and palaces archives have revealed over 3000 cuneiform documents in addition to a wealth of artefacts, private houses and numerous temples illustrating the social and cultural development of the period. This website will particularly interest students and teachers of Near Eastern archaeology and ancient history.
The InscriptiFact project at the University of Southern California publishes photographs of ancient Middle Eastern inscriptions, mainly from Phoenicia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. To access the website it is necessary to register by faxing a signed user agreement; read the instructions (PDF files); and install Java components (administrator rights required). The database is accessed using a special Java browser (Mac and Windows supported). After logging in, it is possible to browse the inscriptions by period, site, language, support and collection, or search them. Once a list of relevant inscriptions is produced, clicking on any entry will display the metadata associated with that inscription. Clicking on the "go" button on the list of inscriptions provides access to a series of thumbnails of all the available photographs for that inscription; there is a set of BW and colour photographs for each inscription. The thumbnails can be saved as TIFF or JPEG pictures, or preferably as full resolution JPEG2000 photographs (recommended). There is also a standalone viewer to visualise Reflection Transformation Imaging (RTI) images.
There are no transliterations or translations of the inscriptions. Among the scripts are Ammonite; Arabic; Aramaic; Coptic; Cuneiform (Akkadian; Babylonian; Sumerian; Ugaritic); Egyptian hieroglyphs; Greek; Hebrew; Latin; Nabatean; Phoenician; Semitic and others. There are also early alphabetic inscriptions such as that from Wadi el-Hol and some Dead Sea scrolls. This website can be useful primarily for teaching and researching, but postgraduate students specialising in ancient languages may also find it useful. The project has been funded by several organisations, including the Underwood Family Trust Fund; the Ahmanson Foundation; and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The website "Iraq: Conflict in Context" was put together by the BBC History team as a portfolio of content to place the current Iraqi conflict in its broader historical context. In addition to the news and current affairs pages, the resource includes articles such as : 'Lost palaces of Iraq' by Dan Cruickshank, based on his November 2002 television documentary on the subject; 'Crusades and jihads in postcolonial times' by Dr D. Sayyid; and 'Return to the Iraq Museum: The Cost of War' also by Dan Cruickshank. The excellent multimedia Mesopotamia galley provides a cache of attractive illustrations of Near Eastern antiquities with accompanying commentaries by leading expert Dr Dominique Collon, plus bibliographic references and web links to sites concerned with archaeological and heritage matters. This website will interest a wide range of individuals interested in the contemporary Middle East, particularly in view of the on-going military and political crisis in the region. It will also provide useful and up-to-date material for university-level students and researchers working on the archaeology and history of Mesopotamia, particularly on the relationship between politics, archaeology and heritage management.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and presents the preliminary results of the French archaeological mission in the Sinjar region, focussing on the sites of Grai Resh and Tell Khoshi. Both sites were occupied from the third millennium BCE. The material culture of the region is summarised in a series of illustrated articles. Of particular interest are the many plans and pictures of buildings. Various pictures of artefacts are also available. Excavators have found a workshop, where limestone or obsidian pearls were worked - one may have been a seal. Several tokens have been found, and these suggest that there was an administrative system in place in the region. Another important discovery has been that of a cist tomb of child, containing a necklace with gold, lapis lazuli and cornaline beads. The wealthy tomb suggests that the society was stratified and social status was decided at the birth: for this reason a child could be considered of such high status to be buried with uncommon luxuries. The presence of obsidian demonstrates that the region was inserted in the exchange routes on which Anatolian obsidian travelled. There is also a small bibliography on this website, as well as a gallery of pictures, and contact details of the excavators.
This is the website of the Kelsey Museum of the University of Michigan which is home to nearly 100,000 artefacts from the ancient Mediterranean, Egypt and the Near East ranging in date from 5000 B.C.-900 A.D.The website provides an open-access database of the objects in the collection and provides a detailed guide on how to search the collection and download the necessary software. Readers can also browse the collection image by image. Work on the database appears to be still in progress and is due to be completed in Autumn 2002. The resource also includes numerous attractive online versions of exhibitions which have taken place at the Kelsey Museum since 1997. These provide fascinating insights both into the collections themselves and the archaeologists associated with the museum since its foundation and can be used as freestanding study modules for the wide range of topics featured as they also include bibliographic information. There is a guide to past and present excavations in North Africa and the Middle East which have been sponsored by the Kelsey at sites such as Carthage, Cyrene and Apollonia, St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai, Seleucia on the Tigris, Pisidian Antioch and currently at Kedesh in Israel and Abydos in Egypt. Apart from the general didactic value of this resource for archaeology students and researchers, this site will also appeal to those interested in electronic publishing and virtual museums.
