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

Meroitic potters created works of unique design, often combining and modifying traditional patterns seen on painted cera...
12/11/2020

Meroitic potters created works of unique design, often combining and modifying traditional patterns seen on painted ceramics from both New Kingdom Egypt and Hellenistic Greece. One decorative theme involved showing lively depictions of animals native to Africa, such as this jar painted with seated frogs.

E22658: clay, Egypt, Ballana, Cemetery B, Tomb 208, Meroitic period, Phase IVA (AD 250–270)

In the early 1930s, OI archaeologists excavated net sinkers in one of the rooms of House D in Tutub (modern Tell Khafaja...
12/10/2020

In the early 1930s, OI archaeologists excavated net sinkers in one of the rooms of House D in Tutub (modern Tell Khafajah), an ancient city in the Diyala Valley of present-day Iraq. Some examples still contain preserved remains of the net to which they had originally been attached. These net sinkers date to the Early Dynastic Period (2600–2300 BC); fishing hooks dated to the same period were also found at nearby sites. #TBT

In December, #ConnectingCollections is looking at casts of well-known ancient objects like the Rosetta Stone, statues of...
12/09/2020

In December, #ConnectingCollections is looking at casts of well-known ancient objects like the Rosetta Stone, statues of Gudea, Hammurabi's stele, and Shalmaneser III's Black Obelisk. In the 19th and early 20th centuries many institutions acquired plaster casts and replicas of original artifacts—from small cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals to monumental relief panels—for both study and display, resulting in examples of a single object now spread across the world. Follow us all month to see how our museums connect through casts!

Today we’re highlighting three additional groups of casts that have been part of the OI collection over the years—the Black Obelisk of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III, the Law Code of Hammurabi, and Assyrians reliefs from the Northwest Palace of King Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. Archival images of the Haskell Oriental Museum, which opened in 1896 on the University of Chicago campus, show the Black Obelisk and Assyrian reliefs on display; these were purchased in 1893 from the British Museum—whose collection includes the original artifacts, excavated by a British team under the direction of Austin Henry Layard at Nimrud in the mid-nineteenth century—and acquired by the Department of Semitic Languages and Literature in Chicago in 1896 for study and display, along with the Rosetta Stone, which we featured in our first #ConnectingThroughCasts post on November 25th. In 1931 all of these replicas from Haskell made their way to the new OI Museum and were displayed in the then Assyro-Babylonian Hall, as shown in the second image. Also included in this image is the third cast we’re featuring today—the Law Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon. This replica, made from the original stela excavated in 1901–02 by French archaeologists at Susa, in Iran, and now displayed in the Musée du Louvre, was purchased in Paris by the OI in 1931. The stela is now displayed in the Edgar and Deborah Jannotta Mesopotamian Gallery, while the Black Obelisk stands in the Dr. Norman Solhkhah Family Assyrian Empire Gallery.


#ConnectingThroughCasts #ConnectingCollections #Assyria #Babylonia #Iraq #Casts #Replicas Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Penn Museum Yale Babylonian Collection

It is cool to see that a love of plants and gardens was as prevalent in the ancient world as it is now. For instance, th...
12/08/2020

It is cool to see that a love of plants and gardens was as prevalent in the ancient world as it is now. For instance, this administrative tablet, excavated by OI archaeologists at Eshnunna (Tell Asmar) in the Diyala Valley of central Mesopotamia, includes a list of various types of trees brought to this ancient city.

A7861: clay, Iraq, Old Akkadian period (2340–2200 BC)

One of the OI’s biggest stories of 2020 has just been chosen as one of Archeology Magazines top 10 discoveries! A stone ...
12/08/2020
Top 10 Discoveries of 2020 - Archaeology Magazine

One of the OI’s biggest stories of 2020 has just been chosen as one of Archeology Magazines top 10 discoveries! A stone stela recording the military achievements of King Hartapu, discovered by the OI’s Michele Massa and James Osborne, sheds new light on this Iron Age king and points to the location of his capital, a previously unknown major Bronze and Iron Age city in central Turkey.

Click here to read more about this and the year’s other top archaeological discoveries: https://www.archaeology.org/issues/406-2101/features/9263-top-10-discoveries-of-2020

Read about James's and Michele's archaeological projects, with these 2 links:
www.krasp.net
https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/TISP

ARCHAEOLOGY magazine reveals the year’s most exciting finds

Join us this week as we take a look at the natural world, starting with hunting. Throwsticks, such as this, were largely...
12/07/2020

Join us this week as we take a look at the natural world, starting with hunting. Throwsticks, such as this, were largely used to hunt waterfowl. It has been suggested that fowling with this type of weapon was a leisure activity of elite men so they could demonstrate their ability to strike such a fast-moving target. The use of these sticks would have also constituted a good training exercise for members of the military, allowing them to develop their dexterity and reflexes. However, the Egyptian elite are not the only people depicted using throwsticks, hunters have been represented on predynastic palettes and in tombs.

