Ancient Near East Studies
Overview of databases, reference works and websites for research in Ancient Near East Studies. Last update: October 2020
- Egyptology, Mesopotamia and Anatolia (Assyriology), Hebrew and Aramaic languages and cultures, archaeology of the Ancient Near East from the prehistory until approx. 600 CE
The collection on the ancient Near East is available in the University Library and the library of the Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO). The NINO library holds over 44.000 titles in the fields of Egyptology, Assyriology and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The full NINO collection is directly accessible for visitors and books cannot be borrowed. Until the move to Cluster-Zuid, books are placed according to a unique systematic code.
The university library has an extended collection of books in the field of Hebrew, Aramaic and Old Testament. The largest part of this collection is located in the closed stacks and can be requested through the Catalogue.
A reference collection is available in the reading rooms on the first floor. This collection is organized by Library of Congress Classification (LCC). Titles on the Old Mediterranean world are mostly placed in section B (religion) in reading room 2, and the section Language and Literature P in reading room under the following codes:
BS the Bible
PJ Oriental Languages
New databases are regularly made available for the public on the internet. You can find the most important ones below, through these you can find other useful databases. For specific use of the databases it is advisable to contact the teaching staff.
Never underestimate the use of paper books/periodicals in these specialized fields, especially:
- Bibliographies in newly published titles
- Bibliotheca Orientalis: bibliography at the end of every volume
- Orientalia: Keilschriftbibliographie, last volume of the year
For older relevant articles: Bibliotheca Orientalis, CXXI, 3-4 (2014)
- Dominique Charpin / Ressources assyriologiques sur internet. p. 331-357
- Federico Giusfredi / Web resources for Hittitology. p. 358 - 361
The AGADE mailinglist for interesting news, reviews and book titles. To (re-)subscribe: a blank email to email@example.com, and write (as subject and in first line): subscribe agade
When you google databases Assyriology, the outcome might slightly differ but you probably will find the following sites with several links to relevant databases:
Online Resources for Assyriology (University of Chicago - Oriental Institute)
Internet Resources (International Association for Assyriology)
Online Resources for Mesopotamis (University of Cambridge - Department of Archaeology)
Yale Library Guide Ancient Near East
Digital Orientalist: Assyriology
The most important OA online resources are:
Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI): catalogue of clay tablets from approx. 3350 BC until the end of the pre-christian period
ETANA: Electronic Tools and Ancient Near East Archives (formerly known as ABZU)
Amarna Letters in the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary
Achaeminid studies (550-330 BC): 773 published cuneiform texts and fragments constituting the published collection of the Murašu Archive in transliteration (and translation for some of them), together with a critical apparatu.
SEAL: Sources of Early Akkadian Literature: Old Babylonian literary texts + Akkadian and bilingual compositions, Old Akkadian to the Middle Babylonian/Middle Assyrian periods, many of which are newly edited and translated.
Database of Neo-Sumerian Texts (BDTNS)
Etymological Dictionary of Akkadian
EbDa Digital Archives
Bibliography of Mesopotamian Astral Science (BibMAS), hosted by TOPOI (HU-Berlin), created by Alex Schwinger and Mathieu Ossendrijver on the basis of the "Bibliography of Babylonian and Assyrian astronomy" (1993) by Christopher Walker and the website "Bibliography of Mesopotamian Astronomy and Astrology" (2004) by Robert van Gent
Ancient Records of Middle Eastern Polities (ARMEP): interactive map interface, displays the find spots of about 6,700 ancient texts in cuneiform script and in the Akkadian and Sumerian languages, texts range in date from ca. 2334 to 64 BC, the majority come from Neo-Assyrian times (744-612 BC)] ARMEP currently provides access to texts housed on Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus (ORACC).
- Inscriptions of Suhu online
- State Archives of Assyria online (SAA): all 21 volumes of the series State Archives of Assyria, plus the Assyrian Eponym List and Eponym Chronicles (published by A.R. Millard in State Archives of Assyria Studies 2).
- Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire online (PNAo)
- Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire: materials contextualising the 7th century correspondence between the king and his scholars, including a section offering an introduction to the cuneiform script with exercises.
- Electronic Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary: over 12,000 Sumerian words, phrases and names. The corpus covers, (in)directly about 100,000 of the 134,000+known Sumerian texts.
- Urartian inscriptions (with English translations)
- Royal Inscriptions of Babylonia online (RIBo):Inscriptions of the kings of Babylon, from 2nd Dynasty of Isin, including the Assyrian rulers claiming this title.
- Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Period (RINAP): inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, Shalmaneser V, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal and successors, and soon also Sargon II.
