Workshops and Seminars

Table of contents:

1-5 August 2022: Digital Applications in Assyriology Nordic Summer School

The Digital Applications in Assyriology Nordic Summer School will take place at Uppsala University, Sweden, from Monday 1 - Friday 5 August 2022. The school is jointly organised by the project Geomapping Landscapes of Writing (GLoW) and the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires (ANEE), and aims to provide students in Assyriology with a working knowledge of core digital applications for the creation, curation, analysis and visualisation of digital data. The five-day programme focuses specifically on real-world cases from the field of Assyriology and related fields presented by researchers actively engaged with ongoing and digitally oriented research projects at the organising institutions and elsewhere. Next to a solid working knowledge of digital applications and their use in the field of Assyriology, the summer school will give participating students an opportunity to meet and join in training with students from other Scandinavian countries, as well as a diverse range of scholars from universities in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and beyond.

The summer school is intended for students in Assyriology or closely related fields without much prior experience in the application of digital tools to the study of cuneiform sources or related materials. Preference will be given to BA- and MA-level students from higher research institutions in the Scandinavian countries, but the summer school is open to participants from all nations. Doctoral students interested in participating should contact the organisers prior to submitting an application. Note that participants will be required to bring a laptop for their personal use.

The school extends over five full days, consisting of morning sessions with hands-on training in a variety of computing applications, followed by afternoon sessions with lectures and discussions from teaching staff and invited speakers. Following the successful completion of the summer school, students will be given one week for independent project work to be submitted by 12 August 2022 at the latest. Participants who successfully complete the summer school program and independent project will receive a certificate of completion with which the students can apply to their home universities to receive study credits. However, the summer school cannot guarantee that all universities will give study credit for the course. Overall, the summer school will give the participants:

  • an in-depth understanding of file formats and information search and management
  • ways of collecting, cleaning, and integrating text and data
  • knowledge of online data structures and the use of linked data
  • setting up and working with relational databases
  • basic visualisation methods for exploring and communicating data
  • structure and use of map resources and geographical information systems
  • preparing data for and working with social network analysis
  • using and exploring lexical networks
  • the ability to execute a simple digital humanities research project under supervision

How to apply
Students who wish to participate in the summer school should submit an application (max. two pages), outlining their motivation for participating, current stage of education, courses passed, and a brief summary of any previous experience with digital applications for research. Please provide contact details for a primary teacher or course representative at your home institution whom the organisers can get in touch with in case of questions. Note that participation in the summer school is free of charge, but that participants will have to cover expenses for their own travel and accommodation. The summer school staff will be available to offer advice and guidance on travel options and places to stay.

Applications should be submitted as a single .pdf-document by email to no later than 1 May 2022 at 12.00 CET.

For questions and inquiries, please contact Rune Rattenborg ( or Seraina Nett (

22 January 2022: Nordic Seminar on Digital Workflows in Assyriology

Our everyday academic research practice is rapidly changing, courtesy of the increasingly digital character of knowledge acquisition, analysis, and dissemination common to the humanities of the early 21st century CE. Discovering, understanding and mastering computer-based approaches to research has become an increasingly prominent, if not integral, part of the skillset of junior researchers. The digital turn has also disrupted and altered traditional forms of knowledge exchange and scholarly collaboration, something only further underscored by the ongoing pandemic. The Nordic Seminar on Digital Workflows in Assyriology invites junior researchers to talk about how they apply digital methods in cuneiform research, reviewing workflows, digital infrastructures, skill requirements, and outputs. Rather than presentations showcasing concluded research undertakings and final outputs, the seminar encourages presentations engaging with the nuts and bolts of defining and engaging with research in a digital age.

