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Cuneiform Goes Digital: UCLA Professor Illuminates Life in Ancient Iraq
By Ascribe, 5/6/2004 11:17
RESEARCH TRIANGLE, N.C., May 6 (AScribe Newswire) -- It's not exactly Google, but the stunning cache of information Professor Robert Englund and his colleagues are making accessible on the Web is revolutionary - nearly one million lines of transcribed cuneiform, the earliest form of writing, with much more to come - documenting the social and literary worlds of Sumer, Babylonia, Assyria, and Persia, ancient lands comprising modern Iraq and parts of Iran, Syria, and Turkey. While the wedge-like cuneiform script was often incised on stone slabs that could weigh several tons, it was usually impressed onto more portable clay tablets that hardened quickly in the hot and dry climate of the region.
While roughly five million of these tablets are believed to be still buried in the ruin mounds of Iraq, awaiting archaeological discovery, some 500,000 are safely held in museum collections in London, Berlin, Istanbul, Russia, the United States, and elsewhere