Yale’s Collection on Babylonia Is Part of International Project

The Yale Babylonian Collection is participating in an international research project that is examining human interaction with the environment in Mesopotamia, specifically salinization in Umma, an ancient city in southern Mesopotamia.

Max Bichler from the Vienna University of Technology and the Atomic Institute of Austrian Universities and Chikako Esther Watanabe of Osaka Gakuin University spent several days in the collection in September examining cuneiform tablets from Umma, all dating from 2040 B.C.E.

Core samples and magnetic susceptibility were analyzed in an attempt to establish the provenance of the clay from which the tablets were fashioned. The project, “Interactions Between Man and the Environment in Mesopotamia,” is being sponsored by the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto, Japan.

Founded in 1909 by a gift from J. Pierpont Morgan, the Yale Babylonian Collection is the largest collection of documents, seals and other artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia in the United States, and one of the leading collections of cuneiform tablets in the world. Located in Sterling Memorial Library, it is a center for research and teaching on Assyriology at Yale.

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