Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Taylor

Our keynote speaker for the 7th OPCA will be Dr Jonathan Taylor, Assistant Keeper of the Cuneiform Collections at the British Museum. At the museum, he is currently working on Ashurbanipal’s Library, as well as a project training Iraq Museum colleagues in collection digitalisation. A recently finished project was the digitisation of all the material from Woolley’s excavations at the city of Ur. Besides this work, he is particularly interested in the materiality of cuneiform writing, having contributed important research into the making and re-making of tablets, or how to identify scribes based on wedge order. He is also Honorary Research Associated at the Department of History at UCL. Before joining the British Museum, Jon also worked with Jeremy Black on The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature while at Oxford.

Explore the ancient City of Ur and the collections here.

Check out the ETCSL corpus here.

For this talk, Jon will update us on the latest news from Tello:

New Excavations at Tello, home of the Thunderbird

The last 30 years have seen major changes in the archaeology of Iraq and neighbouring countries. While Iraqi teams continued work, foreign teams focused elsewhere. More recently, the Kurdish region of Iraq has received unprecedented attention. Today southern Iraq is home to increasing numbers of visiting teams. One such team is that led by the British Museum, working at Tello, ancient Girsu.

Girsu’s most famous resident is Gudea, known to every student of ancient Mesopotamia through his countless black stone statues. Anyone who learns Sumerian soon masters Gudea’s inscribed cones from Eninnu, home to Ningirsu and his Thunderbird. Soon after come his Cylinders, describing the construction of Eninnu in exquisite detail. Yet, despite decades of excavations by French teams from 1877-1933, we know little about the archaeology of Eninnu. Our new excavations help us make sense of the early excavations, match ancient texts to physical remains, and thereby reveal one of Mesopotamia’s most famous temples in ever increasing detail.

Find out more about The British Museum expedition to Tello here.


The Seventh Annual Oxford Postgraduate Conference in Assyriology will be held at Wolfson College, Oxford in the spring of 2018. Further information and a call for papers will be issued in late 2017.

Current organising committee:

Monica Palmero-Fernandez (University of Reading)

Lynn-Salammbo Zimmermann (Wolfson College, University of Oxford)

Adam Howe (Wolfson College, University of Oxford)

Jill Marcum (Wolfson College, University of Oxford)

George Heath-Whyte (Wolfson College, University of Oxford)

Past organisers:

Parsa Daneshmand (Wolfson College, University of Oxford)— 2016-2017

Eva Miller (Hertford College, University of Oxford)— 2014-2016

Laura Hawkins (Hertford College, University of Oxford)— 2014-2016

Kathryn Kelley (Brasenose College, University of Oxford) — 2014-2015

Karenleigh Overmann (Keble College, University of Oxford) — 2015

Moudhy Al-Rashid (Wolfson College, University of Oxford) — 2012-2013

Nicholas Reid (University College, University of Oxford) — 2012-2013

Selena Wisnom (Queens College, University of Oxford) — 2012-2013

Finally! OPCA 2017 Pictures

Finally! It’s taken us a few weeks to get through all the images we took at OPCA 2017, so check out the gallery we’ve set up with pictures from the talks by clicking on the link below. If you would like a higher quality copy of any of the images please contact us!

Gallery OPCA 2017

Thank you all for an amazing conference! We’re working hard on editing a video with snippets from the conference, and a report will soon be published in Mār Šiprim, so watch this space!

Mónica, Lynn, Parsa and Adam


Group Photo outside Wolfon’s Buttery

Keynote Speaker: Dr Anne Goddeeris

We are delighted to announce that Dr Anne Goddeeris of Ghent University will be joining us this year as our second keynote speaker! Over the past five years, OPCA has grown alongside all our wonderful colleagues around the world who have joined us year after year, demonstrating the passion and commitment to the study of the Ancient Near East among the young generations. We wanted to build on this support and our previous success to reflect the breath of topics and geographies that are usually covered at the conference. We believe that the invited talks this year will touch upon a range of themes and topics that will appeal to everyone in the audience, and we look forward to welcome you all in Oxford next April!

Anne Goddeeris is teaching Assyriology and History of the Ancient Near East at the University of Ghent. Since January 2017, she also works on a research project together with Katrien De Graef “Priests and Profits 2.0”. This project investigates organisational aspects of the Old Babylonian cult. In 2016, she finalized the Old Babylonian legal and administrative tablets in the Hilprecht Sammlung, Jena, which appeared as Texte und Materialien der Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection 10.

