Greater Mesopotamia

Greater Mesopotamia

Network's 2017 annual meeting

ActivitiesPosted by Vanessa Boschloos Tue, September 19, 2017 15:24:49
The final annual meeting of IAP7/14: Greater Mesopotamia: Reconstruction of its Environment and History took place on Monday 18th of September at the Royal Museums of Art and History.

With 19 participants including 4 PhD students, 7 postdoctoral researchers and 8 senior researchers representing 5 network partners and 5 nationalities, the final annual meeting of the GMREH network was centered around presentations of each partner's main activities and research results for 2012-2017, and the - in the meantime traditional - 'oriental lunch'.
This allowed us to catch up on each others current and future projects, and have a short walk down memory lane with a presentation of highlights and memorable moments of the past five years, in the fields of mapping and surveying, archaeology, historical geography, history and chronology, and imaging.

... And we did it OUR way...

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4th NBN Meeting

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Wed, June 01, 2016 11:22:17

4th Neo-Babylonian Network (NBN) Meeting

On the 30th of May 2016 the 4th Neo-Babylonian Network (NBN) Meeting has been organised by Kathleen Abraham and Melanie Groß at the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven. In the past years these annual meetings have been hosted by the University of Vienna, Leiden University and Pantheon-Sorbonne University in order to provide PhD-students in the Neo-Babylonian field with the opportunity to present and discuss their on-going doctoral research with well-advanced scholars (on the basis of individual responses). This year’s meeting brought together Neo-Babylonian students and scholars from KU Leuven, VU University Amsterdam, Leiden University, Pantheon-Sorbonne University and the University of Vienna. In addition to a session about current PhD research, major projects established at these same universities, including the NaBuCCo project (presented by Kathleen Abraham, Stefania Ermidoro and Melanie Groß), have been introduced in order to encourage scientific exchange on an international level. These meetings of an international network of Neo-Babylonian scholars and students will be continued in the upcoming years.

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ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Tue, May 03, 2016 14:51:22


IAP researcher Anne Devillers attended the 10th ICAANE in Vienna. She presented a communication on “Images of domestication: context and interpretation”.

Abstract: A quantitative evaluation of images featuring animals on seals and sealings from the second half of the third millennium BCE in Upper Mesopotamia shows considerable differences between regions in several parameters, such as the prevalence of some domestic species over others or the ratio of domestic vs wild animals. Examination of how these specificities contribute to the understanding of seal production agency and use and the codes that govern their iconography.

The work carried out within the IAP at the RMAH was further represented by a poster for the team “Greater Mesopotamia, Reconstruction of its Environment and History”.

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Symposium: Identifying Archaeological Finds

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Mon, April 18, 2016 08:40:05
On 15-16 March 2016 the International Multidisciplinary Symposium: Non-destructive and Destructive Methods to Identify Archaeological Finds and their Host Deposits in Arid and Semi-arid Areas was held at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences; an initiative by the IAP partners RMAH and RBINS. The objective was to bring together different methodologies which address issues relating to the identification of materials and their composition. 60 to 70 researchers and students attended the symposium. The two day programme welcomed speakers from Belgium, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Egypt and Israel. The three keynotes to the symposium were:

- Georges Stoops - “The use of micromorphology in archaeology of the Near East“
- Patrick Degryse - “The origin and spread of glass making: The isotopic evidence”
- Dennis Braekmans - Integrating technological and archaeometric approaches to 1st Millennium BC ceramics from the Southern Levant and North Africa

The full programme and abstracts can be found via this link.

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Imaging @ Lausanne

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Mon, April 18, 2016 08:09:58
At the request of dr. Patrick M. Michel - Département des sciences de l'Antiquité - Unité de Mésopotamie (University of Genève) - the small collection of cuneiform tablets at the Musée cantonal d'archéologie et d'histoire (MCAH) at Lausanne was scanned with the Portable Light Dome on 11-12 April 2016. The scans will be used in the context of the on-going study and publication of these texts.

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BANANA Conference

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Thu, March 17, 2016 08:47:13

First International BANANA Conference

Babylonian Name and Name-Giving: What names tell us about social realities

On the 8th and 9th February 2016 the first international conference about Babylonian Name and Name-Giving has been held at the Leuven University (KU) Leuven. This meeting, which is envisaged to be the first one in a row, has been organised by prof. dr. Kathleen Abraham and dr. Melanie Groß (KU Leuven) with the intention to bring together an international group of Babylonian scholars and discuss in a diachronic view current research about linguistic and especially socio-cultural aspects of names which survived by the thousands on cuneiform tablets from southern Iraq.

