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What’s New Archive - 2011

December 21, 2011

A new article by Prof. Norman Golb, "The Caliph's Favorite - New Light from Manuscript Sources on Hasdai ibn Shaprut of Cordova," is now available for download in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

The mid_10th Century was a remarkable time in the history of Europe - not least because of the burgeoning presence in Spain of a Muslim power whose military forces had pushed out from North Africa more than two centuries earlier and gradually transformed almost four-fifths of the country into the Arabic-speaking Caliphate of Andalus (=Andalusia). Roughly speaking, the first two centuries of the Arab conquest were given over to military victories and the consolidation of power, but by the time Abd-al-Rahman the Third had ascended the throne of the Caliphate in the year 929, he was able to devote at least a small part of his time to more mundane and sometimes even peaceful affairs of state.

By approximately 930, the Jewish family of Hasdai son of Joseph ibn Shaprut had moved from their hometown of Jaen to the Muslim capital of Cordova, and before many years had passed the relatively young Hasdai began attracting the attention of the courtiers in the royal palace for his unusual intellectual and sentient qualities. By approximately 935 he was himself serving as a royal courtier, and Abd-al-Rahman himself soon began to recognize Hasdai's highly unusual gifts; he eventually appointed him major-domo over virtually all affairs of state.

December 20, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

The manuscript consists of seven papers presented at the Theban Workshop, 2006. Within the temporal and spatial boundaries indicated by the title, the subjects of the papers are extremely diverse, ranging from models of culture-history (Manning and Moyer), to studies of specific administrative offices (Arlt), a single statue type (Albersmeier), inscriptions in a single temple (DiCerbo/Jasnow, and McClain), and inscriptions of a single king (Ritner). Nonetheless, all the papers are significant contributions to scholarship, presenting new interpretations and conclusions. Two papers (DiCerbo/Jasnow and McClain) are useful preliminary reports on long-term projects. The cross-references in Arlt and Albersmeier’s and in Manning’s and Moyer’s papers attest to value added by presentation at the workshop.

Table of Contents

  • The Capture of the Thebaid. Joseph G. Manning
  • Scribal Offices and Scribal Families in Ptolemaic Thebes. Carolin Arlt
  • Recent Documentation of Medinet Habu Graffiti by the Epigraphic Survey. Christina Di Cerbo and Richard Jasnow
  • Ptolemaic Statues of Priestesses from Thebes. Sabine Albersmeier
  • Ptolemaic Cosmogonical Inscriptions and the Cultic Evolution of the Temple of Djeser-set. J. Brett McClain
  • Ptolemy IX (Soter II) at Thebes. Robert K. Ritner
  • Finding a Middle Ground: Culture and Politics in the Ptolemaic Thebaid. Ian Moyer

December 20, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

Volume 64 of the Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization (SAOC) series contains twenty-eight studies of various aspects of the case systems of Sumerian, Hurrian, Elamite, Eblaite, Ugaritic, Old Aramaic, Biblical Hebrew, Indo-European, the languages of the Bisitun inscription, Hittite, Armenian, Sabellic, Gothic, Latin, Icelandic, Slavic, Russian, Ouralien, Tokharian, and Etruscan. The volume concludes with a paper on future directions.

Table of Contents

  • Cas et analyse en morphèmes? Christian Touratier
  • The Conjugation Prefixes, the Dative Case, and the Empathy Hierarchy in Sumerian. Christopher Woods
  • Agent, Subject, Patient, and Beneficiary: Grammatical Roles in Hurrian. Dennis R. M. Campbell
  • Des cas en élamite? Florence Malbran-Labat
  • Évolution des cas dans le sémitique archaïque: la contribution de l’éblaïte. Pelio Fronzaroli
  • Some Case Problems in Ugaritic. Robert Hawley
  • Early Canaanite and Old Aramaic Case in the Light of Language Typology. Rebecca Hasselbach
  • Vestiges du système casuel entre le nom et le pronom suffixe en hébreu biblique. Dennis Pardee
  • Genèse et évolution du système casuel indo-européen: questions et hypothèses. Jean Haudry
  • Allative in Indo-European. Folke Josephson
  • Anomalies grammaticales à Bisotun. É. Pirart
  • The Problem of the Ergative Case in Hittite. Craig Melchert
  • A propos de l’opposition entre le statique et le dynamique en hittite. Michel Mazoyer
  • Sur l’évolution du locatif en arménien. Matthias Fritz
  • Énigmes autour du datif et de l’instrumental. Françoise Bader
  • Les marques casuelles dans les documents paléo?sabelliques et la morphologie du génitif pluriel sud-picénien. Vincent Martzloff
  • Formation et variations dans les systèmes flexionnels des langues sabelliques: entre synchronie et diachronie. Paolo Poccetti
  • Cas et évolution linguistique en latin. Michèle Fruyt
  • La casualité latine en variation diastratique: du parler populaire à la diction poétique. Carole Fry
  • Le flottement entre les cas en latin tardif. Gerd V. M. Haverling
  • Case Marking of Core Arguments and Alignment in Late Latin. Michela Cennamo
  • Cas grammaticaux et cas locaux en gotique: les modèles casuels en gotique. André Rousseau
  • Remarques sur le datif en islandais moderne. Patrick Guelpa
  • Mécanismes de réaffectation désinentielle et hiérarchie des oppositions casuelles en slave. Claire Le Feuvre
  • Pourquoi deux génitifs et deux locatifs en russe pour certains substantifs? Etat actuel des paradigmes et aspects diachroniques. Sergueï Sakhno
  • Regards sur les cas dans les langues ouraliennes. Jean Perrot†
  • Sur l’histoire des cas en tokharien. Georges-Jean Pinault
  • Accord sur le désaccord: quelques réflexions sur les rapports entre morphèmes casuels et adpositions en étrusque. G. van Heems
  • Synthèse: The Dynamics of Case — Recapitulation and Future Directions. Gene Gragg