Her talk at OPCA will touch upon Old Babylonian bookkeeping procedures, on the sealing practices and other formal characteristics of the tablets on which the information was recorded. These aspects are not random at all, but are determined by customs which differ from city to city, and they provide extra, contextual information about transactions recorded on these tablets. 

It has been through the effort of our organising committee and the generous support of The British Institute for the Study of Iraq, who have awarded OPCA a Conference Grant, that we are now in a position to extend a second invitation to a senior researcher and increase our funding for overseas speakers. Therefore, we would like to express our gratitude to this organisation and raise awareness about their invaluable work in promoting arts, humanities and social sciences research and education on Iraq.

Keynote speaker: Professor Walther Sallaberger

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Walther Sallaberger will be joining us this year to deliver the senior talk at the 6th Oxford Postgraduate Conference in Assyriology. 

Professor Sallaberger is based at Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich, where he is currently engaged in a year-long Senior Researcher in Residence programme on the topic of “Festivals in the early Bronze Age city-states of Mesopotamia” together with Professor Adelheid Otto at the university’s Centre for Advanced Studies. This interdisciplinary initiative aims to  bring together experts from both archaeology and assyriology in order to produce rich, complex interpretations of the written, visual, and archaeological data.

For this talk, Professor Sallaberger will share with us some aspects of his on-going research on festivals, touching upon methodological issues in the interdisciplinary approach to the subject, as well as discussing the written sources and what they can tell us about the daily reality of festivals. As a subject matter, festivals present an ideal source to understand the identity and social order, religion and values of the people of the third millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia.

Together with other efforts to build and sustain an international as well as interdisciplinary environment for the conference, we are delighted that Professor Sallaberger accepted our invitation, and we look forward to welcoming him in Oxford.

Call for papers and bursary awards

    Deadline for bursary submissions: 17th February 2017

    General deadline: 26th February 2017

    Our email address:

      The organisers of the sixth annual Oxford Postgraduate Conference in Assyriology (OPCA) wish to extend an invitation to all UK, European, and overseas students whose research relates to the field of Assyriology. The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for students at the postgraduate and postdoctorate levels to present their research to a group of peers and to establish connections with colleagues. 

      There is a conference fee of £20 that goes towards hospitality costs and allows us to continue awarding student grants for attendance. The fee is subsidised and the costs of the conference met by our generous financial supporters. Refreshments between sessions, lunch, and a Saturday evening wine reception are included. 

      Our call for papers has a submission deadline of February 26th, 2017. Please email with your proposed paper title and a brief abstract (approximately 250 words). Successful papers are allotted 20 minutes followed by questions.

      For registration information and further details, please see our website: You can also get information and updates from Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter at @opcassyriology.

      OPCA is generously sponsored by the Lorne Thyssen Research Fund for Ancient World Topics at Wolfson College (University of Oxford), the Wolfson College Academic Committee, and the London Centre for the Ancient Near East.



      We will be awarding between two and three travel and accommodation bursaries for participants outside of the UK on a competitive basis. The awards will consist of a stipend of £125 and reimbursement for accommodation. In order to be considered for a bursary, you must email your CV and an abstract (approximately 250 words) of your paper in application to by February 17th, 2017. Bursaries will be chosen by an independent selection committee to include Prof Markham Geller (Freie Universität, Berlin and UCL, London), Dr Kristin Kleber (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Prof Susanne Paulus (University of Chicago).

      With best wishes,

      Parsa Daneshmand 
      Monica Palmero Fernandez 
      Adam Howe 
      Lynn-Salammbo Zimmermann 

      New Poster and Dates!

      Happy New Year and welcome back to all of our OPCA followers!

      The OPCA 2017 organising committee is pleased to announce the dates and share the new poster for this year’s conference. We hope many of you will join us here in Oxford, where we are currently hard at work to ensure we have everything ready to welcome you in April. The keynote speaker for this year will be announced shortly, together with the call for papers. As in other years, we will be advertising a series of bursaries for students based outside the UK. Each year, we strive to increase the level of support we are able to offer, so that OPCA truly becomes an international hub for all postgraduate students in Assyriology and related fields. Keep your eyes peeled for further announcements in the near future and we look forward to seeing many of you in the near future.

      The OPCA 2017 organising committee.

      Lynn, Adam, Parsa and Monica