Oriental Institute - University of Chicago

Oriental Institute - University of Chicago A leading research center for the ancient Middle East that houses a world-renowned museum with artifacts excavated mainly by OI archaeologists.
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The Oriental Institute Museum is a world-renowned showcase for the history, art, and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The museum displays objects recovered by Oriental Institute excavations in permanent galleries devoted to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the ancient site of Megiddo, as well as rotating special exhibits.

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Elephants were wildly popular in Egypt, and other places where they were not native, although elephants did live in Egyp...
07/07/2021

Elephants were wildly popular in Egypt, and other places where they were not native, although elephants did live in Egypt in prehistoric times. Climate change meant that they vanished from the country, however the Egyptians remained familiar with elephants thanks to their contact with countries to the south. Elephants were imported into Egypt in small numbers and featured in the Ptolemaic army. Their figure was used in many forms of decoration, like this fun candlestick!

E25570: sandstone and paint, Egypt, Fustat, Umayyad–Abbasid dynasties (7th–8th centuries AD) or Fatimid–Ayyubid dynasties (11th–12th centuries AD)

Elephants were wildly popular in Egypt, and other places where they were not native, although elephants did live in Egypt in prehistoric times. Climate change meant that they vanished from the country, however the Egyptians remained familiar with elephants thanks to their contact with countries to the south. Elephants were imported into Egypt in small numbers and featured in the Ptolemaic army. Their figure was used in many forms of decoration, like this fun candlestick!

E25570: sandstone and paint, Egypt, Fustat, Umayyad–Abbasid dynasties (7th–8th centuries AD) or Fatimid–Ayyubid dynasties (11th–12th centuries AD)

Do you hear that? The wild is calling us to explore ancient depictions of animals in Egypt! There are several types of e...
07/06/2021

Do you hear that? The wild is calling us to explore ancient depictions of animals in Egypt! There are several types of eagles native to Egypt. When the Greeks ruled Egypt, images of the eagles on their coins circulated throughout the country. These eagles symbolized the Greek god Zeus and their own might as rulers. This can be seen on a silver Ptolemaic coin from Cyprus: on the reverse side is an eagle clutching a thunderbolt, both symbols of Zeus, and on the front is a profile of Ptolemy I.

E13722: silver, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period, Ptolemy I (305–282 BC)

Do you hear that? The wild is calling us to explore ancient depictions of animals in Egypt! There are several types of eagles native to Egypt. When the Greeks ruled Egypt, images of the eagles on their coins circulated throughout the country. These eagles symbolized the Greek god Zeus and their own might as rulers. This can be seen on a silver Ptolemaic coin from Cyprus: on the reverse side is an eagle clutching a thunderbolt, both symbols of Zeus, and on the front is a profile of Ptolemy I.

E13722: silver, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period, Ptolemy I (305–282 BC)

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is showcasing Documenting the Amenhotep III Wall Scene ... From Model Creation to Presentatio...
07/04/2021

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is showcasing Documenting the Amenhotep III Wall Scene ... From Model Creation to Presentation, by Owen Murray, senior digital photographer at the Epigraphic Survey and Alexis Pantos, MA MSc. International Heritage Visualization

This great piece (based on a presentation by the authors at this year’s ARCE conference) “uses the Survey’s first ever ‘digital native’ prototype to explore how the rapidly evolving field of digital and 3D publishing may work in concert with print publication to further the original aims of the project.” It discusses a number of important considerations for working with 3D models in an academic milieu, and has a fantastic series of videos demonstrating parts of the process!

https://www.digital-epigraphy.com/projects/documenting-the-amenhotep-iii-wall-scene-ld177-at-luxor-temple-part-4-from-model-creation-to-presentation

Happy #Caturday! We are excited to present you with our July Cat of the Month Calendar image—a painting of Tutankhamun h...
07/03/2021

Happy #Caturday! We are excited to present you with our July Cat of the Month Calendar image—a painting of Tutankhamun hunting lions from the tomb of Tutankhamun at Thebes, by Nina de Garis Davies (the original depiction was one of two hunting scenes painted on the lid of Tutankhamun's casket and it dates to the reign of Tutankhamun, Dynasty XVIII, 1357–1349 BC). Davies worked as an artist and Egyptologist for several archaeological and research expeditions in Egypt from 1907 until 1939 and created colored copies of a large number of ancient Egyptian tomb paintings.

