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.

Operating as usual

As part of his series “The invisible enemy should not exist,” Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz has collaborated wi...
05/05/2021

As part of his series “The invisible enemy should not exist,” Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz has collaborated with the OI Museum to create a reappearance of a relief from the Northwest Palace at Nimrud, destroyed in 2015. Integrating an ancient fragment from the OI collection, his piece uses contemporary Middle Eastern newspapers and packaging from northern Iraqi foods.

As part of his series “The invisible enemy should not exist,” Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz has collaborated with the OI Museum to create a reappearance of a relief from the Northwest Palace at Nimrud, destroyed in 2015. Integrating an ancient fragment from the OI collection, his piece uses contemporary Middle Eastern newspapers and packaging from northern Iraqi foods.

Syrian artist and architect Mohamad Hafez is exhibiting works at the OI Museum including “Hiraeth” and “Collateral Damag...
05/04/2021

Syrian artist and architect Mohamad Hafez is exhibiting works at the OI Museum including “Hiraeth” and “Collateral Damage.” A self-taught sculptor, Hafez uses his expertise as a licensed AIA architect as well as his lived experience of Damascus’s rich built environment to create poetic streetscapes high in fidelity and charged in content. His works explore the links between the loss of ancient artifacts in the Middle East and the contemporary loss of human life and human suffering in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.

Syrian artist and architect Mohamad Hafez is exhibiting works at the OI Museum including “Hiraeth” and “Collateral Damage.” A self-taught sculptor, Hafez uses his expertise as a licensed AIA architect as well as his lived experience of Damascus’s rich built environment to create poetic streetscapes high in fidelity and charged in content. His works explore the links between the loss of ancient artifacts in the Middle East and the contemporary loss of human life and human suffering in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.

Did you know that the OI has collaborated with contemporary artists? Not only have artists been inspired by objects in o...
05/03/2021

Did you know that the OI has collaborated with contemporary artists? Not only have artists been inspired by objects in our collection, but we have also exhibited art that is representative of the areas we work in. This week we will be discussing some of these artists!

Ann Hamilton, recipient of the National Medal of Arts and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, created a large-scale installation in the Grand Reading Room of UChicago’s Joe and Rika Mansueto Library for her project “aeon,” affixing to the room’s massive glass dome a series of translucent images of OI artifacts that she produced using a small flatbed desktop scanner and a handheld wand scanner. After several thousand years entombed underground, and nearly a century enclosed in the OI’s display cases, the ancient figures were illuminated and “animated” through Hamilton’s ethereal images.

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is highlighting a new article by Egyptologist Júlia Schmied titled “Time Efficiency in Field ...
05/02/2021

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is highlighting a new article by Egyptologist Júlia Schmied titled “Time Efficiency in Field Epigraphy - Documenting Loose Door Fragments in the Medinet Habu Blockyard”

In this article, Júlia talks about the establishment and diverse content of the Medinet Habu blockyard. In particular, she discusses the method of documentation for the blocks—including creating the database, photographing the inscribed surfaces, and setting up the epigraphic system (which is a really cool combination of analog and digital methods!). Also, Júlia has a great section on the use of historical records (by earlier excavators) to supplement and contextualize the once-scattered blocks.

https://www.digital-epigraphy.com/projects/time-efficiency-in-field-epigraphy-documenting-loose-door-fragments-in-the-medinet-habu-blockyard

Happy #Caturday to our cat-loving friends! It's the first day of May and you (hopefully) know what that means—we are rel...
05/01/2021

Happy #Caturday to our cat-loving friends! It's the first day of May and you (hopefully) know what that means—we are releasing our May Cat of the Month Calendar!! This elegantly carved lion-shaped game piece may have originally been part of a set for the ancient game of “mehen” or “serpent game.” Mehen’s game board comes in the form of a coiled snake and the players are tasked with using markers to race from the snake’s tail towards the snake’s head!