The conference hosted well-established scholars and promising young researchers in the field of Babylonian studies alike. While the majority came from all different parts of Europe, it has also been possible to welcome colleagues from Israel. Moreover, lectures have been given by members of the Greater Mesopotamia Research Project (Anne Goddeeris, Melanie Groß, Jan Tavernier). In the context of this international meeting about 15 well-prepared and inspiring papers have been presented. While the majority dealt with names and name-giving in Babylonia of the 1st millennium BCE, the participants could also learn about this matter from the perspective of the Old Babylonian material as well as of Babylonia’s neighbours Assyria and Persia.

While plans for future meetings are soon to be developed, we are currently organising the Proceedings of this conference.

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BANANA Conference 2016

ActivitiesPosted by Melanie Gross Tue, December 22, 2015 10:58:58

The project Greater Mesopotamia Reconstruction of its Environment and History, Work package V: History and Chronology is looking forward to its First International BANANA Conference


which will be held at the University of Leuven on February 8–9, 2016.

Recent years have seen major advances in the prosopographic study of cuneiform sources from second and first millennium BCE Babylonia with the publication of a large number of archival documents containing thousands of personal names from the Old, Middle and Neo-Babylonian periods. Thus we have the resources to look for and define patterns in the selection of names and to evaluate their significance.

The study of Babylonian personal names has hitherto focused primarily on the linguistic characteristics of the names, analyzing their constitutive elements and classifying them in different types. However, names also bear socio-historical information about the name-bearer, his or her family and the society in which (s)he lived. They usually reveal a great deal about cultural origins, social situations prevailing at a given time, changing conditions and changes in the structural make up of society or society’s ethnic make-up.

The aims of the conference are to investigate how cuneiform onomastic data can contribute to our understanding of Babylonia’s social history, and which theoretical and technical frameworks are needed to gather and use the vast onomastic data from second and first millennium BCE Babylonia for this purpose successfully. The conference focuses on given names as well as ancestral or family names, and is not limited to one period of Babylonian history but favors a diachronic approach with the focus on changes in naming trends, especially between the second and the first millennium BCE.

The conference endeavors to include a diverse range of perspectives and disciplines concerned with a span of topics, areas and periods as they relate to names and name giving practices in Babylonia in the second and first millennia BCE.

We welcome talks that situate Babylonia’s onomastic data within theoretical frameworks such as Social Network Analysis or the ongoing structure versus agency debate of the social sciences, and reflect upon the following topics and questions:

- the relationship between the type of name and the person’s belonging to a particular sector of society, as for instance exemplified by the existence of slave names and occupational names (Beamtennamen)

- the appearance of tri-partite names and usage of family names

- the distribution of names and name patterns within families within one generation of the same family and from one generation to the other

- the circumstances surrounding the use of abbreviated names, nicknames (incl. those of the so-called Banana-type), double names and hybrid names (esp. in multicultural environments), and those surrounding the change of name (e.g. passage from one life stage to another; change in the profession, class or status of the person)

- the incorporation of non-Babylonian names into the elite Babylonian families and vice-versa the acceptance of Babylonian names by immigrant populations, and other cross-cultural name combinations seen in the onomastic record that touch upon the elusive concept of “Babylonianess”

- the choice of name in priestly families as a way to express ideological identification

- the feasibility of developing a digital name corpus for first millennium BCE Babylonia through international and interdisciplinary collaboration

More information:


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Endangered Heritage

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Mon, October 26, 2015 10:32:21

The IAP "Greater Mesopotamia" focuses on a study area today troubled by civil wars and far stretching disorder. It’s researchers do not want to ignore this agonizing reality. Within this research network evolutions and revolutions that took place thousands of years ago are being studied and explained. Therefore, as heritage sites all over the Middle East are now endangered and mutilated, more as ever before, members of this IAP take and participate in initiatives that try to find solutions for this new reality:

Wat met het erfgoed in Syrië en Irak?
(Royal Museums of Art and History - 25/11/2015)
Together with colleagues Klaas Vansteenhuyse, Louis Hulstaert & Jan Van Reeth, Hendrik Hameeuw (RMAH – KU Leuven) will focus during this charity event on the abilities offered by registration, recording, documentation and imaging technologies to reconstruct heritage sites and objects lost over the last few years in Syria and Iraq. This event was initiated by ‘Amarant’ and supported by the RMAH. For the programme see

Bel temple in Palmyra (destroyed August 2015)

Journée d’étude Patrimoines en danger
(Musée royal de Mariemont - 27/11/15)

This study day focuses on the recent destructions of heritage in the Near East and Egypt. One of the lectures by Jan Tavernier and Elynn Gorris (both UCLouvain) will deal on Le patrimoine culturel dans les zones de guerre dans l'antiquité et maintenant. The full programme can be found on

North-West palace at Nimrud (destroyed March 2015)

Digital Strategies for Heritage - DISH
(De Doelen, Rotterdam - 8/12/2015)

On the second day of the DISH2015 conference Hendrik Hameeuw (RMAH – KU Leuven) and Daniel Pletinckx (director Visual Dimension bvba) will organize a Table Session on the concept of lost heritage, “What to do if heritage gets lost”. See

Timbuktu library (mutilated January 2013)

>>> Concerning the (virtual) reconstruction of damaged or destroyed heritage in Syria and Iraq, Eric Gubel and Hendrik Hameeuw gave a short interview for the Belgian television (in Flemish):

>>> Concerning the destructions in Syria an article in which GMREH researcher Joachim Bretschneider (KU Leuven) is interviewed has been published in October 2013 in the Flemish Ex Situ journal on archaeology.

>>> On the threatened heritage in Syria an opinion was posted on the KU Leuven Blog by GMREH researcher Hendrik Hameeuw (RMAH-KU Leuven) in january 2014.

>>> GMREH coordinator Eric Gubel (RMAH) wrote an in memoriam for Khaled al al-Asa’ad (Director of Antiquities at Palmyra) in the Flemish Ex Situ journal on archaeology in October 2015, see doc. below.

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Susa and Elam II

ActivitiesPosted by Jan Tavernier Thu, October 08, 2015 13:26:06

2nd Susa and Elam conference: History, Language, Religion and Culture

From 6 to 9 July 2015, an international conference took place at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL). The conference was organised by Jan Tavernier, Elynn Gorris (Université catholique de Louvain) and Katrien De Graef (Universiteit Gent) had as main intention to bring together resarchers on Susa and Elam to discuss the ongoing research on this area in actual Southwest Iran.

Scholars from all over the world (Iran, Europe, USA, Australia, Japan) gathered to present their research in about 30 lectures. As such, one can believe that the conference was a success, both on the scientific and social level. Also various partners of the IAP project (Elynn Gorris, Jan Tavenier, Alexandre Tourovets, Rindert Janssens, Frieda Bogemans and Cecile Baeteman) gave a lecture.

The Proceedings will be published as a volume in the prestigious MDP series (Mémoire de la Délégation en perse).

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DigHum @ ARTS KU Leuven

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Wed, September 10, 2014 15:46:20
Members of the KU Leuven and RMAH teams of the IAP network 'Greater Mesopotamia', presented lecture and poster at the 2014 Digital Humanities Summer School held at the faculty of Arts at the Leuven University:

"Multi-light recording, interactive HD imaging executable by any researcher" (lecture by Hendrik Hameeuw)


"Imaging Greater Mesopotamia’s Heritage: New techniques, New opportunities" (poster presentation by Hendrik Hameeuw, Vanessa Boschloos, Sam Van Overmeire, Véronique Van der Stede, Anne Devillers)

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The RMAH glyptics team ROCKS!

ActivitiesPosted by Vanessa Boschloos Mon, June 23, 2014 15:52:36

A training session on the identification of stones used in the manufacture of cylinder and stamp seals took place at the RMAH on Thursday June 19th. The training was organized by and aimed at the young researchers working on the Antiquity Department’s glyptic collections, and quickly joined by other colleagues from the department.

Geologist Thierry De Putter of the RMCA was invited to share his expertise and kindly offered to present an overview of the rocks and minerals we generally encounter in museum collections.
By taking a closer look under the microscope at a selection of objects, particularly a number of cylinder seals in various dark-coloured stones dating from the Djemdet Nasr and Akkadian periods, the GMREH’s glyptic team discovered the subtleties in distinguishing between stones that, at first glance, look very similar.

