You can get involved!
Cuneiformists, Assyriologists, and Sumerologists continue the traditions of the ancient dubsars (scribes) of ancient Nippur. They have much to tell us about the history, culture, and languages of the lands of Sumer and Akkad that had their center in Nippur. These scholars, who devote their lives to the discovery and explanation of our most ancient roots, have formed societies to encourage, assist, and challenge their academic labors. Have you considered joining their enthusiastic and disciplined quest to illuminate the ancient lands of Sumer and Akkad shrouded in darkness for millennia?
Here are some societies to which Dubsar has made the commitment of membership. You can visit these societies on the internet yourself to see if you should make your own commitment to support and follow the interesting research being carried out on behalf of the ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, Amorites, Eblaites, Gutians, Elamites, Kassites, and Arameans, not to mention numerous interesting western groups.
- American Oriental Society. This society is important not just to cuneiformists, but to various disciplines devoted to the study of the Near and Far East. They publish a quarterly journal containing both difficult and intricate articles as well as broadly accessible and interesting papers that enlighten and stimulate.
- British School of Archaeology in Iraq. An annual journal is published with articles on discoveries in the areas of the archaeology and language of ancient Iraq (Mesopotamia). You do not have to be British to join. Many Americans belong to this society. Pictures of archaeological finds are included.
- American Schools of Oriental Research. This is an archaeological society with broad interests that include historical, cultural, and anthropological investigations of the Near East. The society seeks to advance our archaeological scholarship in both its theoretical and practical aspects. Several journals are published including the Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Near Eastern Archaeology (formerly called Biblical Archaeologist), and the Bulletin of the ASOR. Visit them for more information.
Learn from Nippur's archaeological experts here!
Archaeologists have moved a lot of dirt at Nippur as they have brought back to the light its past walls, houses, streets, temples and documents. The University of Pennsylvania sponsored the first series of excavations. After a period of inactivity, their team was joined by other institutions. Eventually, work at the site was taken over by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Here are some of the published results.
The early excavations under the direction of Peters, Haynes and Hilprecht
Between Hilprecht and Gibson
- John Punnett Peters, Nippur or Explorations and Adventures on the Euphrates: The Narrative of the University of Pennsylvania Expedition to Babylonia in the Years 1888-1890. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1897. 2 Volumes. Well-written, entertaining account of a pioneer helping to define the role and procedures of archaeology in those early years.
- John Punnett Peters, "The Nippur Library," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 26 (1905), 145-164.
- Clarence S. Fisher, Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Part II, Excavations at Nippur: Plans, Details and Photographs of the Buildings, with Numerous Objects Found in Them During the Excavations of 1889, 1890, 1893-1896, 1899-1900. Philadelphia, 1905. Not exciting reading, but good plans and photographs are included.
- H.V. Hilprecht, The Excavations in Assyria and Babylonia, The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania Series D: Researches and Treatises, Volume 1. Philadelphia: Department of Archaeology of the University of Pennsylvania, 1904. Reprint from Explorations in Bible Lands During the 19th Century. This work must be used with great caution.
- Bruce Kuklick, Puritans in Babylon: The Ancient Near East and American Intellectual Life, 1880-1930. Princeton, 1996. A well-researched and well-written account with much detail and power. He effectively details the activities and controversies of the first four seasons of excavations at Nippur by the University of Pennsylvania in 1888-1900 in the context of the establishing, developing, and maturing of universities in the United States. He dug through mounds of private papers of those involved as well as mastering stacks of technical books to reach his goal. He has accurately brought to life this material despite being an outsider to the fields of Assyriology, Archaeology, and the Ancient Near East.
The passing of the directorship of the Nippur excavations in 1972 to McGuire Gibson of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago was a significant event. His skill and insight as an archaeologist and student of human culture, his commitment to publishing results, and his ability to draw together a team of qualified colleagues to work with him have all immensely enhanced our knowledge and understanding of the great ancient city of Nippur.