December 20, 2011

The 2010-2011 Oriental Institute Annual Report is now available in the Acrobat Portable Document Format (pdf) . Links to its respective entries have been added to the homepages for numerous Institute archaeological and philological projects and departments.

December 12, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Initiative, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) release of its Winter 2012 News & Notes publication.

December 7, 2011

A new article by Prof. Norman Golb, "Recent Scroll Exhibits And The Decline Of Qumranology," is now available for download in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

While significant advances have been made in Dead Sea Scrolls research over the past decade, defenders of the traditional “Qumran-sectarian” theory continue to use various publicity tools to push their agenda. These tools include, for example, the recent media campaign surrounding the claim that textiles found in the caves near Qumran “may” demonstrate that the site was inhabited by Essenes — a sensationalist argument that misleads the public with a mix of speculation and presuppositions. The tools have also included museum exhibits where efforts, either overt or subtle, are made to convince the public that the traditional theory is still viable. If we focus merely on the museums, we find that a noteworthy aspect of the exhibits involves the dissemination of certain erroneous and misleading facts concerning Jewish history and Christian origins. I here discuss some of the more obvious distortions, quoting from various exhibits of the past two decades.

December 2, 2011

All Chicago House Bulletins, going back to 1989, are now available for download in the Adobe Portable Document (pdf) format. In the future, they will appear online, in this format, as they are published.

December 1, 2011

Learn about Cleopatra, the Last Queen of Egypt, on a trip to the Milwaukee Public Museum, led by Dr. Robert K. Ritner, on Saturday, January 21, 2012.

November 28, 2011

The Christmas Holiday sale at the oriental Institute Suq Store runs from November 29th thru December 11th. Everthing's on sale! Members 20% off, non-Members 15% off.

November 28, 2011

New Research Archives Acquisitions List for August 2011 is now available.

November 22, 2011

Oriental Institute Job Posting: Two-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago invite applications for a two-year post-doctoral fellowship associated with the launch of the Writing in Early Mesopotamia Project. The Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the rank of Instructor will be appointed in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in affiliation with the Oriental Institute. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the fellowship will extend from the Fall of 2012 through the Spring of 2014. In addition to conducting research in connection with the project and pursuing independent research goals, the Mellon Fellow/Instructor is expected to teach two courses per year: a specialized graduate seminar, which would preferably be text oriented and centered upon Sumerian and/or Akkadian sources; and a broader, survey course concerned with writing and writing systems, appropriate for undergraduates and non-specialists.

The Writing in Early Mesopotamia Project represents a new initiative of the Assyriological faculty. The project endeavors to provide a comprehensive and detailed description of cuneiform writing from the first appearance of texts in the second half of the fourth millennium BC through the Old Babylonian period (c. 1600 BC). The project will investigate early cuneiform writing from the perspective of both language — how sound and meaning are systematically organized and represented in time — and semiotics — the origin, shape, and history of the symbols that comprise the system. Specific issues to be addressed include: assessing orthographic depth and the extent of logography as a function of time, register, and genre; the origins and propagation of phonograms; the extent to which phonological and morphophonemic structure can be extracted from writing; the adaptation of the Sumerian script to express Semitic languages; the typology of cuneiform graphs; graphic strategies for distinguishing semantic fields and the motivations governing complex graphs (e.g., diri compounds); and problems of modern transliteration. As the project will also consider early Mesopotamian writing within its broader social and cultural context, it will explore the interaction between writing and scribal training and transmission, as well as issues of literacy and Sumero-Akkadian bilingualism. Taking a typological and interdisciplinary approach, the project will consider these problems within the context of the taxonomy of writing systems more generally and of the other early "pristine" writing systems (i.e., the Egyptian, Chinese, and Mesoamerican systems) in particular, and will draw upon psycho- and computational linguistics, as well as cognitive science, semiotics, and information theory. The Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow will participate in collecting, organizing, and analyzing data, as well as publishing the project's results. As the project is still in its initial phases, the Fellow will be actively involved in the design of the project and drafting grant proposals. Future collaboration with the project following the two-year tenure of the fellowship is a desideratum.

Applicants must hold a Ph.D. in cuneiform studies and have a demonstrated competence in Sumerian and Akkadian writing and grammar. As per the requirements of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ph.D. must have been received within five academic years previous to the year of the award, hence no earlier than 2007. Because the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship is a residential program, recipients must commit to relocating to the Chicago area for the two-year duration of the award. Persons holding tenure-track appointments are ineligible to apply.