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UNESCO meeting for Syrian Heritage

ActivitiesPosted by Joachim Bretschneider Fri, June 13, 2014 14:57:27

Participation of Joachim Bretschneider to the international expert meeting “Rallying the International Community to Safeguard Syria’s Cultural Heritage” in the headquarters of Unesco - Paris 26 - 28 of May 2014.

The meeting brought together more than 120 experts from 22 countries to share information, devise policies and improve international cooperation during the conflict and beyond. They included cultural heritage specialists from Syria and the Syrian diaspora, representatives of Syrian NGOs, archeologists, and members of UNESCO institutional partners, as well as academics from universities in the Middle East and beyond. Representatives of major international auction houses also took part in the meeting.

“In some areas we are reaching the point of no return where Syria’s cultural heritage is concerned,” cautioned Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. “The destruction of heritage represents a cultural hemorrhage in addition to the tragic humanitarian crisis and suffering experienced by the people of Syria”.

© UNESCO / Professor Maamoun Abdul Karim, Aleppo & Apamea

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@ Conference "Money and Cult"

ActivitiesPosted by Anne Goddeeris Wed, May 28, 2014 11:27:05

From May 24th until May 25th, Anne Goddeeris participated in a conference on Money and Cult, The Role of the Temple in the Ancient Economy, in Dublin, Ireland. Besides giving a paper titled "It comes with the job. The duties and benefits attached to temple during the old Babylonian period (1900 – 1600 BCE)", she actively participated in the round table discussions.

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workshop on NaBuCCo online project

ActivitiesPosted by Kathleen Abraham Wed, March 26, 2014 09:21:06

On March 17-18th 2014 Kathleen Abraham, Shai Gordin (KU Leuven) and Michael Jursa (Universität Wien) organized a workshop at Leuven in which they discussed the set-up of a Neo-Babylonian Cuneiform Corpus (=NaBuCCo) website aimed at making available the large corpus of archival documents from first millennium BCE Babylonia to historians of the ancient world in general and Assyriologists in particular.

NaBuCCo project

NaBuCCo is a text-oriented website that aims at putting textual metadata of an estimated 20,000 published Babylonian documentary sources created between roughly 800 and the end of the pre-Christian era online. It will collect all meta-textual data from the sources, make the data available online, and link them to the original source documents from which they are extracted. There will be four main categories of metadata (Fig. 1): (1) identifiers (NaBuCCo no, CDLI no, museum no, collection no, duplicates, joins, publication, period, date, archive, provenience), (2) physical characteristics (dimensions, orientation, sealings, markings, philological notes), (3) content (text type, transaction object, quantifiable data, keywords, main persons, paraphrase) and (4) bibliography.

Fig. 1: Metadata – Tablet identifiers

The paraphrase (or Descriptive Summary) is one of the project’s key elements (Fig. 2), explaining and clarifying the source texts. By providing such descriptive summaries in narrative style and directly linking them to the original source documents from which the content data are extracted, we will make the difficult to interpret cuneiform corpus more accessible.

Fig. 2. Paraphrase: descriptive summary of text’s content

We hope that the project will benefit the research community, and will enhance the possibilities of conducting historical and social investigations into Babylonia’s multicultural society of the first millennium BCE. The end-product will significantly enrich the resources for the study of the political, economic, social and cultural history of Babylonia, and constitute the basis for advanced fundamental research.

Pilot Version

Within six months (October 2013 - March 2014) Abraham and Gordin have designed the input model, in close cooperation with the KU Leuven LIBIS team whose consultant has been configurating their software program CollectiveAccess to our needs (, s.v. Heron).

In the next stages we will start with the data input and develop the end-user application that will allow online access to the data.

NaBuCCo and Digital Humanities

The NaBuCCo project is firmly situated in the Digital Humanities area of research. It follows recent research trends and projects in Europe and worldwide which integrate state-of-the art philological research of cuneiform documentary sources with computer sciences.