- Donald E. McCown, "Recent Finds at Nippur A Great City of Ancient Mesopotamia," Archaeology, 5 (1952), 70-75. This is a brief general report, but includes some good photographs. Explanation is given as to how the Inanna Temple and the North Temple were discovered.
- Vaughn E. Crawford, "Nippur, The Holy City," Archaeology, 12 (1959), 74-83. This brief report is devoted mostly to the various levels of the huge Inanna temple. Plans of the Ekur area and the early period North Temple are also included. Crawford's plan of Ekur is not quite right, since Crawford and others were still being misled by the incorrect orientation of the Kassite period Map of Nippur.
- Donald P. Hansen and George F. Dales, "The Temple of Inanna Queen of Heaven at Nippur," Archaeology, 15 (1962), 75-84. This report gives more attention and detail than Crawford did to the earlier periods of the Inanna temple, before the Ur III period (2112-2004 B.C.) and even before the empire of Sargon of Agade (2334-2279 B.C.). Included are good photographs to show the rooms and objects found, among them statues. A good plan is also provided of the early temple.
- Donald E. McCown and Richard Haines, Nippur I: Temple of Enlil, Scribal Quarter, and Soundings, Oriental Institute Publications, No. 78. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1967. This is a substantial report packed with information on the Enlil temple next to the ziggurat. Very little attention was given to the ziggurat. Two sections in the middle of the Professional Quarter (Tablet Hill) were also investigated. Some good pictures and plans of the temple and private houses are included. Also numerous small finds are illustrated.
- McGuire Gibson, James A. Armstrong & Augusta McMahon, "The City Wall of Nippur and an Islamic Site Beyond: Oriental Institute Excavations, 17th Season, 1987," Iraq, 60 (1998), 11-44. An excellent article enhancing our understanding of Nippur's defenses, clarifying the status and dimensions of the city wall in various periods.
- McGuire Gibson, "Patterns of Occupation at Nippur," Nippur at the Centennial, edited by Maria deJong Ellis. Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Kramer Fund, 14. Philadelphia, 1992. Also available on the web at Patterns of Occupation.
- McGuire Gibson, "Current Oriental Institute Excavations in Iraq," Society for Mesopotamian Studies, Bulletin, 3 (Aug., 1982), 16-20.
- McGuire Gibson, "Current Research at Nippur: Ecological, Anthropological and Documentary Interplay," L'archéologie de l'Iraq: Perspectives et limites de l'interprétation anthropologique des documents. Paris, 1980. Pp. 193-205.
- McGuire Gibson, "Nippur: New Perspectives," Archaeology, 30 (1977), 26-37.
- Richard Zettler, The Ur III Temple of Inanna at Nippur: The Operation and Organization of Urban Religious Institutions in Mesopotamia in the Late Third Millennium B.C., Berliner Beiträge zum Vorderen Orient, Band 11. Berlin, 1992.
- Richard Zettler, "Enlil's City, Nippur, at the End of the Third Millennium BC," Society for Mesopotamian Studies, Bulletin 14 (Oct., 1987), 7-19. He includes maps and building plans.
- Steven W. Cole, Nippur in Late Assyrian Times c. 755-612 BC, vol. IV, State Archives of Assyria Studies. Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 1996. This work portrays the complex political and economic relationships in which Nippur was involved during its first millennium B.C. revival of importance. Great use is made for the first time of the recently discovered archives of Nippur's civil administration belonging to the last century of the mighty Neo-Assyrian empire. A good bibliography is included and translations of selected letters from Nippur's administrative archives.
Learn from the language experts!
Modern dubsar's (Cuneiformists, Assyriologists, Sumerologists) have discovered many interesting details about Nippur's citizens and their ways of life. Look for these resources to enlighten you on the thinking and goings-on both in and around ancient Nippur. Some of these books are printed in limited numbers and may only be available at large university libraries. You can also wander over to the Cultural Annex of the Reading Room for more information on Sumerian and Akkadian language and culture.