The Kerkenes Project is a collaborative and multidisciplinary venture between the Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara and the British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara to explore the urban dynamics and landscape development of the city of Kerkenes in central Turkey from the early prehistoric period until the end of the Iron Age. Kerkenes was the largest city in pre-Hellenistic Anatolia, covering some 2.5 square kilometres. Kerkenes has been identified as the ancient Pteria, which was the scene of major military conflicts between the Assyrians, Persians and Lydians, including the famous 'Battle of the Eclipse' in 585 B.C. recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus. The website provides information on the work carried out since 1993 by Dr Geoffrey Summers. The website is divided into three main sections. The first section publishes the first decades of work and contains information on the historical background; photographs of early discoveries including an ivory plaque; drawings; maps, including 3D maps; and several preliminary reports. The second section publishes recent preliminary reports (some in PDF format); a geological background; further photographs from the excavations; the results of a geophysical survey; a postgraduate thesis on the application of multi-sensor remote sensing techniques by Zeynep Nahide Aydin; a useful bibliography. The third section contains information on the "Kerkenes Eco-Center Project" and environmental research carried out in Kerkenes. This is an important resource for researchers studying the Ancient Near East.
The Jazira region of northern Mesopotamia, a large semi-arid expanse of rolling steppe extending over the modern borders of Turkey, Syria and Iraq, is characterised by many tell sites which attest to the continuous occupation of this area from as early as the 7th millennium B.C. This website describes the multi-disciplinary archaeological and geomorphological work carried out under the auspices of Dr Tony Wilkinson of the Oriental Institute of Chicago during the 1990s, particularly in the environs of the Balikh Valley and around important tell sites such as Titri Höyök and Tell Beydar. The Jezira has been the focus of much research in recent years into both the diffusion of agriculture and the development of urban society in the Near East. The aim of the project, which builds on previous fieldwork by the Oriental Institute, was to study changes in the settlement pattern and human geography of the area in a long-term diachronic context in a wider landscape context by examining key phenomena such as land use, water management and irrigation, intra- and inter-regional communications and economic structures in the context of the changing physical environment. The resource is organised around a series of annual fieldwork reports from 1993 through to 1999 in addition to several articles outlining the scope and preliminary results of the project which together provide an succinct analysis of the long-term settlement history of the region. The reports are illustrated with numerous, photographs and figures which can be viewed at a variety of scales. This website is somewhat specialised in nature and is largely aimed at researchers working in Near Eastern archaeology and related disciplines and provides limited introductory material to the archaeology of the area. Nonetheless, the reports may also interest more ambitious undergraduate students working on final-year dissertations.
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 Louvre Museum in Paris has one of the largest collections of antiquities from Iran, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, the Levant and Anatolian, Cyprus and North Africa in the world ranging in date from 6000 B.C. to the 17th century A.D. This is English version of the official website of the museum's Department of Oriental Antiquities and Islamic Art. The resource introduces the collection with a brief history of the Department which began to acquire Near Eastern antiquities from 1847 through the archaeological activities of individuals such as Paul-Emile Botta, Ernest Renan and Ernest de Sarzez. Selected objects from the collection are presented region by region as a series of enlargeable thumbnail photographs which can be expanded into a full size image and description field. The high quality colour images can be enlarged to full screen size. The main website (in French only) allows you to search the collection more thoroughly with a well organised and efficient search engine and to produced detailed lists of objects for research purposes. 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.
The Madaba Plains Project has been investigating the rich archaeological remains of the fertile uplands of central Jordan since 1968, focusing in particular on the development of urban society in the Bronze Age (3500-1200 BC) and the relationship between human settlement and environmental adaptation over the past five millennia. The project is a collaborative multi-disciplinary venture between a number of North American institutions (Andrews University, Canadian University College, La Sierra University, Pacific Union College and Walla Walla College) the results of which are available in a variety of online publications. This website provides a loosely structured introduction to the overall project (in part intended as a guide to prospective students and volunteers with basic bibliography on Jordan and its archaeology and history) with photographs and online slideshows of the relevant sites. The website contains brief reports of excavation and survey work of archaeological sites centred on the prominent and long-occupied Tell el-'Umeiri (Tall al-Umayri) and include: the cave site of Khirbet Rufeis (Roman, Byzantine, Ummayyad, Late Islamic and Modern occupation); Tell Jawa (South), a large urban settlement dating from the Bronze Age; El-Dreijat, occupied from the Iron Age II period onwards with notable remains from the Persian/Hellenistic period and again from Byzantine and Ummayyad times; Rujm Selim, a multi-period site with Iron Age II, Persian and Hellenistic remains as well as Roman wine presses and hydraulic features; various smaller trial excavations at Bronze and Iron Age burial and settlement sites within the 5km hinterland of Tell el-'Umeiri. Many of the sections are accompanied by bibliographies of published sources for this project. In addition there are detailed descriptions of the various survey strategies pursued by the project, again with accompanying bibliographies for more detailed research.