- Royal Inscriptions of Assyria online (RIAo): inscriptions of all other Assyrian rulers, covering the three volumes of A. Kirk Grayson, The Royal of Inscriptions of Mesopotamia: Assyrian periods (Toronto 1989-1996).
- Assyrian empire builders: Governors, diplomats and soldiers in the service of Sargon II and Tiglath-pileser III, kings of Assyria:8th century state correspondence
Supplement to the Akkadian Dictionary: the Akkadian lexicon is mainly available through the two dictionaries, W. von Soden's Akkadisches Handwörterbuch (1958-1981, 3 volumes) and The Assyrian Dictionary of the University of Chicago (1956-2010, 20 volumes). Numerous Akkadian texts have been published since their publication, with new words and references for words already known. Thanks to new editions of already known texts and lexical discussions in recently published books the meaning and etymology of many words have been improved. The Supplement is updated almost weekly.
Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford)
For Hittite studies:
The Hittite Texts Project was initiated in 1973 by the late Prof. Dr. Ph.H.J. Houwink ten Cate at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and carried out and supervised since 1975 by Prof. Dr. J. de Roos until the present day. Objective of the project is to provide a searchable list of bibliographical references to scholarly publications from the period 1900-1960 on Hittite ‘treated passages’, including complete texts, text fragments, sentences or parts of sentences that have been studied, published and/or provided with philological and/or linguistic commentary. The threshold for the inclusion of a treated text passage is set at a minimum of two consecutive words (nouns, verbs, adjectives).
Chicago Hittite Dictionary Project: links to relevant sites.
Hittite Epigraphs: general geographic map of the epigraphic findings belonging to the Hittite Kingdom (texts, sealings, inscribed objects written in Akkadian or Hittite).
Websites, newsletters and other online resources (blogs, audiovisual material)
Ancient World Online (AWOL): open access material relating to the ancient world
- abMed Corpora Online: in Keilschrift notierte Babylonisch – Assyrische Medizinische Texte. Für die korrekte Darstellung der Umschriften sollte im Browser der Ungkam Font installiert sein.
- Archaeology in Jordan (AIJ)
The UR Online Project: site of Ur, near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq, one of the most important cities of ancient Mesopotamia. Excavated between 1922 and 1934. Sir Leonard Woolley, jointly sponsored by the British Museum and the Penn Museum, uncovered Ur’s famous ziggurat complex, densely packed private houses, and the spectacular Royal Graves. Half the finds from Woolley’s excavations are housed in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, the other half shared equally between the British Museum and the Penn Museum.
Shanati: The Ancient Babylonian Calender: reconstructs and synchronises the ancient Babylonian Calendar with the Julian Calendar. Compiles and integrates all known relevant cuneiform and other textual data and properly aligns that data with a state-of-the-art astronomical model of first lunar visibility.
Open educational resources for the Ancient Near East (University of Central Florida)
OA archaeology websites, usually about excavation projects
The Islahiye Valley Project (Gaziantep, Turkey), also see OrientGIS
The Tilmen Höyük Project (South-Eastern Turkey)
The OrientDams project, a detailed visual assessment on the impact of dams on archaeological sites in the Middle East and Northern Africa
The EblaChora project (ECP)
Forging an Empire: Hittite Imperial Administration from the Mediterranean to the Euphrate (Tel Aviv University)
Mari: Ville des bords de L'Euphrate (Jordan)
Israel Antiquities Authority Survey WebSite: list of survey maps in alphabetic order
Several public lecture series (eg. SOAS, OI) are available on the internet:
How writing began and other unexpectedly funny stories about Cuneiform (40 min.): the ancient Sumerian script that emerged in Mesopotamia’s Fertile Crescent circa 3000 BCE, is the first known system of written communication to move beyond pictograms into abstract representations of language, by Irving Finkel.
Listen to Mesopotamian Stories: introduction to the literature of ancient Iraq. Stories told in English and Arabic by Zipang storytellers, closely based on academic translations of the original Sumerian and Akkadian texts.
Podcast: The changing field of Archaeology with Ian Hodder
Paleo Judaica Blog by James Davila
Smart History: the palace decoration of Ashurbanipal: British Museum video
Coursera Organising an Empire: The Assyrian Way: a MOOC by Karen Radner in six teaching units, about 19 hours. Includes 33 videos and guest performances: eg. Mark Altaweel, Claus Ambos, Enrique Jimenez, Eckart Frahm, Mario Fales, Janoscha Kreppner, John MacGinnis, Dan Potts.
