A Working Ontology for Cuneiform Tablets

Adam Anderson (University of California, Berkeley)

Friday, 6 October 2023 | 6:15 – 7:30 pm


Many of us have encountered cuneiform writing, possibly during our early school years. However, what remains largely unknown to most is the staggering volume of data generated by these ancient clay tablets. In 2010, Streck estimated that there are approximately half a million such tablets that have been unearthed. Nevertheless, online catalogs, like the CDLI and ORACC, account for roughly 400,000 artifacts, with around half of them being cuneiform tablets. Currently, we lack a clear count of secondary sources referencing these primary tablets. The Keilschrift Bibliographie, for instance, has documented over 112,640 different bibliographic citations related to secondary sources working with this collection of cuneiform tablets. The AfO Register provides similar citation references, but managing the digital footprint of this work poses significant challenges to keeping it up-to-date.

The FactGrid Cuneiform project aims to provide open-source access to all available data for each cuneiform tablet that exists either online or in digital text or images. Leveraging a Wikibase platform, we’ve created a specialized framework to encompass the diverse properties of data associated with a given tablet. This framework covers everything from surface features, with remarks on the paleography, to secondary source references. This open source approach focuses on integrating data from various online databases, supporting both existing and future research projects that interact with the cuneiform tablets. With a strong focus on computational text analysis, our project’s ultimate goal is to construct an all-encompassing Knowledge Graph. This resource will play a vital role in meeting the growing demand for access to a wide range of data generated by ongoing research in the field of Assyriology.

Cite this blog post
dabawa (2023, September 21). A Working Ontology for Cuneiform Tablets. Digital Archaeology Bern - Ancient West Asia. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://dabawa.hypotheses.org/1079

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