This is the official website of the scholarly journal "Mediterranean Archaeology", which is the official journal of the Australian Archaeological Institute. There are indexes of current and past volumes and it is possible to purchase many volumes. Guidelines for submission of papers are provided.
The Madaba Plains Project (MPP), a multi-disciplinary collaborative venture between a variety of North American institutions, has been exploring this archaeologically rich part of Jordan, associated with ancient Moab and Edom of the Bible, since 1968 with excavation work focusing at tell sites such as Hisban, Umayri and Jalul. This is an 'umbrella' website providing links to online publications of the excavation and survey data generated by this wide-ranging archaeological project along with many additional links to websites on archaeology in the Near East and Jordan in general. It is hosted by the Center for Applied Spatial Analysis (CASA) at the University of Arizona. This in-progress resource features a series of detailed online preliminary reports and bibliographies, data sets (such as a gazetteer and interactive map of some 140 sites in the hinterland of Tall al-Umayri) and interpretative papers on the archaeology and human ecology of the area up to the modern period which provides an important survey of the changing relationship between people and environment over the longue durée. Modern spatial technologies such as GIS are prominent here and the manual of archaeological survey included here is a useful outline of current survey methods in the Near East. Links to other websites include the University of Toronto's excavations at Tell Madaba itself and related MPP websites hosted by Walla Walla College, Washington State and Andrew's University, Michigan. This site is a useful addition to online resources in Near Eastern archaeology and will interest students and researchers in this and related subjects.
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.
The Nineveh Tablet Collection consists of two databases, one of joins of all cuneiform tablets from Nineveh, the other one of the Babylonian written tablets from the same site. It is a publication of the initial part of the British Museum's Ashurbanipal Library Project, which was focused on the Babylonian texts from Nineveh (Kouyunjik). It includes a clear introduction and updated bibliographies. The two databases open in new windows as popups. This is a very focused and spaecialist website that will be useful to researchers in Assyriology.
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.
A prototype for a comprehensive interactive report on the Northwest Palace, Nimrud, Assyria (Iraq). The process of constructing a fully rendered 3D computer model is described in some detail. There is a gallery of test renderings and a partial VRML model of the throne room is available to explore. There are samples of scanned photographs and line drawings used in the design of architectural features. There is a section of transcripts of Conference Talks and Presentations related to the project and the background, including archaeological investigations is presented. This website is a preliminary version of a research study aimed primarily at researchers.
Developed and compiled by Scott Noegel (University of Washington), Okeanos is a comprehensive and detailed online gateway to a large cache of electronic resources related to the study of the culture of the ancient, Biblical, classical and late antique Near East. Sections covering the following types of resources are included: atlases; Bible; bibliographies; general resources; journals; discussion lists; museums; and philology. The structure of the site makes navigating these links simple, and sections are typically organized by topic and then by geographic location. Overall, the material presented by Okeanos will be most relevant to students and academics already involved in some aspect of ancient near-eastern studies who wish either to locate a particular journal or to familiarize themselves with the entire breadth of scholarly activity in the field.
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.
This is the official website of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum). The multimedia website of the museum contains information on the collections and research carried out at the museum. The collections span all continents but the information available at the time of review was scanty. A keyword tagging system simplifies accessing research materials, which are as varied as the collections but concentrate on the ancient Near East and South Asia. Wroth singling out is the lab of Biomolecular Archaeology that has carried out important research on ancient wine. The usual general information to visit the museum or access some research offices is also available. Both researchers and students may find the "research section" of this website useful.
Rosetta is a postgraduate journal published by students at the University of Birmingham. It represents the diversity of studies at the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity with papers on archaeological, historical and classical topics, including Mesopotamian studies; industrial archaeology and Byzantine studies. The journal welcomes submissions from postgraduate students. At the time of review, the first issue ad been published with illustrated articles; personal experiences (e.g. Simon Buteux's "Thirty Years of Birmingham Archaeology: A Career in Ruins"); book and conference reviews. The papers contain maps and videos and can be easily printed using the version in PDF format. The journal is edited by postgraduate students and publishes unfinished research being carried out at postgraduate level, but the papers appear fresh and stimulating.
