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.
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.