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1991-92 Annual Report

Richard Beal

In 1991-92 Richard H. Beal spent much of his time transliterating Hittite texts from the newly published volume in the series Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi, vol. 34; i.e., converting the cuneiform signs of the hand-drawn copies into roman letters to be put on cards and into computers for the Hittite Dictionary Project. Toward the end of this business year, the pressing task has been the checking of the multitude of references that make up a dictionary article against the original cuneiform copies and against published editions and commentaries.

Aside from work for the Hittite Dictionary, he spent a great deal of time on the completion of his book The Organization of the Hittite Military, which is a revised version of his Ph.D. dissertation of the same title submitted to the University of Chicago's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 1986. The book will be published by Carl Winter-Universitätsverlag (Heidelberg) as part of the series Texte der Hethiter (edited by Professor Annelies Kammenhuber). Topics of this book include the standing army, levies, allies, provisioning and training, branches of service (chariotry, infantry, archery, and arguments for the existence of a small cavalry and navy), guards and the watch, size of the army, and various levels of officers.

His review of Christel Rüster and Erich Neu's Hethitisches Zeichenlexikon, a much needed list of Hittite signs with their various possible shapes, phonetic values, and logographic meanings has appeared in Journal of the American Oriental Society for 1992. He has also written an article to be published in the journal Anatolian Studies for 1992 on the location of the ancient city of Ura in southeastern Anatolia. Hittitologists have known the city to be a port and, ignoring Babylonian evidence, have placed it at modern Silifke; Assyriologists have known that it was reached through the mountains and, ignoring Hittite evidence, have placed it near modern Uzuncaburç, miles from the sea. Putting the evidence from Babylonian and Hittite sources together results in a suggestion that the city should be a sea port surrounded by mountains. It is then suggested that ancient Ura should be looked for under the classical port-city of Celenderis (modern Gilindere).

He is also writing a paper on the magic rituals used by the Hittite army to ensure the loyalty of the troops and the help of the gods, the latter rituals are designed for what we would call morale building. This paper will be delivered at a conference on Ancient Magic to be held in August 1992 in Lawrence. (His wife and Oriental Institute alumna, JoAnn Scurlock, will be speaking on private rituals piggy-backed onto seasonal festivals of the dead in Mesopotamia. Also giving papers will be his Hittite dictionary colleague Billy-Jean Collins, as well as Oriental Institute alumnus and now Yale Professor Robert Ritner, an expert on Egyptian magic, and Chris Faraone, an expert on Greek magic who was recently hired by the University of Chicago's Department of Classics.)

Finally in May 1992 he and his wife spent four weeks touring and photographing the various sights of Tunisia (old Islamic cities, traditional pit houses [the bar scene in the Star-wars trilogy was filmed in one of them], cave towns, and communal granaries [ghorfas], not to mention many magnificent Roman mosaics and ruins). While in Carthage, a place whose somewhat scanty remains poking out from amid the houses of the modern upscale suburb called Carthage do not live up to the city's fame, they ran into Oriental Institute alumnus, Jim Richardson and his wife Judy Lee. Supported by Fulbright grants and aided by American "Earth Watch" volunteers and American aid money, they are preparing new galleries for the National Museum of Carthage. The two large galleries, which Jim has finished so far, should in themselves make this one of the showpiece museums in Tunisia. He explained that he is buying in Tunisia all materials needed to prepare the exhibits (the cases, for instance, from a Sfaxi company that makes cases for jewelers). Thus Tunisians will not see aid money immediately spent outside of the country. Tunisian museum curators and those who fund them will realize that they can build world class museum exhibits while supporting their own manufacturers and without spending valuable foreign currency.

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