In the study of the ancient world and more specifically in the discipline of Cuneiform Studies a sweeping digitalization movement is taking place. There are several projects, in the Anglo-Saxon scholarly world, in Continental Europe, and in the United States in particular, which are rapidly moving towards a digitized research environment in which tools are freely accessible online. The range is broad: from full-text and metadata databases dealing with Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Hittite texts from various regions, to quality-controlled wiki-environments for editing ancient documents. These are essential tools to perform innovative fundamental research.

It is worthy that our IAP 07/14 funded research group join in such initiatives and offer the scholarly community the fruits harvested by our research. Against this background we have set up the NaBuCCo project at the KU Leuven.

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International Conference @ Louvain-la-Neuve

ActivitiesPosted by Jan Tavernier Mon, March 17, 2014 12:33:59

On Thursday 27 and Friday 28 February 2014, an international conference entitled “Topography and Toponymy in the Ancient Near East: Perspectives and Prospects” took place at the Oriental Institute of the Université catholique de Louvain. This conference, organized by the research group “Ancient Near Eastern Studies” of the aforementioned institute, was held within the framework of Work Package III (“Historical Geography”) of the IAP-Project 7/14.

The conference was organized in five sessions: “Water”, “The Lands”, “Routes”, “Fields” and “Methodological Approaches”. International and Belgian speakers (see programme) delivered interesting and qualitative contributions followed by profound discussions. The conference covered all regions of the Ancient Near East (Anatolia, Levant, Mesopotamia and Elam-Iran) as well as the 2rd and 1st Millennium. Proceedings of this conference will be published.

Sincere thanks for the smooth organisation of this conference go to the Organizing Committee consisting of Prof. Dr. J. Tavernier, Prof. Em. R. Lebrun, Dr. A. Tourovets, Dr. Ch. Lebrun, Dr. J. De Vos, A. Degrève, E. Gorris and E. Van Quickelberghe.


Jeudi 27 février / Thursday 27 February

09h00-09h15: Accueil / Reception

09h15-10h00: Introduction

Prof. V. Yzerbyt, Prorecteur à la Recherche of the Université catholique de Louvain.
Prof. P. Hiligsmann, Dean of the Faculté de philosophie, arts et lettres.
Prof. J. den Heijer, Président of the Centre d’Etudes Orientales – Institut Orientaliste.
A. Devillers & Prof. J. Tavernier, Introduction to the IAP Project « Greater Mesopotamia: Reconstruction of its Environment and History ».

Session 1: Les Eaux / Water (Président de session / Chair : René Lebrun)

10h00-10h30: Kathleen Abraham (KU Leuven)

Perennial Water for Nippur: The Location of the Sumundar Canal

10h30-11h00: Karel Van Lerberghe (KU Leuven)

Where’s Waldo ?

11h00-11h20: Pause-café / Coffee Break

11h20-11h50: Guy Labarre (Université de Franche-Comté ; laboratoire ISTA)

Les cités riveraines des lacs pisidiens Askania (Burdur) et Limnè (Eğridir)

11h50-12h20: Stéphane Lebreton (Université d’Artois)

Réflexions sur les hydronymes d’Asie Mineure

12h15-14h00: Lunch

Session 2: Les Régions / The Lands (Président de session/Chair : Alexandre Tourovets)

14h00-14h30: Eric Gubel (RMAH)

La topographie historique de la plaine du Akkar : bilan provisoire

14h30-15h00: Danièle Michaux-Colombot (Académie d’Orléans)

Locating the country Meluḫḫa mentioned in cuneiform sources and identifying it with that of MḎ3 from Egyptian sources

15h00-15h30: Julien De Vos (Université catholique de Louvain)

La localisation du pays de Qedy/Qode : Une évidence à réévaluer

15h30-15h50: Pause-café / Coffee Break

15h50-16h20: Laurent Colonna d’Istria (Université de Liège) et Sébastien Rey (Université de Liège)

Mari et son terroir à l’époque des šakkannakū

16h20-16h50: Hadrien Bru (Université de Franche-Comté ; laboratoire ISTA)

Topographie et toponymie de la Phrygie Parorée

16h50-17h20: Etienne Van Quickelberghe (Université catholique de Louvain)

Entre Assyrie et Anatolie : La topographie du pays d’Isuwa

19h00: Dîner / Dinner (Il Doge, Louvain-la-Neuve)

Vendredi 28 février / Friday 28 February

Session 3: Les Itinéraires / Routes (Président de session/Chair : Mikko Luukko)