Complete application materials include a cover letter detailing research interests and qualifications, a CV, and three (3) letters of recommendation. The cover letter and CV must be uploaded to the Academic Career Opportunities Website (https://academiccareers.uchicago.edu, posting 01082, or http://tinyurl.com/7ee8m2t). Referees must submit their letters of recommendation through the Academic Careers website per above (strongly preferred), or by mail to: Adrianne Renberg, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 1155 E. 58th St., Chicago IL 60637.

No application materials including letters of recommendation will be accepted after February 1st, 2012.

Questions may be sent through the Academic Careers website (http://tinyurl.com/7ee8m2t) (preferred) or to ne-lc@uchicago.edu with the subject heading "Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship."

Position contingent upon final budgetary approval.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer

November 18, 2011

Six articles on ancient Near Eastern history published by Seth Richardson between 1999 and 2011 are now available for download in the Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf).

November 16, 2011

Oriental Institute Job Posting: Assistant Professor in Ancient Near Eastern History and Aramaic Studies

The Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations of the University of Chicago invite applications for a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in Ancient Near Eastern History and Aramaic Studies with a starting date in Fall 2012.

Applicants must have the Ph.D. in hand before the appointment begins. The candidate should be a scholar of the first-millennium BC Near East who has synthetic research interests that address problems in ancient history and who has demonstrated expertise in Aramaic language and texts. Applicants must upload a CV and cover letter and select three (3) referees to provide letters of recommendation to the University of Chicago Academic Career Opportunities Website at http://tinyurl.com/7un8y8j - Job posting number 01078.

Review of applications will begin after December 31, 2011.
Inquiries can be directed to oi-administration@uchicago.edu with the subject heading "Ancient History/Aramaic Search".

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer

November 4, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print publication:

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

On January 29, 2005, the Oriental Institute celebrated the official public opening of the Haas and Schwartz Megiddo Gallery. This occasion marked the return of some of the most extraordinary artifacts ever excavated in the southern Levant to permanent public display. The Oriental Institute's prolific history of exploration in the region is testament to a long-standing scholarly passion for discovery and the pursuit of knowledge. This volume draws from the momentum generated by the opening of the Megiddo Gallery and presents a selection of highlights from the Institute's greater Syro-Palestine collection.

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Stratigraphy of Megiddo
  • The Southern Levant Collection of the Oriental Institute
  • Megiddo: Cultural Crossroads of the Ancient Near East
  • The Early Bronze Age (ca. 3500-2000 BC)
  • The Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2000-1550 BC)
  • The Late Bronze Age (ca. 1550-1200 BC)
  • The Megiddo Ivories
  • The Iron I Period (ca. 1200-975 BC)
  • Where Did the Israelites Come From?
  • The Iron II Period (ca. 975-586 BC)
  • Who Built Royal Megiddo?
  • The Southern Levant from the Fall of Jerusalem to the
  • Roman Era (ca. 586 BC-AD 324)
  • The Southern Levant in the Byzantine Period (ca. AD 324-638)
  • Bibliography of Works Consulted
  • Appendices
  • Indices

October 24, 2011

Information detailing the Oriental Institute's 2012 Symposium, Heaven on Earth: Temples, Ritual, & Cosmic Symbolism in the Ancient World, to be held March 2-3, 2012, in the Institute's Breasted Hall, is now available.

October 18, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Initiative, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) release of the Fall 2011 News & Notes publication.

October 18, 2011

The Foy Scalf article, Is That a Rhetorical Question? Shipwrecked Sailor (pHermitage 1115), 150 Reconsidered, from ZÄS 136 (2009), pp. 155-159, is now available for downloading in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor is perhaps best known as a standard reading exercise for beginning students in Middle Egyptian, often seen for the first time in the hand copies of either De Buck or Blackman. However, this role should not lessen its importance in any way as a finely crafted literary piece whose complexities and idiosyncrasies continue to captivate the attention of succeeding generations of Egyptologists. In this article, I will focus on a single line only, in the ho pe that offering an alternative interpretation and new grammatical analysis may help lend some clarity to an otherwise unclear passage.

October 17, 2011

Oriental Institute Job Posting: Visitor Services and Security Manager

The Oriental Institute is a research organization and museum devoted to the study of the ancient Near East. Founded in 1919 by James Henry Breasted, the Institute, a part of the University of Chicago, is an internationally recognized pioneer in the archaeology, philology, and history of early Near Eastern civilizations. A primary unit within the Institute is the Visitor Services and Security department, which is responsible for providing excellent customer service to Oriental Institute visitors, faculty, staff, and students, and ensuring the safety of Oriental Institute facilities, holdings, and people. We seek applicants for the position of Visitor Services and Security Manager, who reports to the Executive Director of the Oriental Institute and is responsible for the successful management of all visitor services and security operations. The ideal candidate combines extensive customer service experience with supervisory and security knowledge.