Sign up for our Cat of the Month Club to receive a monthly email with a desktop and phone background, a printable wall calendar, and other special cat-related goodies: bit.ly/oi-catofthemonth

Happy #Caturday! We are excited to present you with our July Cat of the Month Calendar image—a painting of Tutankhamun hunting lions from the tomb of Tutankhamun at Thebes, by Nina de Garis Davies (the original depiction was one of two hunting scenes painted on the lid of Tutankhamun's casket and it dates to the reign of Tutankhamun, Dynasty XVIII, 1357–1349 BC). Davies worked as an artist and Egyptologist for several archaeological and research expeditions in Egypt from 1907 until 1939 and created colored copies of a large number of ancient Egyptian tomb paintings.

Sign up for our Cat of the Month Club to receive a monthly email with a desktop and phone background, a printable wall calendar, and other special cat-related goodies: bit.ly/oi-catofthemonth

Our last stop on our dictionary tour is the Chicago Demotic Dictionary (CDD), a lexicographic tool for reading texts wri...
07/02/2021

Our last stop on our dictionary tour is the Chicago Demotic Dictionary (CDD), a lexicographic tool for reading texts written in a late stage of the ancient Egyptian language to be written in a hieroglyphic script and in a highly cursive script known as Demotic! Initiated in 1973, the CDD is intended to supplement and update W. Erichsen’s Demotisches Glossar, which was published in 1954 and has been the only large-scale dictionary of Demotic available to the scholarly world to date.

Image credit: University of Chicago

Our last stop on our dictionary tour is the Chicago Demotic Dictionary (CDD), a lexicographic tool for reading texts written in a late stage of the ancient Egyptian language to be written in a hieroglyphic script and in a highly cursive script known as Demotic! Initiated in 1973, the CDD is intended to supplement and update W. Erichsen’s Demotisches Glossar, which was published in 1954 and has been the only large-scale dictionary of Demotic available to the scholarly world to date.

Image credit: University of Chicago

Did you know that before the current OI building was built, some of the objects that are now part of the OI Museum colle...
07/01/2021

Did you know that before the current OI building was built, some of the objects that are now part of the OI Museum collection were held and displayed in the Haskell Oriental Museum (1896–1930), which was also part of the University of Chicago campus? Even the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary had a room in this building! #TBT

Did you know that before the current OI building was built, some of the objects that are now part of the OI Museum collection were held and displayed in the Haskell Oriental Museum (1896–1930), which was also part of the University of Chicago campus? Even the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary had a room in this building! #TBT

This month, #ConnectingCollections is focusing on objects in our collections identified as fakes and forgeries. Fakes an...
06/30/2021

This month, #ConnectingCollections is focusing on objects in our collections identified as fakes and forgeries. Fakes and forgeries are often understood to be objects created in modern times to deceive curators and collectors for monetary gain. But stories of #FakesAndForgeries in both the past and present are much more complex—for example, we also have modern replicas of objects created for educational and research purposes, forgeries created in antiquity, and questions of how scholars today can identify when a given object was created.

Copper figures excavated by the OI Iraq Expedition in the Shara Temple at Tell Agrab (1936–37) attest to the exceedingly high quality of Mesopotamian metalwork. This group of votive gifts included, to quote Henri Frankfort, “a little work which is as remarkable a technical achievement as it is striking an archaeological document” (# 1–3). The 7.5-centimeter-tall model of a one-man chariot drawn by four donkeys is one of the earliest attestations of wheeled transportation; its lack of military paraphernalia, light construction, and number of animals suggest it represents a fast mode of transport used for short journeys, sport, or elite contests. Following excavation, the object entered the National Museum of Iraq’s collection. Wanting also to represent this exceptional discovery in the OI Museum, the OI team had an exact replica made that renders faithfully such technical details as the construction of the wheels and the donkeys’ harness (# 4). Unable to work from the original in Iraq, the London company that created the replica did so based on drawings by the expedition’s architect, Seton Lloyd (# 5), the details of which far surpass those of the original sketch in the Tell Agrab field register (# 6).