10h15-10h30: Accueil / Reception

10h30-11h00: Elynn Gorris (Université catholique de Louvain) & Greta Van Buylaere (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg)

Elamites on the Road to Hara(n)

11h00-11h20: Pause-café / Coffee Break

11h20-11h50: Alexandre Tourovets (Université catholique de Louvain)

The Assyrians in the Zagros : Problems concerning the localisations of toponyms

11h50-12h20: Gian Pietro Basello (L’Orientale - University of Naples)

Administrative Topography in Comparison: Overlapping Jurisdictions in the Acropole Tablets from Susa and in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets (6th Century BC)

12h20-14h00: Lunch

Session 4: Les champs / The Fields (Président de session/Chair : Gian Pietro Basello)

14h00-14h30: Anne Goddeeris (Universiteit Gent / KU Leuven)

The Fields of Nippur

14h30-15h00: Katrien De Graef (Universiteit Gent)

In Susa’s Fields. On the Topography of Fields in Old Babylonian Administrative Documents from Susa

15h00-15h20: Pause-café / Coffee Break

Session 5: Président de session/Chair : Guy Labarre

15h20-15h50: Mikko Luukko (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg)

Observations on Neo-Assyrian Practices of Naming Places

15h50-16h20: Lauriane Locatelli (Université catholique de Louvain)

Ariassos et Pergé, deux toponymes anatoliens. Hypothèses et tentatives d’interprétation

16h20-16h40: Conclusion / Concluding remarks (René Lebrun)

17h00: Conférence inaugurale d’Oriental Lecture Series. Prof. Christian Robin (CNRS Paris)

Toponymes et ethnonymes du Yémen : permanences et changements

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Mleiha excavations have Flair

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Tue, January 28, 2014 09:35:49
Science Outreach in the Belgian's women magazine Flair. Not really a scientific report, but as we can see: "Archaeology is Fun"

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Fundraising for Syria

ActivitiesPosted by Joachim Bretschneider Thu, January 23, 2014 14:23:29

On the 16th of January, some members of the KU Leuven team have transformed the New Year’s drink of the faculty into a fundraising event to support SOS Syrian Children, a Belgian organization which brings medical and educational material to the refugee camps in the surroundings of Aleppo.

Anne Goddeeris, Greta Jans, Joachim Bretschneider and Anne-Sophie Van Vyve have asked the dean, Luc Draye, to cancel the order for snacks and have called on their colleagues of the faculty to prepare their own delicacies, which resulted in a 15 meter long buffet of exquisite appetizers. This was even adequate to attract some very important people of the University like (former) (vice-)rectors: Prof. Rik Torfs, Prof. Danny Pieters, Prof. André Oosterlinck en Prof. Marc Vervenne. An impression of the event can be seen on the facebook page of the arts faculty (

The guests at the drink enthusiastically supported the initiative, with culinary masterpieces as well as financially. At the end the money box contained 1722 euro! And yesterday, we have rounded the cape of €2000! Thanks to our KU Leuven Letteren colleagues! Additional contributions may still increase the amount of money which we offer to Suzy Bochi and her team who are transporting wheelchairs, school books, powdered milk, hospital beds and other scarcities over the Syrian border through Turkey (

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Glyptic Seminar @ Brussels

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Tue, November 12, 2013 10:06:30
Thursday the 31st of October, the Royal Museums of Art and History of Brussels were the stage for several eloquent speeches by the members of the Belgian IAP Project “Greater Mesopotamia”, associated researchers, domestic and foreign specialists. After a short welcome by Eric Gubel, head of the project and president of this seminar, there were a total of three sessions with eleven lectures of twenty minutes each (and this limit was - quite surprisingly – respected by all speakers). The first two sessions were dedicated to research within Mesopotamia proper, the third discussed new findings in peripheral areas, such as Syria and Cilicia. The various presentations gave an insight into the bounteous possibilities that research into ancient seals has to offer – and the ingenuity of the scholars who succeed in exploiting every last one of these possibilities to their full potential. After the final coffee break, Dominique Collon presented a lecture for the Assyriological Center Georges Dossin on second millennium glyptic, after a previous (surprise) discussion of several seals earlier that day.

book of abstracts

picture gallery


11.00-11.10 ERIC GUBEL (RMAH-VUB)


