Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum / Babette Schnitzlein (ed.),
Keilschriftartefakte. Untersuchungen zur Materialität von Keilschriftdokumenten,
Berliner Beiträge zum Vorderen Orient, Band 26, Gladbeck 2018.
The primary writing support for cuneiform is the (unbaked) clay tablet, which was inscribed while the clay was still moist. However, one look at the collections of the British Museum and one soon realises that cuneiform was not confined to this medium, but utilizes a number of other supports, such as clay cylinders and prisms or stone slabs and stone ducks. While usually concentrating on the decipherment and study of texts, cuneiform studies have, in recent years, paid more and more attention to the materiality of inscribed objects. Such was the case at a workshop on the materiality of the writing process which took place on 29 April 2013 at the Freie Universität Berlin.
The recently published proceedings of the workshop ‘Keilschriftartefakte. Untersuchungen zur Materialität von Keilschriftdokumenten’ give an idea of the rich potential of this research question. All articles focus on inscribed artefacts made from clay. But coming from different disciplines – archaeology, computer science, cuneiform studies and physics – and being specialized in different periods, the authors approach the subject matter differently. This allows for the presentation of new methods and exiting results. It becomes evident that research on materiality delivers information on a variety of topics, e.g. aesthetics of monuments, transfer of knowledge, bilingualism (Akkadian – Aramaic) and archival practices. The contributions to the richly illustrated book are in English and German, each of which is accompanied by an English abstract. A preview of the contents page is available here: https://pewe-verlag.de/res/liber16-argumentum.pdf