A useful educational and research website based around the small collection of cuneiform tablets held by the University of Minnesota Science Museum which provides a short guide to the history and culture of cuneiform script and political and economic administration in ancient Sumer (southern Iraq) over four thousand years ago. The core of the resource is a description of the physical form, provenance, date and context, and content of each of the dozen tablets owned by the museum accompanied by high quality photographs, viewable at a number of scales, of each object. The actual texts are published in transliteration and translation and mostly deal with administrative and religious matters. Most of the texts belong to the so-called Sumerian Renaissance of the UR III period circa 21st century BC and come from cities in southern Iraq but several others date from the Neo-Babylonian period of the 6th century BC and feature famous kings such as Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus. In addition there is a fascinating account of the formation of the collection by archaeologist and adventurer Edgar James Banks ('The forgotten Indiana Jones') who worked in the Middle East in the twilight years of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. This modest resource will particularly interest students and researchers of ancient Near Eastern studies but also forms an attractive introduction to cuneiform texts for the more general reader.
The Society for Arabian Studies is a scholarly organisation based in London that aims to... "support and encourage research in the Arabian peninsula in the fields of archaeology, history, culture and the environment". The website is presented in English. The Society publishes an annual 'Bulletin' magazine in English, which is freely available online in PDF format. The 'Bulletin' aims to be a comprehensive survey of scholarly activity in the field during the past year, and at October 2008 three issues of this journal are available for download. Also available on the website are full details of the organising committee, membership fees, the Society's conferences, lectures, its Monograph Series, and other activities. The Society also offers small grants, of £500. This website will be especially useful for those seeking an accessible summary of recent scholarship in this area.
'Studies in Ancient Art and Civilization' is a full-text open access ejournal, with issues available online from 1991 through to 2009. The journal is published in English and French from the Jagiellonian University Institute of Archaeology, in Poland. Recent articles are primarily in English, and all articles are freely available in PDF format. Example article titles include: 'Egyptianising Grave Monuments in London's Brompton Cemetery'; 'Dwarf Figurines from Tell el-Farkha'; 'Gazelles and Ostriches from Tell el-Farkha'; 'A Forgotten Scarab of Horemheb', among others. Volume 11 was a special issue covering recent research on Greek colonies of the northern Black Sea coast. The journal will be of interest to scholars of... "pre-dynastic and early dynastic Egypt, the archaeology of ancient Egypt and Middle East, archaeology of Greece, Cyprus, Italy; the history of collecting and the history of archaeological research". The journal website has full details of the Editorial Board and submissions process.
Sumerian is the name given to the agglutinative language spoken in southern Iraq in ancient times and written down in cuneiform script from the end of the 4th millennium BC onwards when it was used initially to record economic transactions and later literary and religious texts. This excellent website provides a substantial online guide to many aspects of Sumerian language, culture, history and archaeology including : a lexicon of logograms and compound words with an accompanying bibliography of works on Sumerian language and linguistics; a guide to the origin of the Sumerian proto-language; a note on the development of the cuneiform writing system from counters and tally stones used in early administrative systems; a useful series of FAQs pertaining to Sumerian language and culture; a map of Neolithic and Chalolithic sites in southern Iraq; a very extensive page of weblinks to online resources in Near Eastern studies. There is also a set of Sumerian proverbs providing the original cuneiform text, a transliteration and a translation into English. The lexicon can be downloaded in a variety of formats including Adobe Acrobat and Word 6 and much of the relevant software can be downloaded from the website. The resource also features a catalogue of books on Sumerian topics from Undena Publications which can be ordered from the site. This resource will interest a wide range of students and researchers in Near Eastern studies from the specialist linguist and epigraphist to undergraduates studying the history and archaeology of ancient Iraq.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the site of El-Mughara, Syria. El-Mughara is a ninth millennium BC settlement in Mesopotamia that was inhabited from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) period to the Early Bronze Age. A series of illustrated articles focuses on: the Neolithic settlement; funerary practices in the region (non site-specific); tools; symbolic figurines (such as representations of the female form and bull's horns); the ancient environment; and the settlement during the pre-Halaf period and Early Bronze Age. Also provided are: a map; a table with all the C14 radiocarbon dates obtained from the site; a gallery of pictures; a bibliography; and contact details for the excavator. This is a preliminary report of recent excavations that may be useful especially to researchers.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the site of Jerf el-Ahmar, Syria. Jerf el-Ahmar was founded circa the tenth or ninth millennium BC. It has yielded material culture from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and B (PPNA and PPNB) and is one of the sites where the earliest evidence of agriculture has been found. This website contains several illustrated articles summarising the excavations, material evidence found, and studies carried out about this site. The articles focus on: architecture (transition from circular huts to rectangular houses); the development of pre-urban house clusters; the emergence of multi-room buildings shared by the community (communal buildings); one house preserved after a domestic fire; the ancient environment; and figurines and symbols. The site also includes a bibliography, a gallery of pictures ('diaporama'), and contact details for the excavator.