11.10-11.30 HENDRIK HAMEEUW (RMAH-KU Leuven)

Abba-Kala the Knight, Louis Speleers was Correct!: Ur III Seal Impressions of an Equestrian


The Palace Glyptic of Nabada in the 3rd Millennium BC


Absence of Evidence or Evidence of Absence ? Missing Species in Ancient Near Eastern


– Lunch –

13.45-14.05 KATRIEN DE GRAEF (UGent)

Gala's Galore. The Seals of an Old Babylonian Gala Family

14.10-14.30 ANNE GODDEERIS (KU Leuven)

Sealing Practices on Old Babylonian Contracts

14.35-14.55 DENYSE HOMÈS-FREDERICQ (hon. curator RMAH - Em. Prof. VUB)

Glyptic of the Neo-Assyrian Archives of Ma‘allānāte

15.00-15.20 ZOLTÁN NIEDERREITER (Eötvös Loránd University Budapest)

Typology of the Adad-nērārī III Style Cylinder Seals

– Coffee break –


Geometric Seal Impressions on Pottery from al-Lahun (Jordan) in the Early Bronze I


The ‘Green Jasper Seal Workshop’: Evidence from Byblos

16.40-17.00 ERIC GUBEL (RMAH-VUB)

A New Central Levantine Transitional LB - IA Cylinder Workshop?


Le symbole de l'autorité royale au IIe millénaire : De la Cilicie à Karkémish

17.30-17.40 ERIC GUBEL (RMAH-VUB)

Concluding remarks

– Coffee break –

18.00 Key-note lecture (Assyriological Center Georges Dossin):

DOMINIQUE COLLON (hon. curator British Museum London)

Témoignages de la glyptique au 2e millénaire avant J.-C. – Réseaux internationaux le long de

la côte et de la méditerranée

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Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale 59

ActivitiesPosted by Anne Goddeeris Mon, July 22, 2013 18:19:59

From the 15th until the 19th of July, the international community of Assyriologists has landed in Ghent for its yearly “Rencontre” (RAI 59). The theme of this edition, “Law and (dis)order” could be approached from different angles, which resulted in a variety of contributions on law, linguistics, gender, economy and chronology, to name just some of the topics.

Hendrik Hameeuw (RMAH-KU Leuven) presented a poster "Interactive Cuneiform Imaging for Research and Publishing", Anne Goddeeris (KU Leuven) gave a talk on a disordered calendric system, “A Tangled Framework. A Calendric Innovation by Rim-Sîn”, and Jan Tavernier (UCLouvain) on drunkenness and hangovers, “Disorder in the Head! Alcohol Abuse and Hangovers in the Ancient Near East”. Young IAP members Elynn Gorris and Etienne Van Quickelberghe participated in the congress as well. Jan Tavernier and Anne Goddeeris have each chaired a session closely related to their research interests.

The coffee, lunch and evening breaks were well spent making and renewing acquaintances and discussing future plans (besides trying out the advices given in Jan Tavernier’s paper).

a bunch of Assyriologists

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CDLI on tour in Brussels

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Mon, June 17, 2013 15:23:10

17 - 21 June 2013. CDLI -one of the international partners in the IAP 7/14: Greater Mesopotamia- scans a large portion of the cuneiform documents housed at the Royal Museums of Art and History and the National Bank of Belgium, both located in Brussels.
This work for the CDLI database is conducted by Laura Hawkins of the University of Oxford. The collaboration aims at the continuation of the efforts to digitally safeguard these images and making qualitative scanned images quickly available to the scientific community and to the broad public.

Laura Hawkins scanning @ RMAH

These scanning sessions were made possible thanks to Robert Englund (UCLA), Bertrand Lafont (Paris), Jacob Dahl (Oxford), Eric Gubel (RMAH) and Marianne Danneel (Museum of the National Bank of Belgium).

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Demo and trial imaging @ UCL

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Mon, June 17, 2013 08:36:44

On the 13th of June 2013 a demo and trial session was organized at the Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve in regard to the imaging efforts of Mesopotamian heritage conducted by the IAP network (work package VI). IAP-partner UCLouvain keeps at their museum a small collection of a few dozen of cuneiform texts and some stamp & cylinder seals. This first visit with the Portable Light Dome (PLD) to the museum was organised to inspect the to image material and to demonstrate to the museum curator, photographer, employees and UCL researchers the potential the PLD technique. As such, we settled a complete week of recordings, scheduled for November 2013. In addition, not only cuneiform documents and seals will be scanned, but we plan to test the use of the PLD-technique on selected series of other epigraphic and archaeological objects safeguarded at the Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve.