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

E7895: ivory (with modern restoration), Egypt, Abydos, Dynasty 1 (3050–2850 BC)

Happy #Caturday to our cat-loving friends! It's the first day of May and you (hopefully) know what that means—we are releasing our May Cat of the Month Calendar!! This elegantly carved lion-shaped game piece may have originally been part of a set for the ancient game of “mehen” or “serpent game.” Mehen’s game board comes in the form of a coiled snake and the players are tasked with using markers to race from the snake’s tail towards the snake’s head!

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

E7895: ivory (with modern restoration), Egypt, Abydos, Dynasty 1 (3050–2850 BC)

Lyres are stringed musical instruments that look fairly similar to harps, with strings that run over a soundbox to a yok...
04/30/2021

Lyres are stringed musical instruments that look fairly similar to harps, with strings that run over a soundbox to a yoke. There are a few ancient variations of lyres, including the box lyre—a large lyre that was placed on the ground and played by seated musicians—and small asymmetrical lyres—most of which were held and played with a plectrum. In this fragmentary impression of a cylinder seal, we see a kneeling female figure playing the lyre, which is in the form of a recumbent bull!

What might ancient Mesopotamian music sound like? Harpist Andy Lowings set out to recreate a playable replica of the iconic Gold Lyre of Ur. Andy, along with his friend Jenifer Sturdy, enlisted the help of academics, students, artisans, and musicians to faithfully reconstruct the ancient instrument. Their journey resulted in a series of recordings, concerts, and radio broadcasts, all featuring the haunting sounds of the ancient lyre. Watch part 1 of the Lyre Ensemble podcast, where we start our Contemporary Artist/Ancient Voices series, a set of conversations with artists who draw inspiration from the ancient Middle East. This video goes live on the OI's YouTube on Saturday, May 1 at 10 a.m. (CST): https://youtu.be/CimbNIhc70E

A32241: clay, Iraq, Nippur, Early Dynastic period (2900–2600 BC)

A new OI publication has been released! "The Sheikh’s House at Quseir al-Qadim: Documenting a Thirteenth-Century Red Sea...
04/29/2021

A new OI publication has been released! "The Sheikh’s House at Quseir al-Qadim: Documenting a Thirteenth-Century Red Sea Port" studies a thirteenth-century dwelling on Egypt’s Red Sea Coast draws on multiple lines of evidence—including texts excavated at the site—to reconstruct a history of the structure and the people who dwelt within. Learn more, purchase, or download, here: bit.ly/oi-oip144

A new OI publication has been released! "The Sheikh’s House at Quseir al-Qadim: Documenting a Thirteenth-Century Red Sea Port" studies a thirteenth-century dwelling on Egypt’s Red Sea Coast draws on multiple lines of evidence—including texts excavated at the site—to reconstruct a history of the structure and the people who dwelt within. Learn more, purchase, or download, here: bit.ly/oi-oip144

#TBT to a scene of musicians at a banquet, painted by Nina de Garis Davies (1881–1965). This scene comes from the tomb o...
04/29/2021

#TBT to a scene of musicians at a banquet, painted by Nina de Garis Davies (1881–1965). This scene comes from the tomb of Amenemhet in Thebes, Egypt—dating to the reign of Tuthmosis III (1475–1448 BC). Davies copied a large number of ancient Egyptian tomb paintings, 104 of which were published by the OI in three volumes of “Ancient Egyptian Paintings.”

#TBT to a scene of musicians at a banquet, painted by Nina de Garis Davies (1881–1965). This scene comes from the tomb of Amenemhet in Thebes, Egypt—dating to the reign of Tuthmosis III (1475–1448 BC). Davies copied a large number of ancient Egyptian tomb paintings, 104 of which were published by the OI in three volumes of “Ancient Egyptian Paintings.”

While we often think of dress as an expression of individual identity, clothing, jewelry, and hairstyles, can also be ma...
04/28/2021

While we often think of dress as an expression of individual identity, clothing, jewelry, and hairstyles, can also be markers of social class, including profession, economic status, and religious affiliation. Styles of dress also vary across time, place, and cultural groups. This month, #ConnectingCollections looks at the role that dress has played in ancient societies.