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the Syrian site Mari. The settlement was founded ca. 2900 BC and became an urban centre with an important palace. A significant archive of cuneiform tablets has been found at Mari, also containing literary and mythological texts. This website gives only a summary of the evidence, with short illustrated articles, and therefore it may be of most use to students. There are thematic articles on: urbanism; architecture; statuary; paintings; and archives. The article on urbanism is especially interesting, as it contains some information on the earliest phase of Mari; the reconstruction of the site by the Shakkanakku dynasty; and the system of canals used for irrigation. The 'diaporama' (picture gallery) contains a number of colour images of the site and of some of the findings. There is also a map, a bibliography, and a glossary.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the site of Tell Ashara-Terqa, Syria. The site was founded during the third millennium BC, and under Babylonian rule it remained important for some time. In the eighteenth century BC, after Hammurabi of Babylon destroyed Mari, it became capital of the kingdom of Hana. This website consists of a few illustrated articles focusing on the chronological phases of the settlement. The silver treasure of 'chantier C' is mentioned, and there are photographs of both the context of deposition and items from the treasure itself. Parts of the settlement are well preserved, with house walls still standing at a considerable height. There is also a bibliography, and all pictures accompanying the text are available in a larger format in the 'diaporama' (picture gallery). Students in particular may find this website useful.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the site of Tell Aswad, Syria. Tell Aswad is a large tell dating to the Pre Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB). This resource presents the site and the research carried out there through a series of illustrated articles. These focus on: stratigraphy; architecture; funerary practices; stone tools; and figurines. The site is distinct from any other in the region because of its unique architecture. Several pictures and a summary are provided in the relevant section on architecture, but no comparisons are made. The 'diaporama' (picture gallery) contains higher resolution versions of all images presented with the text. There is also a map, a stratigraphic sequence, a table of C14 dates, and a glossary of terms. This website is intended as a preliminary report, and therefore is aimed at researchers.
This illustrated website publishes the preliminary data from the excavations at Tell 'Acharneh in Syria by Laval University, Quebec, which has been exploring this important ancient urban centre since 1998. Acharneh, 35 km south-west of Hama in modern Syria, is a large tell site of some 70 hectares located on the Orontes river in the southern portion of the fertile Ghab valley whose strategic position helps to explain its long history of human occupation from the Early Bronze Age to the mediaeval period. This site has been identified with the powerful city of Tunip mentioned in Near Eastern and Egyptian documents of the second millennium BC and central to our understanding of the political makeup of the region in this period. The ancient town disappears from ancient records at the arrival of the Sea Peoples at the end of the Bronze Age. As part of the project, archaeologists are revising the pottery sequence, which is used as an important chronological yardstick in Near Eastern stratigraphy. The website publishes short fieldwork reports since 1998 (accessible by year or excavation area); bibliographic references; a video produced from GIS data; topographical and satellite maps; news on recent research; and lists of project members by year. The English language version of this website was in preparation at the time of review. This is an informative resource on an important archaeological site and will benefit students and researchers in Near Eastern archaeology and history and related subjects. However, the scanty data from the preliminary reports only allow for an introduction to the research at this archaeological site.
The Tell Brak / Kilise Tepe archive is the result of an archaeological excavation focusing on the contextual analysis of the use of space at two Near Eastern Bronze Age sites. This archive represents the raw material of a project designed to collect and analyse data from two Near Eastern excavations, Tell Brak in north-eastern Syria, and Kilise Tepe in southern Turkey. The project was jointly initiated by Dr. R.J. Matthews and J.N. Postgate, and was funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The archive consists of introductions to the excavations at Tell Brak and Kilise Tepe; reports on archaeobotanical, zooarchaeological, micromorphological and ceramic analyses. The files composing the archive can be freely downloaded; they are in BMP; delimited text; plain text; MS Word; MS Excel; GIF; HTML; RTF formats. Researchers in particular may find this website useful.
The website describes the Tell Brak project in Syria carried out by archaeologists at Cambridge University, and focuses on the "investigation of urban growth and administration in Northern Mesopotamia in the 4th and 3rd millenia BC". The website lists relevant publications, the personnel involved in the project, research aims and results and is of use to graduates and postgraduates, or indeed anyone with an interest in archaeology, the period, or Syria. Through the project, the researchers explored the nature of urban settlement, the Akkadian imperial presence, and the post-Akkadian city as a focus of one of the earliest known Hurrian kingdoms.The Web page describes the physical features of the location, and Brak, a so-called "gateway City". The ancient name for the city was Nagar, which was a centre of Akkadian imperial administration. The project received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) within the Research Grants scheme.