13.00-13.15 Introduction
13.15-13.45 Gustav Ryberg Smidt (Uppsala University)
From the earth to the database

13.45-14.15 Rune Rattenborg (Uppsala University)
Null Island Again: Do’s and Don’ts in Digital Cartography for the Cuneiform World

14.15-14.45 Troels Pank Arbøll (University of Copenhagen)
Mixing medical ingredients: A database for isolating plants and their methods of application in Mesopotamians medicine

14.45-15.30 Break

15.30-16.00 Ellie Bennet (University of Helsinki)
The Importance of Being Humble: Collaboration and Gaining New Skills in Digital Assyriology

16.00-16.30 Rasmus Johan Aarslev (University of Copenhagen)
Do Androids Dream of Babylonian Sheep: How I Apply Digital Tools to the Livestock Dossier of Eanna

16.30-17.00 Seraina Nett (Uppsala University)
Mixing Methods: Approaching Sumerian Dialect Geography

17.00-17.15 Closing comments

Winter 2021-2022: Vocabularies Consortium

The Vocabularies Consortium draws on the Metadata in Assyriology sessions organised by Geomapping Landscapes of Writing: Large-Scale Spatial Analysis of the Cuneiform Corpus (GLoW) and held virtually at Uppsala University 23-26 November 2020, as well as a subsequent survey of data repositories and data standards in the field of cuneiform studies conducted during March and April 2021.

In light of these activities, we propose the formation of a loose consortium to encourage standardisation and integration of shared metadata vocabularies. This will take the form of a set of targeted initiatives aimed at surveying, developing, and guiding the joint formation and integration of key groups of metadata across different projects and repositories. At present, we aim to set up three working groups, focusing on spatial, chronological, and bibliographical metadata respectively. 

Each group will be overseen by a convenor charged with practical matters of organising and documenting initiative activities. The consortium is otherwise conceived as a flat discussion and working forum, meaning that participants are free to engage with any consortium initiative, and to suggest the launch of further initiatives. The primary requirement for individual participants is their association with a project, initiative, or repository assembling and curating metadata vocabularies of the types mentioned above. The provisional work programme, subject to the preferences of individual working groups, can be sketched as follows:

  • First workshop (late November 2021): Virtual meeting devoted to the presentation and discussion of data sets from involved projects or initiatives. Discussions will seek to devise an initial structure for integrating, complementing, and further developing involved data sets as standard references in the field.
    • Geography: Tuesday 30 November 16.00-18.45 CET (virtual, by invitation only)
    • Chronology: Friday 3 December 15.00-17.00 CET (virtual, by invitation only)
    • Bibliography: (to be communicated)
  • Second workshop (March 2022): Virtual meeting aimed at reviewing and discussing updated versions of data sets from involved projects or initiatives with an aim to finalising an integrated structure for their deployment and use. 
    • Geography: Wednesday 30 March 16.00-18.00 CET (virtual, by invitation only)
    • Chronology: Thursday 31 March 15.00-17.00 CET (virtual, by invitation only)
    • Bibliography: (to be communicated)
  • Third workshop (May 2022): Presentation and review of integrated vocabularies for each metadata type, and discussion of future initiatives.

Geography Working Group

Convenor: Rune Rattenborg (, Uppsala University, Sweden

The proposed working group on digital spatial data will focus on the review, evaluation, and integration of spatial data collections in the field of cuneiform studies and beyond. Any digital data collection integrating some form of geographically sensitive, standardised information may be considered. Such collections may, for example, include spatial indices on the archaeological provenience, the location of public or private collections of cuneiform texts, historical geography or toponymy pertaining to the cuneiform world, or indeed any aspect of spatial information of this sort that lends itself to digital standardisation. The principal aim of this group will be to develop standardised formats for particular types of geographical data and relate these to existing data collections where relevant. This entails the definition and evaluation of primary geographical entities within participating data collections, and subsequently their mapping and integration, as well as relation to external indices. 