Websites on research projects
The Electronic Babylonian Literature Project (eBL) started in April 2018 at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The goal of the project is to bring Babylonian literature to the point of what can currently be reconstructed. It aims to make accessible a large mass of transliterations of fragments of cuneiform tablets and a tool to allow scholars to search it quickly, thus providing a lasting solution to the abiding problem of the fragmentariness of Mesopotamian Literature. The eBL Corpus and its Fragmentarium are scheduled to be publicly released in the Fall of 2021.
Nippur Digitized: publication project on the records of the Pennsylvania excavations at Nippur 1889-1900 in searchable digital form (PDF)
These subject guides list the most important databases and digital tools in the field of Egyptology. Several databases mentioned here can also be found in the Find Databases > Humanities > Ancient Near East Studies.
Only free accessible reference tools that do not need subscriptions, special login’s or purchase are included. For specific use of the databases it is advisable to contact the teaching staff. Never underestimate the use of paper books and references!
The subject guide is divided into the following sections: General research; Finding books and articles; Site related; Language / textual tools / dictionaries; Other (internet) resources of interest; and Museums
Ancient World Online (AWOL): blog that features, among other things, an alphabetical list of open access journals in ancient studies
Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online: focuses on the history of early Christian texts, authors, ideas. Its content is intended to bridge the gap between the fields of New Testament studies and patristics, covering the whole period of early Christianity up to 600 CE. The BEEC aims to provide a critical review of the methods used in Early Christian Studies and to update the historiography
Digital Egypt for Universities: this site is aimed to assist teaching across all disciplines, especially architecture, art, medicine, science, religion, literature, gender studies, cultural studies and museum studies
Egyptologists’ Electronic Forum: the EEF is a membership-wide e-mail list for conferencing on the culture and civilization of ancient Egypt c. 5000 BCE – 641 CE, serving as a nexus for dialog between academics working in Egyptology and other persons interested in ancient Egypt.
In the EEF Surveys of Digitalised Resources links refer to:
- Online AE Text Resources
- E-journals and Digitized Journals
- Three publications that are available online or partly digitized, hosted by the EEF website
- Digitized Collections of Ancient Egyptian Source Texts
- Digitized Collections of Ancient Egyptological Book Series
- Online CG volumes
- Online Urk volumes
- Online video and audio files
- EMINA (Egyptian Mummies in North America
- Translation of Georg Möller’s work on Hieratic
The Encyclopedia of Ancient History: comprehensive collection of twenty-first century scholarship available on the entire ancient Mediterranean world, with over 5,700 original entries published since November 2012
Lexikon der Ägyptologie by Hans Wolfgang Helck (LÄ). Unfortunately there is no free access to an online version of the LÄ. Only Band IV (1982) Megiddo – Pyramiden can be read online at the Internet Archive of Open Library
Open Educational Resources for the study of the Ancient Near East (OER): is compiled by Dr. Tiffany Early-Spadoni with the assistance of Rachel Williams at the University of Central Florida. The website contains the following sections: Digital Archaeology; Educational Pages/Modules; Images; Object/Collections; OER Collections; Other; Podcasts; Primary Sources / Text Translation Projects; Subject Bibliographies and Videos
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt: electronic version of the three-volume reference work on Egyptology from Oxford University Press. It includes articles by experts in the field, with helpful bibliographies
UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology (UEE): encyclopedia containing high quality peer reviewed articles
Finding books and articles
Aegyptiaca: Ägyptologische Literaturdatenbank of the Institute of Egyptology and Coptology of the University of Münster: literature database that records the monographs, series and journal purchased for the Library of Egyptology and Coptology at the University of Münster since 1987, including the individual titles contained in the last two. Successive additions of older titles
AWOL Alphabetical List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies: list of all Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies. The list includes digitized paper-based journals from the 18th century origins to the present day, as well as born-digital Open Access journals
AWOL Alphabetical List of Open Access Monograph Series in Ancient Studies: list including digitized or born-digital Open Access monograph series in Ancient Studies
Digital Giza Library: provides a complete list of downloadable (PDF) Giza publications
DigiZeitschriften: digital archive of back issues of 100+ German scholarly journals. As for Egyptology and Coptology, in the Open Access section, there is free access to the Revue d’égyptologie and Special extra report: comprising the work of the EEF…. There is no free access to the GM and SAK
Egyptology Books and Articles in PDF online: this page aims to collect as many books and articles as possible on Egyptological subjects which are freely accessible to anyone without the need for privileged access. Number of records is more than 750o