This is the online publication of the Oriental Institute of Chicago excavations at Tell es-Sweyhat on the banks of the river Euphrates in northern Syria. Sweyhat is one of the innumerable tell sites littering the semi-arid landscape of the Middle East and offers an insight into the development of urban civilisation and long-term occupation history at a relatively small settlement in this area from the Late Chalcolithic to the Late Roman/ Islamic periods ca. 4000 BC - 7th century AD. The Early Bronze Age levels of the settlement are particularly important and have produced rare examples of wall paintings from high status buildings of the early 3rd millennium B.C. The resource consists of a series of annual reports on the excavations and survey work at Sweyhat between 1991 and 2000. The later reports are well illustrated with contour maps, plans of architectural and archaeological contexts and numerous objects recovered from the site. The maps and plans can be viewed in large frame format. This lack of a more general introduction to the archaeological site and its region and the absence of overall conclusions or bibliographies mark this resource as being very much for the specialist researcher or dedicated undergraduate as the annual reports are presented in a format typically found in print journals. Nonetheless this website provides a useful guide to a excavation project at a relatively small and historically unimportant city.
This webpage is an extensive illustrated summary report of the excavations at Tell Halula, Syria, by a Spanish archaeological mission. The settlement of Tell Halula has been founded during the Pre Pottery Neolithic B period (ca. 8700 years ago) and has been in use also during the Pre-Halaf and Halaf periods (until ca. 6700 years ago). The research carried out at the site has addressed issues of early monumental building; the construction of the first canals for irrigation; evidence of social stratification; emergence of cattle farming, agriculture and pottery. The version in Catalan should be preferred; a high resolution of the pictures is available by clicking on them. The 2006 preliminary report is available in Spanish only from the home page of the website as a PDF file.
The Tell Leilan Project website publishes data, reports, analyses and papers from the excavation and survey at Tell Leilan, Syria. There are several full-text papers and posters ("publications"); details of recent conferences where the project has been presented; ArchaeoSim, a Java-based interactive applet for exploring social and natural dynamics of third millennium BC Subir, northern Mesopotamia ("simulations"); and articles from news reports. Section "works in progress" contains several illustrated preliminary reports, including maps produced after a regional survey, a spreadsheet detailing tablets and sealings in the Lower Town Palace, geomorphological survey project, retrieval of the Akkadian administrative building, schoolroom tablets, city gate with volume calculations. Many articles contain an extensive bibliography; hyperlinks within bibliographies usually provide access to the papers, articles or data, which are usually in PDF, Excel or PowerPoint format. The volume calculations PowerPoint presents a case study of GIS manipulation of 3D sections, georeferencing, vectorising and data manipulation that may be used in teaching.
Tell Leilan was a farming centre that fro importance within the Akkadian Empire. A layer dated to 2200 BC proves that climatic change affected the settlement; in particular a prolonged draught seems to have affected the site and according to the excavators might have caused the fall of the Akkadian Empire (several papers are available on this thesis). The Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad I (1813-1781 BC) expanded the settlement building a royal palace and the city gate; he also renamed it Shubat-Enlil ("the residence of the god Enlil"). The settlement prospered until 1726 BC, when king Samsu-Iluna of Babylon sacked it.
This is the official website of the Dutch excavation team working at the Syrian site of Tell Sabi Abyad ('Mound of the White Boy'). The name refers to a ghost, which is probably a reference to the 'dead' settlement underneath. The research carried out concentrates on the Late Neolithic village (ca. 6800-5300 BC; lower part of the mound), and on the Late Bronze Age settlement (ca. 1300-1100 BC; upper part of the mound), during the Assyrian period. The excavation has also targeted two small Neolithic villages, Tell Sabi Abyad II and Khirbet esh-Shenef. This site contains the preliminary reports of the yearly excavations, which are lavishly illustrated with maps and colour pictures. For each year, some themes or artefacts are singled out and examined in some detail, such as Assyrian cuneiform texts; burials; cylinders; and pottery kilns; and the material culture at the site during specific historic periods. Also of great interest is the section presenting the research that is being carried out in parallel with the excavations. These pages summarise each historical period, presenting more material culture. The Assyrian page in particular has thematic sections on clay tablets; pottery; a fortress; sealings; metal objects; burials; and fauna. No scientific analyses are presented. Also important are the results of an extensive archaeological survey of the area and the studies of the Neolithic village, including a reconstruction of its plan and houses during its Halaf culture phase. Researchers in particular will find this website useful.
Tell Tuneinir, on the Middle Khabur river in north-eastern Syria, was continuously occupied from the Bronze Age to the mediaeval periods circa 2500 B.C.- 1500 A.D. and was a very active commercial and manufacturing town in the latest phases of its existence as well as being home to an elaborate Syriac monastic complex. This attractively produced resource provides a concise account of the results from the current excavations conducted by St Louis Community College, St Louis Missouri together with a bibliography of publications by the expedition team. The website provides an area by area description of the discoveries at Tell Tuneinir with plans and photographs of the buildings and archaeological contexts as well as selections of the small finds. The Bronze Age levels are particularly rich in zoological remains. There is a particular emphasis on the Byzantine and Islamic periods whose houses, market buildings and places of worship have been uncovered. The website thus provides a useful overview of a Middle Eastern settlement of the medieval period which will be of use to students and researchers of Late Roman, Byzantine and Islamic archaeology and art history as well as to those interested in the earlier levels of the settlement.