First Working Group Meeting: Geography
30 November 2021 16.00-18.45 CET (virtual, by invitation only)

16.00-17.30 Session 1: Spatial data collections in Assyriology
 The first part of the workshop will include a short introduction by the convenor, followed by short reviews of participating data collections and a concluding discussion

16.00-16.10 Introduction
16.10-16.20 Shai Gordin - Mesopotamia Ancient Place-names Almanac (MAPA)
16.20-16.30 Jamie Novotny - ARMEP: Bridging ORACC, CDLI and Pleiades
16.30-16.40 Rune Rattenborg - CIGS/M: Indices for proveniences and collections
16.40-16.50 Susanne Rutishauser & Sebastian Borkowski - Rivers of Mesopotamia (RIMES)
17.00-17.10 Break
17.10-17.30 Discussion: Current spatial data collections in Assyriology

17.30-18.45 Session 2: Modeling spatial data - applications and needs
The second part of the workshop will be presented through an initial introduction by the working group convenor, followed by a round-table steered by the convenor to identify and provisionally define data entities, linked resources, and examples of ontologies and vocabularies for working with spatial data. Following a short break, we will reconvene for a discussion of overall applications and needs for spatial data collections in Assyriology, which will serve to direct further work by the group. Final remarks will sum up the results of the meeting and give directions for future activities.

17.30-17.35 Introduction
17.35-18.00 Concepts, structures, and vocabularies 
18.00-18.10 Break 
18.10-18.30 Discussion: Applications and needs for spatial data collections in Assyriology
18.30-18.45 Final remarks

Second Working Group Meeting: Geography
30 March 2022 16.00-18.00 CET (virtual, by invitation only)

16.00-17.00 Session 1: Linked Environments
The first part of the workshop will include a short introduction by the convenor followed by a review of the structure and ontology of key repositories

16.00-16.05 Introduction
16.05-16.20 WikiData and FactGrid
16.20-16.35 Pleiades
16.35-16.45 Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative
16.45-17.00 Break

17.00-18.00 Session 2: Controlled Entities
The second part of the workshop will introduce a preliminary links structure for individual entity types within key repositories, introduce a preliminary data standard for individual entity types, and invite discussion, evaluation, and recommendations for proposed structures and standards

17.00-17.20 Proposed linked data scheme
17.20-17.30 Variables to control and integrate
17.30-18.00 Discussion

Chronology Working Group

Convenor: Émilie Pagé-Perron (, Oxford University, United Kingdom

The proposed working group on chronology will focus on the review, evaluation, and integration of chronology information from data collections in the field of cuneiform studies and beyond. Any collection integrating some chronological information can be considered. Because of the immense timeframe we are dealing with, one of the challenges of this group will be to link time related entities from various epochs into a consistent model. Managing certainty and pre-assured absolute dates temporal information will be another. Overall, this group will not only deal with compiling an Assyriological vocabulary for chronological data, but also modelize how these data points relate to each other.

First Working Group Meeting: Chronology
3 December 2021 15.00-17.00 CET (virtual, by invitation only)

Session 1: Chronology management in Assyriological repositories
15:00-15:05 Welcome
15:05-15:15 Émilie Pagé-Perron
15:15-15:25 David Danzig - Sanati project
15:25-15:35 Jamie Novotny - Neo-Assyrian texts
15:35-15:55 Discussion - Identifying entities and how they overlap
15:55-16:05 Break

Session 2: Challenges in modeling chronology data
16:05-16:15 Heather Baker - 1st mill. Babylonia & the Hellenistic period 
16:15-16:25 Mirko Novak - micro-stratigraphy to overall chronology
16:25-16:55 Discussion - Identifying problems to systematization and how to go forward
16:55-17:00 Final words

Second Working Group Meeting: Chronology
31 March 2022 16.00-18.00 CET (virtual, by invitation only)

Bibliography working group

Convenor: Adam Anderson ( |, UC Berkeley, California 

The proposed working group on bibliographic data will focus on the cataloging, indexing, and cross-referencing of primary and secondary source citations in the field of cuneiform studies and beyond. As many of the primary source citations have been gathered into existing databases (e.g. Keilschrift Bibliographie), we will work with these as a starting point for training purposes and extend the study to include sources which fall outside of the current datasets. One challenge to address in this workflow will be the ongoing discovery, digitization, and labeling of additional sources as the bibliography continues to expand for both primary and secondary sources. The goal of linking the references of primary sources to the secondary sources in the scholarly literature will enable more robust utilization of the editions and commentary of the cuneiform corpus as a whole.

