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.
IAP PARTICIPATION IN THE 10th ICAANE, VIENNA -
25-29 MAY 2016
IAP researcher Anne Devillers attended the 10th ICAANE in
Vienna. She presented a communication on “Images of domestication: context and
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”.
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.
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.
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
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
IN MEMORIAM : Élisabeth du Puytison-Lagarce
Avec le décès de notre
regretté collègue Élisabeth Martin du Puytison - Lagarce (1941-2015), l’archéologie
syrienne ainsi que les études ougaritiques, levantines, phéniciennes et chypriotes
ont perdu l’une de leurs figures de proue. Ancienne élève des sœurs
Franciscaines à Damas et Beyrouth, Élisabeth avait hérité de son père une
passion pour l’histoire du Levant et celui-ci l’avait encouragé à entreprendre des études
sur le Proche Orient ancien à Paris. Études qui furent suivies de formations archéologiques
sur le terrain, l’amenant ainsi à Enkomi, Alasia, Ras Shamra et enfin, Ras Ibn
Hani. C’est là qu’Élisabeth m’a accueilli à de nombreuses occasions avec son
hospitalité légendaire, aux côtés de son mari Jacques et de leur fille Bérénice.
Les visites de chantier étaient passionnantes, tout comme les discussions lors
des visites qu’elle me dispensait à Tell Kazel et à Bruxelles, ainsi que lors
de nos rencontres aux de nombreux congrès et colloques en Orient, en Europe ou
en Afrique du Nord.
Collaboratrice de Jean Leclant
depuis la fin des années soixante, Élisabeth suivit de près les progrès de l’égyptologie
et signa plusieurs études dans un domaine pour lequel sa fille allait se
passionner à son tour. Paru en 1976, l’ouvrage collectif sur les fouilles de
Kition doit en effet beaucoup à sa vaste
connaissance bibliographique sur les scarabées et objets en faïence.(1) Trois ans plus
tard, elle eut l’occasion d’attirer l’attention de ses collègues sur le
substrat syrien de l’iconographie phénicienne à l’occasion du premier congrès
international des études phéniciennes et
puniques.(2) Sa profonde connaissance de l’Age du Bronze récent lui permit à
plusieurs occasions de percevoir la continuation des traditions levantines dans
les expressions culturelles d’autres zones méditerranéennes.(3) C’est cette
nouvelle orientation qui lui valut le rôle de responsable de groupements de
recherche (CNRS 989/URA 995) portant sur le modèle phénicien dans le développement
de la période orientalisante en Méditerranée, une décennie avant qu’une longue
et pénible maladie frappa son foyer.
Ces quelques lignes ne concernent
qu’un seul aspect d’une considérable production scientifique qui fit d’Élisabeth
un véritable précurseur de notre Pôle d’Attraction Interuniversitaire Greater Mesopotamia dans ses grands axes
(Levant) comme dans ses thèmes plus spécifiques (glyptique). Puissent Jacques
et Bérénice y trouver néanmoins quelque confort dans l’attente des notices
biographiques plus complètes que d’autres amis publieront bientôt…
Coordinateur PAI: Greater
(1) G. Clerc, V. Karageorghis, É.
Lagarce et J. Leclant, Fouilles de Kition,
II. Objets égyptiens et égyptisants:
scarabées, amulettes et figurines en pâte de verre et en faïence, vase
plastique en faïence. Sites I et II, 1969-1975, Nicosie, 1976, cfr. aussi É.
Lagarce, “Annexe I. Le scarabée de la tombe 13”, dans P. Courbin, Fouilles de Bassit. Tombes du Fer, Paris
1993 ; 119-123.
(2) É. Lagarce, “Le rôle d’Ugarit dans l’élaboration du répertoire iconographique syro-phénicien du premier millénaire avant J.-C. », Atti del I Congresso InternazIonaLe di Studi Fenici e Punici. Roma, 5-10 Novembre 1979, II, Rome 1983 ; 547-562.