Giza Digital Library: as part of the Giza Archives Project, the Giza Digital Library provides freely accessible monographs, articles, and manuscripts on the Giza Necropolis. Most of the often rare and out-of-print publications are text-searchable PDF files
JSTOR: provides access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines
Kitab – Egyptology in Focus Umbrella Series (sub-series: Material Culture of ancient Egypt and Nubia): new Open Access (and print) monograph series (starting from 2020) that seeks to provide space for very focused long articles or short books, being a scientific vehicle for those research topics which do not fit neatly into the format of a journal article or a book
Nag Hammadi Bibliography Online: cross-searchable database of books, articles and reviews, which contribute to the study of Gnosticism and early Christianity
Online Egyptological Bibliography: the most important bibliography in the field of Egyptology, successor of the paper “Annual Egyptological Bibliography”. It also includes „Aigyptos. Eine Datenbank zur Literaturrecherche im Fachgebiet Ägyptologie“
Propylaeum DOK. Fachinformationsdienst Altertumswissenschaften: full-text server of the Specialized Information Service Classics made available by the University Library of Heidelberg. Il also includes Egyptological publications
TOCS-IN: provides the tables of contents of a selection of Classics, Near Eastern Studies, and Religion journals, both in text format and through a Web search program. Where possible, links are given with articles of which the full text or an abstract is available online
Amarna Project: the Amarna Project seeks to explore by archaeology the ancient city of Amarna and its historical context and to preserve what is left of the ancient city. It also promotes study and recording of the history, archaeology and traditional life and crafts of the surrounding region
The Center for French-Egyptian Studies of the Temples of Karnak: this website presents current and coming activities of the CFEETK. Also more than 40.000 full definition photographs from the scientific archives of the CFEETK are now available online
Digital Karnak: the Digital Karnak Project of the UCLA, University of California aims to make the site of Karnak more accessible to students and instructors in the English-speaking world. The features of this website have been designed to provide college classrooms with easily accessible, up-to-date, expert material relating to the temple precinct. Enter the temple precinct and discover its rich religious, political and architectural history
Digital Topographical Bibliography: the Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues, Reliefs and Paintings, (also known as “Porter & Moss” or “TopBib”) is an essential and comprehensive resource for Egyptologists, presenting and analyzing both published and unpublished information about ancient Egyptian monuments. Alongside searchable PDFs of the current print version, vols. 1-7, examples of new data focusing on two case-studies (Tuna el-Gebel and Tell el-Far’un) have been made available. The third case-study is a revised edition for part of vol. 8, available as a XHTML text, that covers the complete section for royal statues
Das Digitale Schott-Archiv (DSA). Altägyptische Monumente und Antiken in Photographien des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts: database containing 8,000 images taken by Siegfried Schott in Egypt during the 1920s and 1930s
Giza Archives Project: comprehensive resource for research on Giza containing photographs and other documentation from the original Harvard University – Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition (1904-1947), from recent MFA fieldwork, and from other expeditions, museums, and universities around the world.
Part of it is the Giza Digital Library, providing freely accessible monographs, articles, and manuscripts on the Giza Necropolis. Most of the often rare and out-of-print publications are text-searchable PDF files
Osirisnet. Tombs of Ancient Egypt: the Osirisnet project aims to present the greatest possible number of tombs and mastabas, and to contribute to a better understanding of the tombs opened to the public and to bring to life those that remain inaccessible. Detailed tomb descriptions are combined with a wide range of illustrations, sometimes together with a 3D presentation
Oxford Expedition to Egypt: Scene-details Database (OEE): online-database and other resources focusing on archaeological remains, particularly tombs and tomb decoration, dating to the Old Kingdom. Although the Top. Bib. of Porter & Moss (PM) is the “parent” reference for the OEE Database, the organization of data in PM is very different, particularly in terms of regional scope and primary focus. The OEE Database covers all of the known O.K. cemeteries simultaneously, and its narrower primary focus is the occurrence of scene types and their relevant scene details in tombs (scene details being mentioned only incidentally in PM). In reality the OEE Database has the potential to develop far beyond its 3-year limit, for, in addition to scene types and scene details, there are numerous other reliefs and paintings not included in the current database
Language / Textual tools / Dictionaries
Coptic Dictionary Online: the CDO aims to make it easy to look up Coptic words in all dialects and to supply freely accessible translations in English, French and German
Coptic Magical Papyri: Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects: the Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects is intended to serve as a resource for the study of magical, alchemical, astrological and other ritual and related texts from the ancient and medieval Mediterranean world. At present focus is on magical texts written in Coptic, Greek, and Demotic from Egypt