C878: polyform, after the original: IM 31389, copper alloy, Tell Agrab, Iraq, Early Dynastic period (2900–2300 BC)

Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Met AncientEgypt / The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Penn MuseumYale Babylonian Collection

Next up on our tour of OI dictionaries is the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (CHD)! Started in 1975, its mission is to provi...
06/29/2021

Next up on our tour of OI dictionaries is the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (CHD)! Started in 1975, its mission is to provide a complete dictionary of the Hittite language, which was recorded in cuneiform writing on clay tablets for some five hundred years (ca. 1650–1190 BC)—they are currently working on the letter T! The CHD was officially started with the awarding of an NEH grant to Harry A. Hoffner, seen here, and Hans G. Güterbock, the editors. It was created in answer to a recognized need for a Hittite-English lexical tool, a dictionary for lexicographical research for all parts of the collection of Hittite texts.

Next up on our tour of OI dictionaries is the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (CHD)! Started in 1975, its mission is to provide a complete dictionary of the Hittite language, which was recorded in cuneiform writing on clay tablets for some five hundred years (ca. 1650–1190 BC)—they are currently working on the letter T! The CHD was officially started with the awarding of an NEH grant to Harry A. Hoffner, seen here, and Hans G. Güterbock, the editors. It was created in answer to a recognized need for a Hittite-English lexical tool, a dictionary for lexicographical research for all parts of the collection of Hittite texts.

This week we are delving into the world of language and exploring the OI dictionary projects! In 1921 James Henry Breast...
06/28/2021

This week we are delving into the world of language and exploring the OI dictionary projects! In 1921 James Henry Breasted initiated the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (CAD), an encyclopedic study of a language that has not been spoken for 2,000 years. The lexical entries of the CAD quote individual cuneiform sources over some 2,500 years, exploring the different meanings and usage of Akkadian words and, consequently, Mesopotamian society and culture. Erica Reiner, then John A. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor at the OI and editor-in-charge of the CAD (1973–1996), seen here, worked with A. Leo Oppenheim to publish the first of what would be 21 volumes in 1956, working on the project for 44 years in total!

University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-10834, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

This week we are delving into the world of language and exploring the OI dictionary projects! In 1921 James Henry Breasted initiated the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (CAD), an encyclopedic study of a language that has not been spoken for 2,000 years. The lexical entries of the CAD quote individual cuneiform sources over some 2,500 years, exploring the different meanings and usage of Akkadian words and, consequently, Mesopotamian society and culture. Erica Reiner, then John A. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor at the OI and editor-in-charge of the CAD (1973–1996), seen here, worked with A. Leo Oppenheim to publish the first of what would be 21 volumes in 1956, working on the project for 44 years in total!

University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-10834, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

The weekend is here and so is #Caturday! On the bottom part of the horse of Ardashir I, founder of the Sasanian Empire (...
06/26/2021

The weekend is here and so is #Caturday! On the bottom part of the horse of Ardashir I, founder of the Sasanian Empire (AD 226–651), is a trilingual inscription with the heads of lions above it. The relief as a whole is an inauguration scene of Ardashir I by the god Hormizd (Ahuramazda) at the site of Naqsh-e Rajab. Four rock reliefs and inscriptions can be dated to the Sasanian period at the site, including the inscription and relief of the high priest Kartir, who also played an important role in politics. He began his career under Ardashir I’s son Shapur I, and remained an important figure under subsequent kings, in some cases helping to determine who succeeded to the throne. This inscription and relief, proclaiming his personal beliefs, shows Kartir with a hand raised in a gesture of homage to the god and the king.

The weekend is here and so is #Caturday! On the bottom part of the horse of Ardashir I, founder of the Sasanian Empire (AD 226–651), is a trilingual inscription with the heads of lions above it. The relief as a whole is an inauguration scene of Ardashir I by the god Hormizd (Ahuramazda) at the site of Naqsh-e Rajab. Four rock reliefs and inscriptions can be dated to the Sasanian period at the site, including the inscription and relief of the high priest Kartir, who also played an important role in politics. He began his career under Ardashir I’s son Shapur I, and remained an important figure under subsequent kings, in some cases helping to determine who succeeded to the throne. This inscription and relief, proclaiming his personal beliefs, shows Kartir with a hand raised in a gesture of homage to the god and the king.

Yazilikaya, which literally means inscribed rock, was a sanctuary of the capital of the Hittite Empire, Hattusa. The sma...
06/25/2021

Yazilikaya, which literally means inscribed rock, was a sanctuary of the capital of the Hittite Empire, Hattusa. The smaller of the two chambers in this sanctuary, Chamber B, contains larger and better preserved reliefs, including the one seen here, which shows the 12 gods of the underworld!