23-26 November 2020: Metadata in Assyriology

The study of cuneiform texts in the 21st century CE is digital. Digital research environments now extend into virtually every aspect of scholarly workflows, encompassing not only the artefacts with which we are primarily occupied, but also metadata types covering a wide range of spatial, temporal, and referential information on cuneiform texts and their historical, archaeological, and museal setting. Geomapping Landscapes of WritingLarge-Scale Spatial Analysis of the Cuneiform Corpus is a three-year research project of the Department of Linguistics and Philology of Uppsala University, Sweden, funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (grant number MXM19-1160:1). As part of our research programme, we wish to promote dialogue and development of common standards for basic metadata, thereby stimulating increased data interoperability between current and future projects.

Heat maps of point vector data contained in selected open access historical geographical gazetteers, with kernel radius at 50 km. (© Rune Rattenborg, 1 September 2019)​

How are metadata collections, e.g. bibliographic, chronological, and geographical information devised, structured, and integrated with digital text catalogues? To what extent is data sharing and integration pursued? And how are common standards adopted, implemented, and maintained, if at all? Combining virtual presentations and informal discussion sessions engaging with three primary types of metadata, we are organising three afternoon sessions in late November 2020. These session aim to showcase current digital resources and research and to encourage exploration of future avenues for data integration and exchange within the field of cuneiform studies, broadly conceived. See details on individual sessions below for time, date, and how to register. 

Spatial Data, Spatial Analysis, and Historical Geography

Monday 23 November 16:00-19:00 (sign-in from 15:45) CET
(The session will be held online and is open for everyone. Registration via this link)

The increasing ease with which digital spatial data frames can be implemented in archaeological and historical research has brought about a revolution in the application of spatial data to humanities research of recent years (Gregory and Geddes 2014; Bodenhamer, Corrigan, and Harris 2010). While Assyriology is certainly no stranger to geographical knowledge, the field lacks general spatial data repositories comparable to initiatives seen e.g. in classical history and in archaeology (Zerbini 2018; Horne 2020). Recent initiatives have sought to develop stand-alone GIS applications integrated with cuneiform online text catalogues, for example HIGEOMES ( and BDTNS ( or to make use of existing web mapping applications and digital historical gazetteers, such as ARMEP ( This segment invites researchers working with the generation of spatial data for cuneiform studies or methodologies for spatial data analyses to share and discuss approaches to the development and application of spatial data sets. Talks will be followed by a brief roundtable discussion for invited speakers. 

16:00-16:20 Nathan Morello (Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München)
ARMEP 2.0: The Map Interface of the Ancient Records of Middle Eastern Polities, Current Features and Future Perspectives

16:20-16.40 Shai Gordin (Ariel University)
Mesopotamian Ancient Place-names Almanac (MAPA) Project: Doing Historical Geography in the Age of Linked Open Data

16.40-17:00 Olof Pedersén (Uppsala University)
500,000,000 baked bricks – GIS and BIM analysis of archaeology and texts in Babylon

17:00-17:15 Break

17:15-17:35 Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum and Christian W. Hess (Freie Universität Berlin)
Hard Data, Fuzzy Geographies: Mapping the Middle Assyrian World in TexTelSem

17:35-17:55 Rune Rattenborg (Uppsala University)
An Open Access Index for the Geographical Distribution of the Cuneiform Corpus

17:55-18:15 Adam Anderson and Niek Veldhuis (DH Berkeley)
Sumerian Networks, UC Berkeley Data Science Discovery Project