The Visitor Services and Security Manager will recruit, hire, train, and direct a staff of 30 student and temporary employees who greet visitors, answer visitor inquiries, and protect the Oriental Institute museum and its collection. The manager will act as primary contact for museum visitors during business hours and will develop and train staff in customer service methods to ensure that the visitor museum experience is of highest quality. She or he will also respond to building emergencies as needed and oversee the museum's security systems, including oversight of keys, electronic keypad access and video security monitoring and will act as primary liaison with University and department staff on issues related to building access, use of facility space and emergency management to ensure the efficient operation of Oriental Institute activities.

Bachelor's degree or at least two years of relevant work experience required.

Customer service and/or security systems experience preferred.

To apply for this position, please go to http://jobs.uchicago.edu, create a profile and apply for requisition # 088374. Review of applications will begin on October 24, 2011.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer.

October 10, 2011

Learn more about our upcoming Special Exhibition at the Oriental Institute Museum, Picturing the Past: Imaging and Imagining the Ancient Middle East, running from February 6 to September 2, 2012.

Picturing the Past presents paintings, architectural reconstructions, facsimiles, casts, models, photographs, and computer-aided reconstructions that show how the architecture, sites, and artifacts of the ancient Middle East have been documented. The show also examines how the publication of those images have shaped our perception of the ancient world, and how some of the more "imaginary" reconstructions have obscured our real understanding of the past. The exhibit also shows how features of the ancient Middle East have been presented in different ways for different audiences, in some cases transforming a highly academic image into a widely recognized icon of the past.

October 7, 2011

New Research Archives Acquisitions List for July 2011 is now available.

October 7, 2011

Download information on applying for the 2012-2013 Post-Doctoral Fellow position at the Oriental Institute. The poster is in Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf).

October 3, 2011

Two previously published articles by Foy Scalf are now available for downloading in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. They include:

September 28, 2011

The Introduction chapter to Culture, Chronology and the Chalcolithic, by Yorke Rowan and Jaimie L. Lovell is now available for downloading in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

The Near East constitutes a core region for understanding fundamental changes in human existence such as the domestication of plants and animals, the formation of hierarchical social organization and the rise of urbanism and city states. The long history of archaeological research in the region has been both enriched and coloured by these research interests. Those working in later prehistoric periods, which appear to bridge deep prehistory and 'history', often fi nd themselves operating with perspectives vastly different from one another. Scholars of all periods will recognize parallel issues in their own fi elds of research. This volume challenges entrenched models and hopes to highlight new directions for research.

September 20, 2011

An older lecture by Prof. Norman Golb is now available for download in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format: Jewish Proselytism - A Phenomenon In The Religious History Of Early Medieval Europe. A paper presented at the Tenth Annual Rabbi Louis Feinberg Memorial Lecture, March 3, 1987, at the University of Cincinnati.

Thanks to the contributions of several writers but particularly to the seminal work of the late Marcel Simon, Verus Israel, the world of learning has become quite well acquainted with the phenomenon of conversion to Judaism in late antiquity. Not only did that period witness the rise of a new Judaizing monotheism whose adherents were known as phoboumenoi ton theon, theosebeis or sebomenoi ("God-fearers") and not only did pagan conversions to normative Judaism take place then with considerable frequency, but there were Christians too who were attracted to the older faith - a fact that can be traced to at least as late as the 5th Century C.E. Simon, followed by others, attributed the apparent abatement of this interest to the growing presence of Christian imperial authority and to the development of Christian religious doctrines that, in his view, were better adapted to the Graeco-Roman mentality than were those of Judaism.

My purpose in the present study is to show that through the investigation of old Hebrew manuscripts, it becomes evident that this same attraction continued into the early Middle Ages. Writers concerned with Jewish proselytism in antiquity have apparently not been well acquainted with these manuscripts, which come mainly from the Cairo Genizah; had they known of them, had they in particular considered with care the historical evidence for the conversion of the Khazars to Judaism, their conclusions would have been rather different than they were. As it happens, most of the manuscripts discussed below have not yet been dealt with in any general or popular treatment of the history of the Jews or of medieval civilization; even scholarly writings about them are far from abundant. (There is still, for example, no complete published translation into English, or any other language, of the autograph memoirs of Obidiah the Proselyte.) Although meritorious work has already been done on medieval Jewish proselytism in general, it remains a relatively fresh subject of investigation whose pursuit reflects the fluctuating state of knowledge of the jewish past and the dynamic quality inherent in its investigation.

September 14, 2011

Five previously published articles or book chapters by Yorke Rowan are now available for downloading in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. They include:

August 16, 2011

A summary of the most recent Epigraphic Survey field season's work, from October 2010 - April 2011, is now available on the project's homepage.

August 15, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Initiative, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) release of our Summer 2011 issue of our News & Notes publications.

August 10, 2011

New Research Archives Acquisitions Lists for May & June 2011 are now available.

August 9, 2011

The Oriental Institute announces a new archaeological project: the Jericho Mafjar Project (JMP), the first joint Palestinian-American archaeological excavation, making it a unique milestone for scholarship.

Khirbet al-Mafjar is located north of Jericho in the Palestinian territories. Famed as one of the most important of the "desert castles" of the early Islamic period, the site was excavated by Dimitri Baramki from 1934 to 1948. These excavations revealed a palace and great bath, both of which were intensively decorated with fine mosaics and elaborate stucco figures, as well as stone sculpture and frescoes, placing Mafjar as one of the most important monuments in the history of Islamic Archaeology.