The official website of the Iraq Museum publishes some information on the galleries. For each gallery there are a few pictures (thumbnail size) with captions. Some texts do appear in a few galleries. Further information may appear in the future as there are placeholder pages for an extensive website (possibly the whole website as reviewed is a placeholder for future contents). Students will find very little reason to visit the website for the information it contains at the time of review. In recent years the museum has come to symbolise the damage to cultural heritage that conflicts may do and unfortunately the website mirrors the state of the real museum. A blank page on the "looting impact" is an icon by itself. The arabic version of the website opens in a new domain, but is currently empty, not even the scanty information available in the English version has been translated. Hopefully as things progress on the ground, they will do so also on the Web.
The "Threat to the World Heritage in Iraq" is a website that documents the effects of the political and military crisis affecting Iraq and the Middle East since the early 1990s. Archaeologists had to reassess the threat posed by war to the extraordinarily rich collection of historical sites of world significance in the region. This resource, produced by eminent Near Eastern scholars Nicholas Postgate and Eleanor Robson, is a topical guide to a wide variety of archaeological and architectural monuments in the firing line and provides useful weblinks to recent media stories highlighting the damage to archaeological heritage caused by human conflict. After an introduction outlining the nature of the threat and the problems caused by military action and looting after 1991, the heritage sites at risk are grouped thematically under headings such as: places of worship; khans (merchant hostels); palaces and military sites; irrigation works and bridges; archaeological sites with standing buildings; caves; and museums. All of the entries provide grid references and hypertext links to detailed maps of Iraq or to photographic images. The separate index of photographs can be searched alphabetically and is particularly useful for providing relatively recent images illustrating the present state of preservation of many of the sites and monuments. Links to academic sites on Near Eastern subjects are also provided. Apart from the immediate news value of this website, the resource is also a useful source of maps, photographs and topographical information for students and researchers working in the Near East, as well as providing information for those interested in the ethics and politics of heritage issues. The site has not been updated since 2003 but it has a strong testimonial value for the recent history.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the site of Kaletepe, Cafer Höyük, Turkey. The settlement was inhabited during the Pre Pottery Neolithic B period (PPNB) and was a transit point for obsidian (sourced in south-eastern Anatolia) travelling towards Mesopotamia and the Levantine coast. This website contains a number of articles focusing on the settlement and its material culture (mostly stone tools). These are illustrated with plans and pictures. Further articles explore the sourcing and diffusion of obsidian in the region during the Neolithic; a map showing the geomorphology of the region is provided. There is also a bibliography, and contact details for the excavators and researchers.
This website is published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and focuses on the site of Tilbeshar, Turkey. It contains a series of illustrated articles documenting the excavations at the site. The site was in use from the fourth millennium BC until the Middle Bronze Age; the site was then reoccupied during the medieval period. Tilbeshar was an important centre during the Uruk, Obeid and Halaf periods. This resource also offers a bibliography, contact details for both excavators and researchers (including those who have carried out scientific analyses), and a 'diaporama' - a gallery of pictures.
This website presents the excavations at Urkesh, modern Tell Mozan. Urkesh is a Hurrian site located in Syria and dates at least to the Akkadian period, when the royal palace containing an archive of cuneiform tablets was built. Life at the site continued well into the Babylonian period, when the site eventually declines. The website offers two introductory PDF files available in both English and Arabic, one proposing tours to visitors of the actual site and the other introducing a few artefacts. There are then a series of pages dedicated to various themes and categories of artefacts. Some of these pages use PowerPoint presentations, and although they do not need any special software, a broadband connection is recommended. The digital library offers free access to abstracts and full-text ebooks in PDF format of several scholarly publications on Urkesh and ancient Mesopotamia in English, Italian and German. A general bibliography completes the site. As of 2005, a new version of this website is in progress, which should contain more pages targeting the general public.
"The Virtual Museum of Iraq" website has been produced under the scientific supervision of the Italian Research Council (CNR) and is supported by the Italian Foreign Ministry. Despite the involvement of research staff, the website is aimed at the general public in a bid to help the Iraqi people reconstruct their cultural identity and it is of limited value to students. The website recreates graphically the environment of a museum and selected artefacts are displayed in "halls", each focusing on a distinct chronological period (prehistoric to Islamic periods). The selection of many artistic objects suggests the use of old fashioned criteria and limits the value of the website as an educational tool. For each artefact there is a "description" with a picture, and often there are 360 degrees QuickTime VR representations of the artefact ("Explore") and a "video" a few minutes long outlining the archaeological and/or cultural contexts. The information for the individual artefacts is succinct and correct. Section "backstage" (bottom bar) contains short videos by the scientific curators providing additional information on the project; these videos are available in Italian only.
