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1992-93 Annual Report

Matthew W. Stolper

Supported by fellowships from the American Research Institute in Turkey and a travel grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Matthew W. Stolper spent two months at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum in the summer of 1991 and another two months in the summer of 1992 copying the cuneiform texts and seal impressions on Babylonian legal tablets from the Muraßû archive, a group of legal documents excavated at Nippur in 1893 that form the largest written source from the last 150 years of Achaemenid Persian rule in Babylonia. The Istanbul texts are the last unpublished components of the archive. Stolper and Veysel Donbaz, curator of the Istanbul tablet collection, are preparing copies, annotated editions, indexes, and introductory essays for a final publication.

Stolper gave one in a series of lectures that accompanied the exhibition,"The Royal City of Susa," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The lectures were to characterize the city's most brilliant eras by focusing on rulers who were emblems of their times. Laboring under the disadvantage of the unmemorable and almost unpronounceable names of the Middle Elamite kings, Stolper's talk,"Huteludush-Inshushinak and the Middle Elamite Twilight," treated the different purposes, values, and assumptions of what is important about the past that lie behind the Babylonian and Elamite portrayals of conflict and their effect on modern historical reconstructions. He repeated the lecture at the Oriental Institute, before an audience that was used to handling arcane names and historical situations with aplomb.

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