18:15-18:45 Discussion (speakers)

Integration of Periodisations and Chronologies

Wednesday 25 November 16:00-18:00 (sign-in from 15:45) CET
(The session will be held online, and consist of short presentations and a roundtable discussion. If you are interested in attending, please contact Gustav Ryberg Smidt for details)

Chronology is a quintessential cornerstone of historical and archaeological research, and so tools for the integration of chronologies from various projects are critical to the proper correlation of diverging schemes of dating and periodisation. Recent tools for chronological integration of archaeological periodization and artefact dating are now becoming available, for example the PeriodO gazetteer of historical and archaeological periods (, or the GODOT graph database for dated objects and texts (  None of these initiatives are associated with cuneiform online text catalogues, however. In light of the very complex questions arising from the interrelation of different relative, dynastical, and absolute chronologies (e.g. Pruzsinszky 2009), the lack of broader integration of chronological schemes is surprising, to say the least. This workshop section invites contributions and discussions of ways of integrating digital chronological indices and artefact data in Assyriology.

  • Adam Anderson (DH Berkeley)
  • Seraina Nett (Uppsala University)
  • Mirko Novak (Universität Bern)
  • Émilie Page-Perron (University of Toronto)
  • Rune Rattenborg (Uppsala University)
  • Maciej Wencel (Independent scholar)

Reference Collections and Linked Bibliographies

Thursday 26 November 16:00-18:00 (sign-in from 15:45) CET
(The session will be held online, and consist of short presentations and a roundtable discussion. If you are interested in attending, please contact Gustav Ryberg Smidt for details)

The online world currently abounds with platforms and services for storing, managing, and integrating bibliographical reference data sets, also with respects to the study of the ancient world. A ready example of relevance to cuneiform studies is the Online Egyptological Bibliography ( maintained by the University of Oxford and the International Association of Egyptologists, which currently contains 149,000 bibliographical records. Despite the existence of several large repositories for digital bibliographical reference collections e.g. the Keilschriftbibliographie (, comprehensive integration of digital reference datasets and online text catalogues in Assyriology has so far been attempted only at a localised scale, notwithstanding the immense size that such databases may attain, for example ARCHIBAB ( ) or BDTNS ( By inviting perspectives from corpus- and project-based digital bibliographies, this workshop section aims to survey and discuss the nature of bibliographical reference databases in the field of Assyriology and to explore avenues for the integration of bibliographical and artefact data.

  • Adam Anderson (DH Berkeley)
  • Wiebke Meinhold (Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen)
  • Manuel Molina (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas)
  • Seraina Nett (Uppsala University)
  • Georg Neumann (Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Hans Neumann (Universität Münster)
  • Émilie Pagé-Perron (University of Toronto)
  • Rune Rattenborg (Uppsala University)
  • Michaela Weszeli (Universität Wien)


  • Bodenhamer, David J., John Corrigan, and Trevor M. Harris. 2010. The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
  • Gregory, Ian N., and Alistair Geddes, eds. 2014. Toward Spatial Humanities: Historical GIS and Spatial History. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
  • Horne, Ryan. 2020. ‘Beyond Lists: Digital Gazetteers and Digital History’. The Historian 82 (1): 37–50.
  • Pruzsinszky, Regine. 2009. Mesopotamian Chronology of the 2nd Millennium B.C. An Introduction to the Textual Evidence and Related Chronological Issues. Contributions to the Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean 22. Vienna: Österreichischer Akademie der Wissenschaften.
  • Zerbini, Andrea. 2018. ‘Developing a Heritage Database for the Middle East and North Africa’. Journal of Field Archaeology 43 (sup1): S9–18. 
  • Geography: Tuesday 30 November 16.00-18.45 CET (virtual, by invitation only)
  • Chronology: Friday 3 December 15.00-17.00 CET (virtual, by invitation only)
  • Bibliography: (to be communicated)
Last modified: 2022-04-05