Deir el-Medina Database: the Deir el-Medina Database is meant to be an intermediate presentation of the ongoing research project A Survey of the New Kingdom Non-literary Texts from Deir el-Medina of Leiden University. The database is a search tool enabling the user to retrieve the documents relevant to his/her research activities from the corpus of non-literary texts from Deir el-Medina
EEF guide to internet resources for ancient Egyptian texts: extensive collection of online resources for ancient Egyptian texts from the O.K. to the Ptolemaic & Roman Period, arranged chronologically
The Egyptian Coffin Texts (A. de Buck, 8 volumes): online available by the Oriental Institute Coffin Texts Publication Project
Persons and Names of the Middle Kingdom (PNM): online database (still under development) that should eventually cover Egyptian Middle Kingdom personal names, people, written sources, titles, and dossiers of persons attested in various sources. The preliminary version currently available online is limited to the Second Intermediate Period sources (14th–17th Dynasties). It is planned to publish the final version comprising as many persons and names of the Middle Kingdom as possible in 2021
Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae (TLA): virtual dictionary for lexicographic research
Trismegistos. An interdisciplinary portal of the ancient world: platform aiming to surmount barriers of language and discipline in the study of texts from the ancient world, particularly Late Period Egypt and the Nile Valley. Next to the core component, the Trismegistos Texts, there also are databases of Collections, Archives, People, Places, and a Bibliography
Wörterbuch der Ägyptischen Sprache via Thesaurus Lingua Aegyptia (TLA)
Other (internet) resources of interest
The AGADE mailinglist for interesting news, reviews and book titles. To subscribe: send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and write as subject in the first line: subscribe agade
The Ancient Egypt film site: this site offers an elaborate overview of motion pictures and tv movies that prominently feature Egyptology and ancient Egypt, its monuments or sites. Looking for those magnificent mummy films, or films featuring pyramids or Cleopatra? This is the site to visit. More than 980 movies, television films and episodes from television series are featured here
Date Converter for Ancient Egypt: this website is a scientific tool for converting calendar dates mentioned in Greek and Demotic papyri from Egypt into Julian and corresponding Gregorian dates, from the reign of Psametik to Diocletian
The Egypt Exploration Society: the EES was founded in 1882 as the Egypt Explorations Fund in order to explore, survey, and excavate at ancient sites in Egypt and Sudan, and to publish the results of this work
Electronic Tools and Ancient Near East Archives (ETANA): a multi-institutional collaborative electronic publishing project designed to enhance the study of the history and culture of the ancient Near East. The website includes access to archaeological excavation reports, editions of ancient and modern texts, core early monographs, dictionaries, journals, reports in the public domain, links to websites of archaeological digs, and a database (ETANA DL) of information from archaeological surveys and excavations
The Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO): NINO is a pillar of Dutch research on the Ancient Near East and Egypt. The internationally renowned open-shelf library contains one of the most complete study collections in the fields of Egyptology, Assyriology, Hittitology, and Archaeology of the Near East. NINO also holds important collections of cuneiform tablets and other Near Eastern object, publishes scientific journals and monograph series, and offers a variety of funding instruments
YouTube: several interesting public lectures on Egyptological subjects are available on YouTube. Find them by searching Google “public lectures Egyptology YouTube” or search within YouTube “Egyptology Lectures”
The Global Egyptian Museum: this long-term project aims to collect the over 2 million objects from ancient Egypt which are kept in about 850 public collections dispersed over 69 countries around the world, into a global virtual museum. The project is carried out under the aegis of the International Committee for Egyptology (CIPEG). Many objects are provided with audio comments and 3D-movies. The full database presently includes 14975 objects
Cleo – The AI Egyptology Platform: search across 45,000 ancient Egyptian objects from four museum collections by text, image, and location (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, The Walters Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum). Artificial Intelligence enables to quickly find related objects by using image search. Within an account the first 50 queries each month are for free and give access to the entire collections and all functionalities. Extra queries can be bought for a small amount
The Egypt Centre (Swansea University, UK): in this new online collection catalogue developed by Abaset Collections there are currently 5660 items listed, accompanied by 9177 photos. The majority of items were collected by the pharmacist Sir Henry Wellcome and arrived in Swansea in 1971 as part of the distribution of his Egyptian collection
Rambi: bibliography in the field of Jewish Studies
Encyclopaedia Judaica: extended encyclopedia for Jewish Studies
Encyclopedia of the Bible and its reception Online: encyclopedia on the origins and development of the Bible according to its different canonic forms in Judaism and Christianity. EBR also documents the history of the Bible’s reception in literature, art, music, and film; as well as in other religious traditions