The story of a Babylonian archive

Welcome to Archives in Context. This is an outreach initiative of the ERC project "Persia and Babylonia: Creating a New Context for Understanding the Emergence of the First World Empire". On this website, we give you a tour of different facets of our research: from cuneiform tablets to the workings of the Persian Empire. From the formation of an archive to its abandonment, destruction and rediscovery. From ancient record keeping to 3D archaeology and social network analysis. Join us on our search!

Archival practices in ancient Babylonia

Several modern and ancient factors contributed to whether ancient records have reached us.

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Background

How Did Ancient Documents Survive the Test of Time?

Many documents from antiquity have not been preserved. That is not because some ancient fire destroyed them all (as was allegedly the case with the

How Did Ancient Documents Survive the Test of Time?
Libraries and Archives: Solo or Ensemble?

In Assyriology documentation is divided into archival and library sources. Here we try to understand if this division also existed in antiquity, and if it

Libraries and Archives: Solo or Ensemble?
The de Liagre Böhl Collection

Several clay tablets from the De Liagre Böhl collection are presented on this website. Therefore, a short note on how this collection came into being

The de Liagre Böhl Collection
The Hunt for Cuneiform Tablets: 19th Century Illicit Digs at Borsippa

Many archaeological sites fall prey to looters in their search for saleable antiquities. The ancient city of Borsippa, or present day Birs Nimrud, in Central Iraq

The Hunt for Cuneiform Tablets: 19th Century Illicit Digs at Borsippa
Finding Sepharvaim and Its Tablets: Hormuzd Rassam’s Crowning Achievement

Excavator, explorer, interpreter, diplomatic envoy, etc. The achievements of Hormuzd Rassam were many (see figure 1). His legacy in the field of Assyriology is remarkable.

Finding Sepharvaim and Its Tablets: Hormuzd Rassam’s Crowning Achievement
Metal, Object, Measure and Cash. Silver in First Millennium BCE Babylonia

Silver played an important role in Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid economy. This metal took various shapes and served many purposes during the 1st millennium BCE. At

Metal, Object, Measure and Cash. Silver in First Millennium BCE Babylonia

Archival stories

A Pending Silver Payment: The Cuneiform Tablet LB 1709

LB 1709 is a promissory note of silver dating to the reign of Darius and...

3D Scanning a Tablet: The Maštuk Family in Leiden

Even especially enigmatic agreements recorded more than 2500 years ago can make sense, when their...

Great Adventures of a Small Clay Tablet: LB 1326

The clay tablet LB 1326 made quite a journey from Babylon, where it was written...

The Egibi/Nūr-Sîn archive

The Egibi/Nūr-Sîn archive is the biggest private archive to have survived from the Neo-Babylonian and...

Tappašar and the death of her husband

Let me introduce you to Tappašar, a lady who lived in Babylon in the 6th...

Methods

Social Network Analysis and Cuneiform Archives

The social network analysis offers many possibilities to study the social realities behind cuneiform sources. The thousands of archival documents from Babylonia inform us not only about family

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Archives in Context is an outreach initiative of the ERC project Persia and Babylonia: Creating a New Context for Understanding the Emergence of the First World Empire.