(3) J. Lagarce & É. Lagarce, “Les lingots ‘en peau de bœuf’, objets de commerce et symboles idéologiques dans le monde méditerranéen”, Revue d'études phénico-puniques et d'antiquités libyennes X (1997) : 73-97, cfr. J. Gran-Aymerich & É. Lagarce, « Recherches sur la période orientalisante en Étrurie et dans le Midi ibérique », CRAIBL 139 (1995) : 567-602.
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 http://www.amarant.be/.
Bel temple in Palmyra (destroyed August 2015)
Journée d’étude Patrimoines en
(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 http://greatermesopotamia.be/onewebmedia/Programme_Mariemont.pdf.
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 http://www.dish2015.nl/programme/table-sessions/.
>>> 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.
NewsPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Fri, July 04, 2014 08:56:25 On the website of the Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve a short article was published on the recordings of Mesopotamian Heritage which were made by the IAP WP VI-team several months ago (see also blog post 20). This article will also appear in the forthcoming number of the museum's bulletin, Le Courrier 31 (September): Druart E., Hameeuw H. and Tavernier J.: Numérisation de la collection Proche-Orient ancien.
Field WorkPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Tue, May 20, 2014 12:07:48 From 14 till 16 May 2014 IAP researchers Anne Devillers and Hendrik Hameeuw worked, studied and imaged a part of the Schøyen Collection in Norway. For 3 days they were granted access to the Uruk IV-III cuneiform tablets & bullae and to the stamp seal collection. This exceptional material fits in their ongoing research on glyptic studies and joins with WP V (History and Chronology) & WP VI (Imaging and Technology) of the IAP 7/14.
Anne Devillers inspecting cylinder seal impressions on a Uruk III tablet
In total all of the 4th/3rd millenium stamp seals were described and scanned in bulk with the Portable Light Dome. Of the almost 400 Uruk period cuneiform tablets 28 exemplars carried traces of cylinder seal impressions; as for the stamp seals, they were described in detail and scanned. Back in Brussels and Leuven the further study will be continued with help of these descriptions and by consulting the images made with the Portable Light Dome.
Hendrik Hameeuw scanning with the Portable Light Dome at the Schøyen Collection
Inside the Portable Light Dome, scanning a 5000 year old cuneiform tablet
The aim of the research stay is to prepare a publication on the glyptic material in the Schøyen Collection, in the first place, for the seal impression on the Uruk IV-III tablets. This work will be undertaken in close collaboration with Bob Englund of the UCLA (CDLI project, one of the IAP 7/14 international partners) who took the responsibility to publish the Uruk period texts of the collection.
A cylinder seal impression depicting a walking lion on a Uruk Period clay tablet
NewsPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Tue, May 06, 2014 10:50:27 Over the last days an interview with the excavators of the Al-Ghat expedition (KU Leuven) has been published in several media, below a selection:
Field WorkPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Fri, March 14, 2014 12:15:48 From 18 to 21 November 2013 the Portable Light Dome was used at the Musée de Louvain-La-Neuve (UCLouvain, Belgium) for a recording programme of cuneiform documents, Mesopotamian seal impressions, antique coins, Etruscan mirrors, gold leaf inscriptions, scarabs and other archaeological objects. In the IAP: Greater Mesopotamia these actions take place within WP VI, i.e. the recording of Mesopotamian Heritage kept at the home institutions of the IAP 7/14 partners to allow a (re)new(ed) study of this material. This initiative was made possible thanks to the hospitality of Etienne Duyckaerts and Emmanuelle Druart of the Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve.
Shortly after the recording sessions the first results were already presented to the public in one of the exhibition showcases of the Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve (below). The audio-visual services of the UCLouvain prepared a video (below, in French and Dutch) on the event. During the stay, a demo on the applied imaging technique was organised.
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.
