Thursday, March 29, 2012

News from the CDLI: Mellon-funded digitization of the Turin cuneiform collection

Mellon-funded digitization of the Turin cuneiform collection

We are pleased to announce the first results of a digitization collaboration between the Museo di Antichità di Torino (MAT, Superintendance of Archaeology in Turin) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-supported research project "Creating a Sustainable Digital Cuneiform Library (CSDCL)," under the general direction of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI - Los Angeles/Berlin).

Continuing the international collaboration dedicated to the digital capture, persistent archiving and web dissemination of major cuneiform collections in Europe and the Middle East, Laura Hawkins (Oxford University) and Bertrand Lafont (CNRS-Paris) were given access to the full cuneiform collection that is now kept in the MAT, consisting of approximately 800 tablets. With the generous support of the director of the Museo di Antichità, Gabriella Pantò and with the kind assistance of the staff, Hawkins and Lafont proceeded in September and October 2011 to scan the entire collection, including an existing archive of quite professionally done analogue photos; following post-capture processing of the raw images in Los Angeles, new image files have been posted to the CDLI website, and can be viewed directly through the project's search page or, with introductory text in English and Italian, at the MAT page. The initial phase of file postings included a set of images of obverse and reverse surfaces of nearly all objects that were created by the former Senior Curator of the collection, Giovanni Bergamini, listed in CDLI's MAT pages as detail shots; a second posting phase makes available the full CDLI fatcross renditions of text artifacts created in raw format by Hawkins and Lafont in Turin.

We hope that the MAT/CDLI web content will assist cuneiform specialists in the collation of existing publications (above all Archi-Pomponio, TCND [1990]; Archi-Pomponio-Bergamini, TCNU [1995]; and Archi-Pomponio-Stol, TCVC [1999]), and we are convinced that at the same time general access to images of all text-artifacts in curatorial and scholarly care, in conjunction with collated transliterations, will establish the broadest possible foundation for integrative research on all cuneiform inscriptions by the scholarly community.

For the Superintendance of Archaeology in Turin (Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Piemonte e del Museo Antichità Egizie):
Gabriella Pantò, Direttore del Museo di Antichità
Matilde Borla, Archeologo direttore coordinatore specialista in egittologia
Giovanni Bergamini, Museum’s scientific consultant, Formerly Senior Curator

For the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative:
Bertrand Lafont, Co-Principal Investigator
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris

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