We sincerely thank Emmanuelle Druart, Etienne Duyckaerts and Jan Tavernier for organizing this trial.

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First Annual Meeting (2013)

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Thu, May 30, 2013 08:00:43
On the 29th of May 2013 the IAP Greater Mesopotamia organized its first annual meeting of phase VII of the network. At the Royal Museums of Art and History coordinator prof. dr. Eric Gubel invited all national and international partners to join this event and report on their work of the past year and discus future research plans. The meeting was, as it should for a network focusing on the ancient Near East, preceded by an oriental (Lebanese) lunch.

Photographer H. Hameeuw might be missing on the group picture

Oriental lunch @ RMAH

Presenting the IAP's research, in this case the on-going study on the finds from Tell Kazel (Syria)

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Blog on a Blog

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Thu, April 18, 2013 09:20:01
Master Thesis on new developments with the Portable Light Dome (Minidome)

Since a few months Groep T (Association KU Leuven) student Vincent Vanweddingen works on the development of an online application to allow visualization of the Portable Light Dome results. He posts his progress and steps in a blog and has uploaded some images and video's on this new online viewer.

This IAP 7/14: WP VI, collaborates with Vincent's work and provides him with the necessary feedback and comments. Since March 2013 several members of our IAP are running and testing the beta version(s) he has developed.

As many members of this IAP network are pioneering and using the Portable Light Dome extensively for their on-going research, this new approach will allow our researcher to share the material they work than ever before. Secondly, it will give new possibilities in making the university and museum collections (within the IAP network and beyond) on Mesopotamian Heritage available for both the scientific as well as the broad public.

Vincent's blog:

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Recording Tablet Collection Ghent University

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Mon, December 03, 2012 13:55:51

The University of Ghent (Belgium) keeps some 45 cuneiform tablets that originate from the Susa excavations (chantier A). One of the IAP project goals sketched in Workpackage VI is to allow the in house expertise on imaging Mesopotamian heritage to be used by partners outside the network to facilitate research in Greater Mesopotamian studies. In that regard, on November 29 and 30 this small collection was scanned with the Portable Light Dome equipment.

It will allow prof. Katrien De Graef and her team at Ghent to tackle the content of these documents and shed new light on the history of Susa, in particular into the Old Babylonian period to which most of the tablets in this collection date.

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New Visualization Systems Cuneiform Studies

ActivitiesPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Wed, September 26, 2012 16:08:53
Work Package VI of the Greater Mesopotamia IAP deals on Imaging and Technology. In this regard, the IAP partners organized on 13 and 14 September 2012 an international Seminar on 'New Visualization Systems within Cuneiform Studies. Opportunities and Hazards'. For the digital registration of cuneiform tablets and several other types of archaeological objects, such as seal impressions or coins, the IAP partners have built up experience since years with the so-called PTM technology. In particular, the KU Leuven team has scanned hundreds of tablets and objects and prepared publications based on these images and wrote papers dealing on the used technologies. WP VI of our IAP aims to consolidate this and expand its use on the archaeological collections of the RMAH, the UCLouvain, KU Leuven and other additional collections or objects from archaeological excavations. During the last decade, several other research groups around the world have experimented also with similar techniques with as test objects cuneiform tablets.

Based on this background and in regard to the IAP partnership with CDLI we organized this Seminar at the KU Leuven department of ESAT and the RMAH department of Antiquities. Researchers working with PTM, RTI and 3D modeling within Cuneiform Studies at Southampton, Oxford, Heidelberg, Leuven and Brussels were asked to join this series of lectures, demonstrations, discussions and workshops to scope on the possibilities these techniques allow, the benefits they have proven scholars in the field of Assyriology and analyze the results they deliver. During two these two days at Leuven and Brussels, the participants (invited scholars, graduate students, doctoral students, postdocs, professors and managers in the heritage sector) were both introduced to what the technologies are about and took the opportunity to approach them critically.
Workshop on RTI-technology by James Miles (University of Southampton)

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