This Summer a team of four members of the IAP project ‘Greater Mesopotamia’ is working at the collection of cuneiform tablets stored at Cornell University. The team consists of Prof. Kathleen Abraham, Gabriella Voet and Prof. Karel Van Lerberghe (University of Leuven), and of Hendrik Hameeuw (Royal Museums of Art and History & University of Leuven). From June till November 2013 work is focusing on 700 new unpublished texts dealing with social and economic problems in Mesopotamia during the reigns of king Samsuiluna (1749-1712 BCE) and his successor Abiešuḫ (1711-1684 BCE). Most of the tablets are registered by using the Portable Light Dome. In time, these dynamic images will be made available for the international scientific community via the ‘Greater Mesopotamia’ website and are being stored on the Leuven University servers. At the same time, the images are also being published, together with transliterations, translations and comments in three books in the series CUSAS. A first volume, dealing mainly with tablets originating from the Enlil temple at Dūr-Abiešuḫ has been published in 2009 as CUSAS 8 (Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology).
Prof. em. Karel Van Lerberghe en Prof. Kathleen Abraham in the Tablet Room
This dossier gives evidence for the abandonment of Southern Mesopotamia in the late Old Babylonian period in a period of economic distress due to environmental changes. The clergy of Mesopotamia’s religious capital, Nippur, moved to the North and built a new center at Dūr-Abiešuḫ where they erected the new Ekur-temple for their chief deity Enlil. The next one, CUSAS 25, containing some 300 new tablets, is scheduled for 2014. It gives most important information on the activities of the mercenaries in the Babylonian rulers’ army controlling and protecting the Tigris river, the irrigation system and the Babylonian cities from enemies (most probably from the Sealand). Those mercenaries come from various areas such as Maškan-šapir, Gutium, Damrum and even Aleppo (Ḫalaba). The volume contains administrative and juridical documents and related letters (e.g. on the siege of Nippur). All seal impressions are copied and described and the use of the seals is being investigated.
During our stay at Cornell other tablets were studied as well. These will make up a third volume in the CUSAS series with texts dating from before the collapse of the Babylonian empire (under king Samsuiluna) and from the beginning of the decline (under king Abiešuḫ).
Hendrik Hameeuw with the Portable Light Dome in the Tablet Room
With de PLD-minidome some test were run with a new HD camera (GX6600c, ca. 28 mill. pixels). Recordings were made with the trusted and normally used lower definition camera, the Manta G504C IRC, and compared with images taken with the GX of one and the same cuneiform tablet. The outcome is used to establish an understanding on in which cases (type of tablets, with or without seal impressions) low or high definition is requested and can or can not be seen as an added value. (see illustration, left with Manta, right with GX)
As always, our stay at Cornell is extremely pleasant thanks to the staff of the Rosen Seminar helping us in many ways. David and Susan Owen should be thanked here in the first place. We also wish to mention: Jeff Zorn, Alex Kleinerman and Laura Johnson-Kelly.
The hospitality of our hosts is well-known in Assyriological circles and we had the pleasure to meet once again several colleagues equally working at the Rosen Collection: Prof. Jean-Marie Durand (Collège de France et Membre de l’Académie Française), Dr. Grégory Chambon (Université de Brest), Dr. Michaël Guichard (Université Paris I) and Dr. Bertrand Lafont ( CNRS, Paris).
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).
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.
sincerely thank Emmanuelle Druart, Etienne Duyckaerts and Jan Tavernier for
organizing this trial.
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)
NewsPosted by Hendrik Hameeuw Thu, May 30, 2013 07:30:54 In the KU Leuven info-journal 'Campuskrant' prof. em. Karel Van Lerberghe (member of this IAP-network) has been interviewed on his career as an assyriologist at his home university, his days at Ghent and Leiden University, his participations to archaeological digs and inter-disciplinary projects and his on-going research at Cornell University (Ithaca-US)
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.