The representation of dress in the carved wall reliefs of Assyrian palaces was one way in which artisans were able to distinguish peoples from foreign lands. The reliefs lining the interior walls of a long, ramped corridor (Corridor 10) of king Sargon II’s palace at Dur-Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad) stand as an example. The combination of stone paving, wall reliefs showing foreign tribute bearers led by Assyrian attendants separated by a cuneiform inscription recounting Sargon’s accomplishments, and colossal winged bulls guarding the doorways at either end confirm that this corridor was an important walkway intended for visitors—including foreign dignitaries and Assyrian high officials—to traverse when meeting with the king (Photo 1). The turbans and hairstyles of the tributaries, some shown carrying bowls, and city models, in the upper register, suggest they come from the west. The tributaries with animal-skin garments and high boots leading horses with tasseled breastplates and bridles decorated with rosettes in the lower register likely come from the mountainous lands to the north and east of Assyria. In antiquity, these elements of dress were further accentuated by colorful paint, of which only traces remain. Only the lower registers remained in place at the time of the OI excavations in 1929 (Photo 2); a selection of panels were granted to the OI during the division of finds (Photo 1, maroon outline) and were later restored and are displayed in the Assyrian galleries (Photo 3).

A7363, A7365, A7362: gypsum, paint (with modern restoration), Royal Palace, Dur-Sharrukin, Iraq, Neo-Assyrian period, reign of Sargon II (721–705 BC)

#ConnectingThroughDress #ConnectingCollections Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East Kelsey Museum of Archaeology The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Penn Museum Yale Babylonian Collection

The single and double flute, single and double clarinet, and oboe were among the wind instruments of ancient Egypt! This...
04/27/2021

The single and double flute, single and double clarinet, and oboe were among the wind instruments of ancient Egypt! This type of double clarinet pierced with five holes, first attested in Dynasty 5, is still in use in the Middle East today!

E10743: reed, bitumen, fiber, Egypt, New Kingdom, reign of Thutmose IV or later (1419–1410 BC or later)

The single and double flute, single and double clarinet, and oboe were among the wind instruments of ancient Egypt! This type of double clarinet pierced with five holes, first attested in Dynasty 5, is still in use in the Middle East today!

E10743: reed, bitumen, fiber, Egypt, New Kingdom, reign of Thutmose IV or later (1419–1410 BC or later)

Join us virtually tomorrow, April 27, at 5 p.m. (CST) for the rescheduled talk, “Antoin Sevruguin: “photographies artist...
04/26/2021

Join us virtually tomorrow, April 27, at 5 p.m. (CST) for the rescheduled talk, “Antoin Sevruguin: “photographies artistiques” of the Iranian past.” Delphine Poinsot, OI postdoctoral scholar, will discuss how Sevruguin's work is artistic, and not only documentary, and how this artistic dimension can be a vector of understanding and knowledge for the art historian of ancient Iran. Learn more and register here: https://oi-gallery-talk-april.eventbrite.com

Join us virtually tomorrow, April 27, at 5 p.m. (CST) for the rescheduled talk, “Antoin Sevruguin: “photographies artistiques” of the Iranian past.” Delphine Poinsot, OI postdoctoral scholar, will discuss how Sevruguin's work is artistic, and not only documentary, and how this artistic dimension can be a vector of understanding and knowledge for the art historian of ancient Iran. Learn more and register here: https://oi-gallery-talk-april.eventbrite.com

Put on your dancing shoes, because this week we are talking about music! Egyptian arched harps from the Old Kingdom Peri...
04/26/2021

Put on your dancing shoes, because this week we are talking about music! Egyptian arched harps from the Old Kingdom Period onward coexisted with a variety of harps of different shapes and sizes. Harps were played by both male and female musicians, who could be standing, kneeling, or seated. The open sound boxes, made of wood, gourd, or tortoise shell, were once covered with skin. Here, we see a seated male figure playing the harp!