Yazilikaya, which literally means inscribed rock, was a sanctuary of the capital of the Hittite Empire, Hattusa. The smaller of the two chambers in this sanctuary, Chamber B, contains larger and better preserved reliefs, including the one seen here, which shows the 12 gods of the underworld!

As part of the OI Museum’s current special exhibition, Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present, we look at how Sevruguin docu...
06/24/2021

As part of the OI Museum’s current special exhibition, Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present, we look at how Sevruguin documented a changing Iran by photographing modern innovations in addition to more traditional Iranian scenes, including the Qajar relief of Fath Ali Shah located at Chesmeh-Ali in Rayy, which is currently on display in the exhibit!

Learn more about Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present here: oi100.uchicago.edu/sevruguin

As part of the OI Museum’s current special exhibition, Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present, we look at how Sevruguin documented a changing Iran by photographing modern innovations in addition to more traditional Iranian scenes, including the Qajar relief of Fath Ali Shah located at Chesmeh-Ali in Rayy, which is currently on display in the exhibit!

Learn more about Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present here: oi100.uchicago.edu/sevruguin

Darius I (reign 522–486 BC) had his royal tomb carved into a cliff face at Naqsh-i Rustam! His was the first cliff tomb ...
06/23/2021

Darius I (reign 522–486 BC) had his royal tomb carved into a cliff face at Naqsh-i Rustam! His was the first cliff tomb at the site and his successors copied the idea, replicating both the style of the cliff tomb and the layout of the tomb itself both at Naqsh-i Rustam and the mountainside above Persepolis. The entrance of the dramatic façade leads into the tomb chamber, cut deep into the rock. In the panel above this façade is a relief depicting the king standing on a three-stepped pedestal in front of an altar. Above him floats the winged disk of Ahuramazda. This scene is supported by throne bearers representing 28 delegations of the empire. On the side panels are the king's weapon bearers and Persian guards. The trilingual cuneiform inscriptions on three panels of the rock wall list the 28 delegations upholding the throne and glorify the king and his rule.

Darius I (reign 522–486 BC) had his royal tomb carved into a cliff face at Naqsh-i Rustam! His was the first cliff tomb at the site and his successors copied the idea, replicating both the style of the cliff tomb and the layout of the tomb itself both at Naqsh-i Rustam and the mountainside above Persepolis. The entrance of the dramatic façade leads into the tomb chamber, cut deep into the rock. In the panel above this façade is a relief depicting the king standing on a three-stepped pedestal in front of an altar. Above him floats the winged disk of Ahuramazda. This scene is supported by throne bearers representing 28 delegations of the empire. On the side panels are the king's weapon bearers and Persian guards. The trilingual cuneiform inscriptions on three panels of the rock wall list the 28 delegations upholding the throne and glorify the king and his rule.

Take some “you” time this summer and join us for the online class, “Rock Art in the ancient Near East, North Africa, and...
06/22/2021

Take some “you” time this summer and join us for the online class, “Rock Art in the ancient Near East, North Africa, and Beyond!” Five amazing scholars will discuss the evidence they have for rock art in the ancient Near East and North Africa, as well as compare this with the rock art of East Africa! Learn more and register: bit.ly/oi-class0721

Take some “you” time this summer and join us for the online class, “Rock Art in the ancient Near East, North Africa, and Beyond!” Five amazing scholars will discuss the evidence they have for rock art in the ancient Near East and North Africa, as well as compare this with the rock art of East Africa! Learn more and register: bit.ly/oi-class0721

Address

1155 E 58th St
Chicago, IL
60637

Take the Jackson Park Express CTA bus (Number 6), the Hyde Park Express (Number 2) south to Hyde Park. Get off at 59th street, walk to Woodlawn Ave., make a right and the museum will be located to your left, behind Rockefeller Chapel. Check out this link to view the museum and surrounding campus in real-time: http://buscam.uchicago.edu/view/index.shtml.

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00
Sunday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(773) 702-9514

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The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is a leading research center for the ancient Middle East. The museum houses some 350,000 artifacts—around 5,000 of which are on display—excavated mainly by OI archaeologists. Founded in 1919, at a time when the Middle East was called the Orient, the OI has pioneered innovative excavations and comprehensive dictionary projects that chronicle ancient civilizations. The Oriental Institute Museum aims to understand, reveal, and protect ancient Middle Eastern civilizations.

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