The Oriental Institute was involved in support of the original publication by R. W. Hamilton in 1959. This monograph, and Creswell's repetition of its information, remain the scholarly basis for the fame of these monuments. This was assumed to have been the product of a short period of building and occupation in the early 8th century; in the absence of any final report on the site, the archaeology of Khirbet al-Mafjar stands in serious need of revision and presentation.

July 29, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Initiative the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of the seven titles below. These books were digitized as part of Stony Brook University's AMAR project by the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image at the University of Pennsylvania:

July 27, 2011

Commerce and Coins in the Ancient Near East, a mini-exhibit at the Oriental Institute Museum, looks at commerce and trade from 3000 BC to the 4th century BC. The exhibit is presented in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money being held in Chicago August 16 - 20th, 2011. The exhibit will be on view from August 11 to August 28.

July 13, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print publication:

OIC 30. Bir Umm Fawakhir, Volume 2: Report on the 1996-1997 Survey Seasons. Carol Meyer, with contributions by Lisa Heidorn, Alexandra A. O'Brien, and Clemens Reichel. 2011.

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

"OIC 30. Bir Umm Fawakhir, Volume 2: Report on the 1996-1997 Survey Seasons. Carol Meyer, with contributions by Lisa Heidorn, Alexandra A. O'Brien, and Clemens Reichel. 2011.

Bir Umm Fawakhir is a fifth-sixth century A.D. Coptic/Byzantine gold-mining town located in the central Eastern Desert of Egypt. The Bir Umm Fawakhir Project of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago carried out four seasons of archaeological survey at the site, in 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997; one season of excavation in 1999; and one study season in 2001. This volume is the final report on the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

The goals of the 1996 and 1997 field seasons were to complete the detailed map of the main settlement, to continue the investigation of the outlying clusters of ruins or "Outliers," and to address some specific questions such as the ancient gold-extraction process. The completion of these goals makes the main settlement at Bir Umm Fawakhir one of the only completely mapped towns of the period in Egypt. Not only is the main settlement plotted room for room and door for door, but also features such as guardposts, cemeteries, paths, roads, wells, outlying clusters of ruins, and mines are known, and some of these are features not always readily detectable archaeologically.

This volume presents the pre-Coptic material; a detailed discussion of the remains in the main settlement, outliers, and cemeteries; the Coptic/Byzantine pottery, small finds, and dipinti; as well as a study of ancient mining techniques.

June 15, 2011

Teaching the Middle East Resource Featured on EDSITEment

Wendy Ennes, Associate Head of Public Education, was recently invited by EDSITEment to write about the Oriental Institute's new resource, Teaching the Middle East: A Resource for Educators. EDSITEment is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Humanities, Verizon Foundation, and the National Trust for the Humanities and is a proud member of the Thinkfinity Consortium of premier educational websites.

Teaching the Middle East: A Resource for Educators was written by many of the best scholars in the field of Middle Eastern studies and created in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities and three University of Chicago units, the Oriental Institute, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the eCUIP Digital Library Project. Academically rigorous, thoughtful, and stimulating, Teaching the Middle East seeks to offer new ways of seeing and understanding by crossing cultural divides and illuminating how our shared human concerns cross oceans, time, and cultures.

June 10, 2011

A new article by Prof. Robert Ritner, An Eternal Curse upon the Reader of These Lines, is now available for downloading in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

This was the keynote lecture, presented June 27, 2003, for the first Egyptology symposium held in Greece, "Egyptian Theology and Demonology: Studies on the Boundaries between the Divine and Demonic in Egyptian Magic," presented at The University of the Aegean, Rhodes. As the publication of the conference proceedings has been delayed by seven years, the text is made available here.

June 6, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office introduces a new series, Chicago Hittite Dictionary Supplements, designed to augment and supplement the work of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary project. Future volumes will continue to bring tablets written in the Hittite language to light.

This first volume (ABoT II) is the continuation of the cuneiform edition Ankara Arkeoloji Müzesinde Bulunan Bogazköy Tabletleri (ABoT) published by Kemal Balkan in 1948. The Hittite tablets, which were acquired by the Ankara Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi by purchase and donations, or collected as surface finds, bear the siglum "AnAr." The best-preserved and attractive pieces of these tablets have been made accessible to the scholarly public through the publication of ABoT; the others, however, were not considered for publication at that time. Since the series of ABoT was later discontinued, such fragments, mostly still useful and in reasonable condition, remained untouched in the Ankara Museum for years.

June 3, 2011

Two new articles by Prof. Norman Golb are now available for download in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format:

  1. The Role of Personality in the Transfer of Scientific and Philosophical Knowledge from the Eastern Caliphate Westward
  2. The Caliph's Favorite - New Light from Manuscript Sources on Hasdai ibn Shaprut of Cordova

May 27, 2011

Spring is in the air, and the Suq Sale is on at the Oriental Institute from May 31st - June 12th. Members - 20% off all books and, 30% off all other items. Non Members - 15% off of all books and, 20% off all other items. If you place your order on the web during the sale, you will receive your discount in the form of a refund when the order is processed.