E10543: baked clay (with modern restoration), Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasties 18–19 (1569–1201 BC)

Put on your dancing shoes, because this week we are talking about music! Egyptian arched harps from the Old Kingdom Period onward coexisted with a variety of harps of different shapes and sizes. Harps were played by both male and female musicians, who could be standing, kneeling, or seated. The open sound boxes, made of wood, gourd, or tortoise shell, were once covered with skin. Here, we see a seated male figure playing the harp!

E10543: baked clay (with modern restoration), Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasties 18–19 (1569–1201 BC)

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Community Fund during Giving Day! We received an outpouring of support from...
04/23/2021
Interview with Jill Carlotta Maher for the Oriental Institute Oral History Project

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Community Fund during Giving Day! We received an outpouring of support from longstanding and new partners, members, alumni, volunteers, and friends. While final results are still being calculated, we are excited to report that in just 24 hours the OI secured $82,786 in new funding from 145 contributors. To finish up our week of inspiration, we will be discussing Jill Carlotta Maher, who quite literally saved Chicago House. Carlotta served as assistant to the director of Chicago House in Luxor since 1985, and held that formal title until she passed away. Learn more about the amazing work Carlotta did for the OI by watching her Oral History Project interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNlH5_u3cvA

The OI is saddened by the recent loss of Jill Carlotta Maher. In 2018, Anne Flannery and Foy Scalf sat down with Carlotta to record this episode of the OI’s ...

04/22/2021
Bring the daily life of the distant past closer at the Oriental Institute: UChicago Giving Day 2021

#UChiGivingDay has been extended by 2 hours! Take a tour of the OI with Chief Curator and Deputy Director Jean M. Evans on our 6th annual Giving Day to see why the OI is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of ancient Middle Eastern civilizations! To support OI’s extensive and interactive online learning activities for curious learners around the world, make your gift to the OI Community Fund today: bit.ly/oigivingdaysocial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Mnse3LBT6c

04/21/2021
Giving Day, Theo van den Hout

It’s Giving Day! Today the OI and the entire University are celebrating Giving Day, a special 24-hour campus-wide fundraising appeal that brings together our global community of alumni, students, and friends to support our research and education programs and help us build a better tomorrow. Click here to learn more and support the OI Community Fund bit.ly/oigivingdaysocial!

Theo van den Hout is the interim director of the OI and the executive editor of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary Project (CHD). The CHD began in 1975 and is a comprehensive, bilingual Hittite-English dictionary. Published letter by letter, the CHD is a long-term project and the result of a painstaking process of cultural, historical, and lexical investigation for all those interested in Hittite culture and history. The CHD is the only such project in the English-speaking world.

The Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) at the OI studies the landscapes of the Middle East in order to...
04/20/2021

The Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) at the OI studies the landscapes of the Middle East in order to understand its people, their societies, and how our world continues to develop! One of the projects that CAMEL has undertaken is the Afghan Heritage Mapping Partnership, which draws on satellite imagery and other geospatial technologies to build a comprehensive geographic information systems (GIS) database of identifiable archaeological sites across Afghanistan. By doing so, we are able to map previously unknown archaeological heritage sites, analyze looting patterns, develop a plan for future heritage protection, and train a cohort of Afghan information technology specialists and heritage professionals in the use of GIS technology for cultural heritage management.

Learn more about their amazing work at bit.ly/oi-AHMP and save the date to support the OI’s continued efforts in cultural heritage preservation on April 21–22!

The Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) at the OI studies the landscapes of the Middle East in order to understand its people, their societies, and how our world continues to develop! One of the projects that CAMEL has undertaken is the Afghan Heritage Mapping Partnership, which draws on satellite imagery and other geospatial technologies to build a comprehensive geographic information systems (GIS) database of identifiable archaeological sites across Afghanistan. By doing so, we are able to map previously unknown archaeological heritage sites, analyze looting patterns, develop a plan for future heritage protection, and train a cohort of Afghan information technology specialists and heritage professionals in the use of GIS technology for cultural heritage management.

Learn more about their amazing work at bit.ly/oi-AHMP and save the date to support the OI’s continued efforts in cultural heritage preservation on April 21–22!

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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