Cybernetica Mesopotamica

A Balzan Foundation Research Project

III. The goals

“Mesopotamica”: the Seals domain

Giorgio Buccellati – June 2023

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The Seals domain

Originally started with a research on Old Babylonian seals, the project took on a new direction as a result of the discovery of a large amount of seal impressions from Urkesh. Within the framework of the Cybernetica Mesopotamica project, and as described briefly below, priority will be given to the full publication of that glyptic corpus; in addition, an independent publication is planned of the Old Assyrian corpus. We are also considering the possibility of resuming the Old Babylonian seals project.

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The Urkesh Glyptics digital book

After completion of the Ceramics topical book, a major research project Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati will take up, in a parallel vein, work on the Urkesh glyptics topical book. Building on her extensive work done in earlier years, the project will provide not only a full typological analysis of the entire corpus (approximately 1,500 exemplars), but also a thorough documentation of the methodology.

At the moment, this is only a stub, indicative of the direction the research will take. Needless to say, it will be modified as needed during the course of the research.

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Glyptic typology

As one looks at the current stub for the website, modeled on that of the other digital books of the UGR system, the side bar on the left-hand side gives the table of contents of the methodological section. Three areas in particular are envisaged: (1) the iconography of the image represented on the seal; (2) the typology of the support on which the seal has been rolled; (3) the use and function of the seals as we can reconstruct it on the basis of the stratigraphic context within which they were found.

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Urkesh ED glyptics

L. Recht will complete a digital book relating to the Urkesh ED material. The relevant items have already been inventoried and a preliminary analysis has been completed (see above under Project’s history). The current goal is to complete the analysis and to convert the data into a format suited for inclusion in the Urkesh Glyptic digital book.

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The Old Assyrian corpus

Federico Buccellati will work on the publication of his 2006 manuscript on the Old Assyrian corpus. This will complement methodologically the work on the Urkesh glyptics, and will provide an indication of alternative digital approaches to the topic of glyptic analysis.

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The Old Babylonian corpus

There are no current plans with regard to the material relating to the Old Babylonian seals. Depending on the progress of the previous two projects, we will consider taking that up again.

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