May 24, 2011

Ancient Artifacts of the Middle East! Examine x-ray images of a real mummy! Become the archaeologist for a virtual Nubian burial site! Decode inscriptions and learn to write in ancient Middle Eastern scripts!

History and archaeology come alive when students discover the Oriental Institute Museum collections with this new educational DVD about ancient Egypt, Nubia, Mesopotamia, Israel, and Turkey. Created by the Oriental Institute's Public Education Department with support from the Polk Bros. Foundation "Ancient Artifacts of the Middle East!" features fun interactives in English and Spanish for teachers, students, and families. Included with the software are fifteen original lesson plans, games, puzzles, and classroom activities created for and by teachers that build on the interactive content of the DVD.

May 23, 2011

Oriental Institute Job Posting: Development Associate

The University of Chicago's Oriental Institute is an internationally recognized research center and museum for studying the archaeological and textual record of the ancient Near East. Working with senior members of the Oriental Institute development team, the development associate is responsible for developing plans and implementing fund raising strategies for solicitation of donor prospects, serves as staff liaison for the Oriental Institute Visiting Committee and manages fundraising data and tracking systems, including annual fund drive and gift analysis and reporting.

To apply for this position, please go to http://jobs.uchicago.edu, create a profile and apply for requisition #087109.

The University of Chicago is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

May 10, 2011

New Research Archives Acquisitions Lists for January - April 2011 are now available.

May 10, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf) publication of:

"Islamic Bindings & Bookmaking. A Catalogue of an Exhibition in the Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago, May 18-August 18, 1981. By Gulnar Bosch, John Carswell, and Guy Petherbridge. Originally published in 1981."

From the multiplication of the pre-eminent Book of Islam an organization mushroomed for the production and marketing of books throughout the Islamic world. It did not appear like a jinn out of the sands of the Arabian desert. Many of its practices and certain elements in its organization had been inherited from the Christians, Manichaeans, and Jews. But the widespread traditions about the life and sayings of Muhammad and his companions were contagious and early on extended to great quantities of books of scientific research in history and geography and to a literature filled with poetry and tales of adventure.

April 28, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Initiative, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) release of back issues of our News & Notes publication for years 1999 - 2001, as well as the latest, Spring 2011 edition.

April 19, 2011

As part of its ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS ON-LINE, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces an additional letter, 'I, for the Chicago Demotic Dictionary, edited by Janet H. Johnson. This document is available in the Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) file.

April 14, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print publication:

"OIP 133. Baked Clay Figurines and Votive Beds from Medinet Habu. Emily Teeter. 2010."

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

"OIP 133. Baked Clay Figurines and Votive Beds from Medinet Habu. Emily Teeter. 2010."

This catalog presents the entire corpus of 272 baked clay figurines and votive beds excavated at Medinet Habu in Western Thebes by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago during its 1926-1933 campaign. The figurines represent women, women with children, men, deities, and animals. They date from the sixteenth century B.C. to the ninth century A.D., illustrating permanence and change in themes of clay figurines as well as stylistic development within each type. The group of votive beds and the small stelae made from votive bed molds are among the largest and most diverse collections of such material. Each object is fully described and illustrated and is accompanied by commentary on construction, symbolism, and function.

April 13, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print publication:

"The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago: Vol 20 U/W. Edited by Martha T. Roth. 2010."

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

"The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago: Vol 20 U/W. Edited by Martha T. Roth. 2010."

The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary was conceived to provide more than lexical information alone, more than a one-to-one equivalent between Akkadian and English words. By presenting each word in a meaningful context, usually with a full and idiomatic translation, it recreates the cultural milieu and thus in many ways assumes the function of an encyclopedia. Its source material ranges in time from the third millennium BC to the first century AD, and in geographic area from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Zagros Mountains in the east. The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary has become an invaluable source for the study of the civilizations of the ancient Near East, their political and cultural history, their achievements in the sciences of medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and linguistics, and not least the timeless beauty of their poetry. Volume 20: U/W marks the final volume of the set!

April 8, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

"AS 16. Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger on His Seventy-fifth Birthday, April 21, 1963. Edited by Hans G. Güterbock and Thorkild Jacobsen. Originally published in 1965."

It is characteristic of the wide range of interests of Landsberger that the articles cover such a variety of fields. That some of them deal with general Semitics, Hebrew, or Phoenician indicates their authors knew such subjects to be by no means peripheral to Landsberger's scholarship. Similarly, when two of the invited Assyriologists proposed themes involving contributions of an archeologist and a musicologist, respectively, we were glad to include these because they touch upon subjects which have also occupied Landsberger. Quite naturally, some topics relevant to Landsberger's own work were selected by more than one contributor. In view of both the diversity of the articles in general and the affinity of some it seemed advisable for once to depart from the traditional alphabetic arrangement and rather to attempt to arrange the articles by topics, even though many different and often overlapping criteria had to be used. We hope that it will be evident, at least approximately, what the guidelines were in this endeavor.