Kingship on Display: Royal Inscriptions. Kings inscribed their names, piety, and accomplishments on all sorts of objects, such as bricks, cones, door-pivots, statues, etc. These texts, that we designate royal inscriptions, provide information on the ideology and activities of these ancient kings.
- Edmond Sollberger and Jean-Robert Kupper, Inscriptions royales sumeriennes et akkadiennes. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1971. This standard work presents a French translation of royal inscriptions written originally in Sumerian or Akkadian from about the middle of the third millennium B.C. to about the middle of the second millennium B.C. Explanatory notes are included and some indices as well.
- Jerrold S. Cooper, Sumerian and Akkadian Royal Inscriptions, I: Presargonic Inscriptions. New Haven: The American Oriental Society, 1986. This is a great book since it was written by the Great Dubsar who instructed me in the mysteries of Sumerian and Akkadian texts of all sorts. The scope of this book is limited to the earliest royal inscriptions in the third millennium B.C. Detailed bibliographies and explanatory notes are included for each inscription.
- William W. Hallo, "The Royal Inscriptions of Ur: A Typology," Hebrew Union College Annual, 33 (1962), 1-43. This article does not provide translations, but puts in order the many inscriptions commissioned by the kings ruling from their capital city of Ur over Sumer and Akkad at the end of the third millennium B.C. An introduction to the structure and function of these inscriptions is provided & then detailed bibliography on each inscription.
Finding Sumerians and Akkadians on the Web
- William W. Hallo, "The Slandered Bride," Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppenheim. Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 1964. Pp. 95-105. A review of the case of Enlil-issu, the nuesh of Enlil (see the Professional Room for information on the nuesh), by a prolific and accomplished expert on Mesopotamian history, language, and culture.
- Raymond Westbrook, Old Babylonian Marriage Law, Archiv für Orientforschung, Beiheft 23. Horn, Austria: Verlag Ferdinand Berger & Söhne Gesellschaft M.B.H., 1988. This expert on cuneiform law treats the dispute between Enlil-issu and Ama-sukkal (treated earlier by Professor Hallo above) as an example of inchoate marriage and its dissolution. See pp. 15f, 43f. Translation of the documents on pp. 115f.
Click on these links to navigate our site:
- The main internet clearinghouse on sites providing information on the Ancient Near East is Abzu, compiled by bibliographer Charles E. Jones.
- Another internet site focused on ancient history is Ancient Near East - Ancient/Classical History, provided by N.S. Gill. She was probably the first to link to my original site on Nippur. Her kindness is appreciated. Her bulletin board seems intelligent and worthwhile. Send her a good question or two!
You are visitor since Dubsar began counting Reading Room visitors.
- To help visualize the location and layout of Nippur, come in to the Map Room.
- To see Nippur through the eyes of explorer and excavator John Punnett Peters, first modern archaeologist at Nippur, visit our Earth-Moving Room.
- To gather information on professional life and specialization at Nippur, check out the Professional Room.
- To get an overview of ancient Nippur, visit the Broad Vista Room.
- To enhance your appreciation for the cultural context of ancient Nippur, wander next door to the Cultural Annex of the Reading Room.
- To learn about the non-human inhabitants of Nippur and its neighbors, visit Anshe's Tablet Room or his Lessons from Old Bones.
- To sneak up for a close look at "the establishment," step into the Establishment Room.
- To find the most official point of view from the great king, enter the Royal Display Room.
- Return to the home page of Dubsar, the Cuneiform Scribe.
This page was edited on 29 March 1999. If you have cuneiform questions or comments, please email Dubsar, the Cuneiform Scribe. If I do not respond promptly, the vendor supplying Fortune City's email service may be eating your mail for lunch. In that case, you can give a shout over to Dubsar's Sand Dune to get my attention. Thanks!
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