The website is very polished and uses of several multimedia technologies, including virtual reconstructions, but navigating through it is not as easy as it could be. Virtual reconstructions are however based on "best guess" policies and therefore of limited value to anyone serious about the study of a culture. There is also a distracting running music that cannot be switched off permanently. The layout of the website appears to be that of a real museum. The project saw the involvement of staff from the Iraq museum in Baghdad, but is not the official website of the museum even if at times it may appear to be. It would have been preferable to see less graphics and no virtual walls potentially suggesting that the website acts as a replacement of the real museum. Since the real museum has been damaged in a conflict, the use of virtual reality to recreate that environment as good as it can be seems ethically challenged and may well become the subject of academic discussions involving students. Despite the obvious great efforts in producing the website, the graphics and multimedia seem to overshadow the actual artefacts and whilst the casual user may think that the website is a great introduction to the Iraqi culture using the latest technologies, even undergraduate students will struggle to squeeze out of it some educational value.
"WebGIS" is a powerful web application that combines the functionality of Google Earth with scientific data from a GIS survey. At the time of the review only one archaeological site was active, Babylon, which is accessible by clicking on Iraq in the initial map and then "Babilonia". The interactive map consists of a digital map of a central area of Babylon that can be searched by building or coordinates. It is possible to generate and display in the browser a picture of any parts of the area; this mode requires few resources from the computer and is therefore faster. There is a legend from where the layers can be activated or deactivated and a small help page. The selectable layers include Quickbird and Ikonos satellite data; topographic map; aerial photograph; digital elevation model; elevation curves; vegetation; roads, elevation points; buildings and others. If the computer has at least 512Mb of memory installed, Google Earth can be started from the browser and it will automatically download and load all datasets. From within Google Earth it is possible to select or deselect several layers; start a virtual tour of all buildings; use additional satellite photographs to map the terrain. The interface is very intuitive and written partially in English; users should note that all contents and interfaces from Google Earth will appear in the same language of the copy of Google Earth installed on their computer. It is suggested to use Google Earth to visualise the data for greater control and simplicity, but users should note that it is possible to access the legend, identify buildings, read elevations and access other features only from the browser. This is an innovative use of GIS and web technologies applied together to archaeology research. Babylon is an excellent case study and this website can be very useful to anybody interested in the archaeology of Mesopotamia.
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.
Excavations at Zeitah ('Zayit' in Hebrew) began in 1999 with the aim of understanding life in a local town setting in ancient Israel. Zeitah is situated in the Beth Guvrin Valley, located approximately 15 miles east of Ashkelon and 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The site was chosen in part to redress a perceived imbalance in archaeological research in ancient Israel, which has tended to concentrate on large urban sites at the expense of typical smaller settlements. Excavations thus far have unearthed remains dating from the Ottoman and Crusader periods, late Roman walls, and an ostracon dated to the mid eighth century BC. Recent work suggests that the town was subjected to a major military assault around 1200 BC. The project focuses on the period from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age. The website presents the archaeological site and the results of the excavations. There is an image gallery of the excavation areas and some of the finds. The website also provides information and an application form for students and volunteers.
Ziyaret Tepe is a large man-made mound or Tepe on the banks of the Tigris in the Diyarbakir province of south-eastern Turkey which appears to have been the Neo-Assyrian capital of Tushan established by Ashurnasipal II (reigned 884-859 BC). This website offers an brief, attractively illustrated guide to the site which has been excavated since 1997 by an international team of scholars led by Timothy Matney of Akron University, Ohio and Lynn Rainville of Sweet Briar College, Virginia. It provides a useful source of information about on-going excavation and past research at this important, but largely unexplored, settlement, and will benefit undergraduates and researchers working in Near Eastern archaeology and history. Ziyaret is located in a highly strategic position connecting upper Mesopotamia with the Anatolian highlands, a position which gave it considerable commercial and military activity significance in Bronze and Iron Ages, particularly in the context of Assyrian imperial expansion. The excavations suggest that the settlement itself was occupied as early as the Early Bronze Age (c3000 BC) as well as producing evidence for activity as late as the Roman period. Of particular importance is the discovery of an archive of cuneiform texts, otherwise very rare in Anatolia in this period, dating from the very end of the Assyrian domination c620-610 BC. The website exists in English, German, Italian, French, Turkish, Norwegian versions with Arabic and Persian promised for the future (along with other features which are still in progress at the time of writing).