March 31, 2011

Travel dates and itinerary for the Institute's upcoming "Voyage through the Red Sea" travel program to Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan & Eritrea in November 2011 are now available.

March 22, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print publication:

"OIS 7. Slaves and Households in the Near East. Edited by Laura Culbertson. 2011."

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

"OIS 7. Slaves and Households in the Near East. Edited by Laura Culbertson. 2011."

The seventh in the Oriental Institute Seminar Series, this volume contains papers that emerged from the seminar "Slaves and Households in the Near East" held at the Oriental Institute March 5-6, 2010. Despite widespread mention of enslaved people in historical records from the ancient, medieval, and early modern Near East, scholars struggle to understand what defines this phenomenon in both particular contexts and in general. The purpose of the seminar was to seek new understandings of slavery through scholarly exchange and exploration of new approaches. In particular, contributors examined slavery in the context of households, an approach that allows scholars to expose different dimensions of the phenomenon beyond basic economic questions. Households, whether domestic units, temples, or the building blocks of political organizations, can be used as the prism through which to view the dynamics among enslaved people and their immediate contacts. The volume contains micro-historical examinations of slavery in contexts spanning almost four millennia.

March 15, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Initiative, and with the generous support of Misty and Lewis Gruber, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

"OIP 33. Megiddo Tombs. P. L. O. Guy. Originally published in 1938."

This volume is a catalog of tombs uncovered on the east slope of the habitation mound during Oriental Institute Megiddo Expedition. The tombs are presented in chronological order as far as possible, and their contents fully described and illustrated. Two chapters are dedicated to the human and animal skeletal remains.

"OIP 52. The Megiddo Ivories. Gordon Loud. Originally published in 1939."

This volume is a catalog of ivories recovered from the treasury of the early twelfth-century palace at Megiddo (modern Tell el-Mutesellim). The 382 ivory pieces are described briefly and illustrated at actual scale with photographs and line drawings.

"OIP 62. Megiddo 2. Seasons of 1935-39: Text and Plates. Gordon Loud. Originally published in 1948."

This publication, in two parts, Text and Plates, is a catalog of the architecture and artifacts recovered from Megiddo (modern Tell el-Mutesellim), primarily in the seasons from 1935 to 1939. Pottery is grouped according to strata; other objects are grouped whenever possible according to functional classification and chronological order within each class in order to facilitate tracing the development of any single class of object.

March 9, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Initiative, and with the generous support of Misty and Lewis Gruber, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

"OIC 9. New Light from Armageddon: Second Provisional Report (1927-29) on the Excavations at Megiddo in Palestine. P. L. O. Guy. Originally published in 1931."

The second provisional report on the work of the Oriental Institute at Megiddo (modern Tell el-Mutesellim) relates the discoveries made between 1927 and 1929. These include Bronze and Iron Age burials on the east slope of the tell and Stratum IV urban remains on the tell summit including fortifications and a city gate, as well as "King Solomon's Stables." Chapter 3 is an excursus on "An Inscribed Scaraboid from Megiddo," by W. E. Staples.

"OIP 26. Material Remains of the Megiddo Cult. Herbert Gordon May. Originally published in 1935."

Description of materials, primarily of the Iron Age, excavated by the Oriental Institute and associated somehow with the religion of ancient Megiddo (modern Tell el-Mutesellim). The volume is arranged by types rather than in chronological order. The second chapter is concerned with interpretation of structures of Strata IV and V within the sacred area; chapters three and four discuss sanctuary furnishings and human and animal figurines. A chapter by Robert M. Engberg discusses the origin of the proto-Ionic capitals found at Megiddo.

"OIP 32. The Megiddo Water System. Robert S. Lamon. Originally published in 1935."

Description of the town well of Megiddo, which supplied the city with water from the beginning of the twelfth century B.C. This well is located at the foot of the habitation mound, outside the city wall, and was accessed only by a steep climb down the exposed side of the mound. The water system at Megiddo is particularly interesting in that its development can be reconstructed practically step by step, which throws considerable light on the state of civilization existing during that time.

"SAOC 17. Notes on the Megiddo Pottery of Strata VI-XX. Geoffrey M. Shipton. Originally published in 1939."

Preliminary report on the pottery of Megiddo Strata VI-XX presenting a practically unbroken sequence of cultures from the earliest occupation on bedrock up to and including the last pre-Israelite period (ca. before 3000 to about 1100 B.C.).

March 4, 2011

New Program, Abstract, and Bio information regarding the upcoming Symposium, Iconoclasm and Text Destruction in the Ancient Near East and Beyond, April 8-9, 2011, is now available.

March 3, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print publication:

"OIMP 33. Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization. Edited by Emily Teeter. 2011."

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces publication of:

"OIMP 33. Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization. Edited by Emily Teeter. 2011."

This catalog for an exhibit at Chicago's Oriental Institute Museum presents the newest research on the Predynastic and Early Dynastic Periods in a lavishly illustrated format. Essays on the rise of the state, contact with the Levant and Nubia, crafts, writing, iconography, and evidence from Abydos, Tell el-Farkha, Hierakonpolis, and the Delta, were contributed by leading scholars in the field. The catalog features 129 Predynastic and Early Dynastic objects, most from the Oriental Institute's collection, that illustrate the environmental setting, Predynastic and Early Dynastic culture, religion, and the royal burials at Abydos. This volume will be a standard reference and a staple for classroom use.

