Completed Projects

Archives and Libraries in the Ancient Near East

Olof Pedersén

Basic reconstruction of all the archives and libraries of several thousand cuneiform clay tablets based on the epigraphic and archaeological material from the German excavations in Assur. The final publications are Olof Pedersén, Archives and Libraries in the City of Assur, Part I 1985 with the Old and Middle Assyrian material, and Part II 1986 with the Neo-Assyrian material. The project was funded by Uppsala University.


Olof Pedersén

Short inventory descriptions and preliminary analysis of the more than 5000 inscribed objects on stone, clay, metal, and other materials excavated during the German expedition to Assur. The final publication is Olof Pedersén, Katalog der beschrifteten Objekte aus Assur: Die Schriftträger mit Ausnahme der Tontafeln und ähnlicher Archivtexte, Abhandlungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 23, 1997. The project was funded by the Swedish Research Council.

An overview of the archives and libraries in the Ancient Near East 1500-300 BC

Olof Pedersén

An overview of the more than 250 archives and libraries with several tens of thousands of texts on clay tablets, papyri, and other material from the whole of the Ancient Near East. The archaeological context and the main content of the text in the collections are considered. The final publication is Olof Pedersén, Archives and Libraries in the Ancient Near East 1500–300 BC, 1998. The project was funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Babylon: cuneiform archives in historical and archaeological perspectives

Olof Pedersén

A research project in collaboration with Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin has reconstructed the archives with cuneiform texts unearthed during the German excavations by Robert Koldewey 1899–1917. Due to modern political problems (essentially the World Wars and the division of Germany) most of this material still remains unpublished.

A preliminary philological and archaeological analysis of the ca. 6000 essentially unpublished cuneiform clay tablets identifies the approximately 50 archives these texts once belonged to. The texts are dated and their contents are categorized. The official institutions and the private persons owning archives are established. On the basis of this material it is possible to draw preliminary conclusions about the use of written documentation in Babylon, make some comparisons with other cities, and to make a first analysis of historical and social circumstances in the city. 

The first results of the study have been published in a book with the title Olof Pedersén, Archive und Bibliotheken in Babylon: Die Tontafeln der Grabung Robert Koldeweys 1899-1917, in the series Abhandlungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 25 (2005). The project was funded by the Swedish Research Council.


Jakob Andersson, 2012

The project investigated connections between early Mesopotamian personal names and the conceptualization of human and divine authority in the early part of the third millennium BCE Mesopotamia. The time periods, the Early Dynastic and Old Akkadian (or Sargonic) periods were formative for later developments in Mesopotamian kingship. The personal names singled out for study contain royal appellatives normally translated as “king”: lugal and šarrum. These appellatives under certain circumstances also served other functions, such as epithets for deities. Other functionally related appellatives and epithets were cursorily inspected. The final publication is Jakob Andersson, Kingship in the Early Mesopotamian Onomasticon 2800–2200 BCE, 2012. The project was funded by Uppsala University.

Supervisors: Olof Pedersén, professor of Assyriology, Uppsala University and Aage Westenholz, lecturer emeritus in Assyriology, University of Copenhagen.


Mattias Karlsson, 2013

The study aimed at identifying and discussing early Neo-Assyrian state ideology through focusing on relations of power in the inscriptions and iconography of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmaneser III. The relationship between the Mesopotamian deities (“the great gods”), the Assyrian king, and the foreign lands was highlighted in this analysis. Through a close reading of all the epigraphic and iconographic sources of the two kings, i.e. the “major primary sources”, using basic philological and art historical methods as well as theories such as critical theory and post-colonial theory, the results of the study were reached. These results then formed the basis of discussions on ideological development within the reigns, local state ideology and regional politics, ideological comparison between the two kings, and a historical-ideological contextualization of the identified early Neo-Assyrian state ideology. The final publication is Mattias Karlsson, Relations of Power in Early Neo-Assyrian State Ideology, in the series Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records 10, 2016. In the final publication, a more comprehensive source material has been taken into consideration. The project was funded by Uppsala University.

Supervisors: Olof Pedersén, professor of Assyriology, Uppsala University and Gojko Barjamovic, lecturer in Assyriology, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University.


Zack Cherry, 2017

A study of the attested loans from Aramaic into Neo-Assyrian. The Aramaic-speaking peoples' earliest history is surveyed and the linguistic source materials are presented. Previous suggestions of loan words are assessed and subjected to critical scrutiny. The cuneiform texts containing Aramaic loan words are divided into place of origin and genre, and the results of the investigation are discussed and presented from different angles.