March 2, 2011

The 2011 version of John A. Brinkman's "Mesopotamian Directory" is now available for download, in Adobe PDF format.

February 24, 2011

Visitors will have a chance to get a rare look at beautifully made statues, vessels, figurines, and other artifacts from the dawn of the Egyptian culture at a special exhibition at the Oriental Institute Museum, Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization, which will run from March 29 to Dec. 31, 2011.

February 15, 2011

New Research Archives Acquisitions List for November and December 2010 are now available.

February 15, 2011

Dr. Jack Green has been selected as the new Chief Curator for the Oriental Institute Museum. Dr. Green is coming to us from the Ashmolean Museum where he is Curator for the Ancient Near East. Prior to his current role, he held positions in the British Museum as well as the University of Liverpool. He received his PhD from the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London. Dr. Green will begin his appointment on August 1, 2011.

February 11, 2011

A third update, after President Mubarak's resignation, on the status of the Institute's staff and their work in the area around Luxor, Egypt, as the unrest and protests continue in Cairo.

February 11, 2011

A new article by Prof. Norman Golb, The Rabbinic Master Jacob Tam and Events of the Second Crusade at Reims, is now available for download in the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

February 10, 2011

As part of its Electronic Publications Initiative and with the generous support of Misty and Lewis Gruber, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) publication of:

February 10, 2011

The Winter 2011 edition of the Oriental Institute's News & Notes is available for downloading in the Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf).

February 8, 2011

Nine audio tours of the Oriental Institute Museum's current exhibit, Visible Language: Inventions of Writing in the Ancient Middle East are now available for free download, so that you can use your own iPod or other MP3 player to listen to museum staff discuss the exhibition as you view it.

February 8, 2011

A second update on the status of the Institute's staff and their work in the area around Luxor, Egypt, as the unrest and protests continue in Cairo.

February 8, 2011

The Oriental Institute Publications Office announces a new print publication:

"OIP 137. Tell Hamoukar, Volume 1. Urbanism and Cultural Landscapes in Northeastern Syria: The Tell Hamoukar Survey, 1999-2001. Jason A. Ur. 2011."

As part of its Electronic Publications Online, the Oriental Institute Publications Office announces publication of:

"OIP 137. Tell Hamoukar, Volume 1. Urbanism and Cultural Landscapes in Northeastern Syria: The Tell Hamoukar Survey, 1999-2001. Jason A. Ur. 2011."

Tell Hamoukar is one of the largest Bronze Age sites in northern Mesopotamia. The present volume presents the results of three seasons of field survey and remote-sensing analysis at the site and its region. These studies were undertaken to address questions of urban origins, land use, and demographic trends through time. Site descriptions and settlement histories are presented for Hamoukar and fifty-nine other sites in its immediate hinterland over the last 8,000 years. The project paid close attention to the "off-site" landscape between sites and considered aspects of agricultural practices, land tenure, and patterns of movement. For each phase of occupation, the patterns of settlement and land use are contextualized within larger patterns of Mesopotamian history, with particular attention to the proto-urban fifth millennium B.C., the Uruk Expansion of the fourth millennium BC, the height of urbanism in the late third millennium, the impact of the Assyrian empire in the early first millennium BC, and the Abbasid landscape of the late first millennium AD.

The volume also includes a description of the unparalleled landscape of tracks in the Upper Khabur basin of Hassake province, northeastern Syria. Through analysis of CORONA satellite photographs, over 6,000 kilometers of premodern trackways were identified and mapped, mostly dating to the late third millennium and early Islamic periods. This area of northern Mesopotamia is thus one of the best-preserved ancient landscapes of movement in the world.

February 2, 2011

Finally Egypt has Internet access again! Gil, Steve, and I have been in touch this last week by phone, and I know that Gil has sent out reports about our status. After the rioting on Friday and Saturday, I am happy to report that Luxor has been secure since the weekend, and Chicago House has been back at work on all sites since Sunday...

February 1, 2011

Travel dates and itinerary for the Institute's "In the Footsteps of the Hittites: Turkey & Syria" travel program to Turkey in September 2011 are now available.

January 24, 2011

Dating from 1960, and out of print for years, OIP 82, The Egyptian Book of the Dead: Documents in the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago, edited by Thomas George Allen, has been digitally reprinted, and is available for purchase in hardback format. It remains available for downloading in the Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf) as well.

January 13, 2011

A new article by Prof. Norman Golb, The "Qumran Sect" Revindicated?, is now available for download in the Adobe PDF format.

January 3, 2011

The Oriental Institute announces a new archaeology project, the Jericho Mafjar Project, under the direction of Dr. Donald Whitcomb. New excavations just underway in the northern areas of Khirbat al-Mafjar, located north of Jericho in the Palestinian territories, will investigate the theory that the site was not just a palace complex, but was instead an incipient Islamic city. A second aspect of this new research will examine the relationship of Mafjar to Jericho.

Revised: March 20, 2012

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