E370: wood, Egypt, Dynasties 17–18 (c. 1574–1400 BC)

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is looking back at a three-part article by our senior digital artist (and the indefatigable f...
12/06/2020

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is looking back at a three-part article by our senior digital artist (and the indefatigable force behind the website), Krisztián Vértes: Creating the composite drawing of the Bark Sanctuary’s western outer wall in the Small Amun Temple at Medinet Habu.

This early project, recording a particularly complicated part of the Medinet Habu Bark Shrine, required the creation of a comprehensive digital drawing, including a number of 3D architectural features and many layers of reworking in antiquity. No small task! There are lots of useful tips, including on creating an original base photograph, on methods for recording multiple (overlapping) layers of paint, on blending a traditional ink drawing with a digital one, and many more!

Read more here: https://www.digital-epigraphy.com/projects/creating-the-composite-drawing-of-the-bark-sanctuarys-western-outer-wall-in-the-small-amun-temple-at-medinet-habu-part-1

More than 30 years after the letter from Thomas Logan to J.F. Borghout was sent (refer to yesterday’s post), the torso a...
12/05/2020

More than 30 years after the letter from Thomas Logan to J.F. Borghout was sent (refer to yesterday’s post), the torso at Rijksmuseum van Oudheden and the king's head that shows Rameses VI wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt at the OI can be said to belong together: the fractures of the torso and the head fit exactly, the torso and head are made in the same proportions and a text in hieroglyphs, praising the king, continues from the back of the head to the back of the torso.

The statue must have been about 1.80 meters (5.9 feet) high in total. It probably once stood in a temple dedicated to the god Amun in Thebes. At one point it was smashed into pieces, after which the head, torso, and legs were separated.

E13946: granite, Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty 20, reign of Rameses VI (1144–1137 BC); Leiden F 1941/12.1

A long-distance puzzle:In 1987, OI curator, Thomas Logan, sent a letter to the recently deceased Egyptologist J.F. Borgh...
12/04/2020

A long-distance puzzle:

In 1987, OI curator, Thomas Logan, sent a letter to the recently deceased Egyptologist J.F. Borghouts (Leiden University, the Netherlands) suggesting that a head of Pharaoh Ramses VI (1144-1137 BC) from the OI collection matched with a torso in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. The letter was recently re-discovered. Lara Weiss (curator of the Egypt collection, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) and Rob Demarée (Leiden University) started to investigate the pairing and contacted the OI Museum. Tune in tomorrow to learn more about the discovery and head from the OI's collection.

OIM E13946 and Leiden F 1941/12.1

There’s nothing worse than forgetting to buy a wedding present. This cuneiform tablet, excavated by OI archaeologists at...
12/04/2020

There’s nothing worse than forgetting to buy a wedding present. This cuneiform tablet, excavated by OI archaeologists at Tell Fakhariyah, is inscribed with a contract that tells of two brothers who owe a third brother grain in lieu of providing him with funds for a marriage gift.

A34155: clay, Syria, Tell Fakhariyah, Middle Assyrian period (1350–1056 BC)

Recorded on the east face of the south tower at the Temple of Amun in Karnak, Egypt is an inscription describing all of ...
12/03/2020

Recorded on the east face of the south tower at the Temple of Amun in Karnak, Egypt is an inscription describing all of the gifts the pharaoh Amenhotep III gave to the god Amun—it is shown in this photo, which was taken in the late 1920s–early 1930s! #TBT

Reliefs from Corridor 10 of the Assyrian king Sargon II’s palace show tribute bearers bringing gifts to the king, includ...
12/02/2020

Reliefs from Corridor 10 of the Assyrian king Sargon II’s palace show tribute bearers bringing gifts to the king, including bowls, city models, and, as shown here on the left, horses with elaborate breastplates and bridles. These tributaries, dressed in animal-skin garments and high boots, likely came from the mountainous lands to the north and east of Assyria.

A7363, A7365, A7362 (left to right): Gypsum, Iraq, Dur-Sharrukin, Royal Palace, Corridor 10, Neo-Assyrian period, reign of Sargon II (721–705 BC)

Thank you for all the gifts we continue to receive today! Your support means a lot to us and we are grateful for your co...
12/01/2020

Thank you for all the gifts we continue to receive today! Your support means a lot to us and we are grateful for your continuing interest in our work. As an expression of our appreciation, we are offering an annual individual membership for all new gifts of $25 or more and a family membership for all new gifts of $50 or more to anyone who contributes on December 1. Click the link to make your secured gift online: https://crowdfunding.uchicago.edu/campaigns/the-oi-community-engagement-fund

#givingtuesday #uchicagotogether

12/01/2020

It’s Giving Tuesday—the global day of giving! Every gift we receive today will help us to advance our online programming and ensure the majority of it stays free-of-charge to any of you “sheltering in place” during the pandemic. Your gift of ANY amount will help us reach our ambitious goal of 101 donations and continue our mission of sharing the insights and wonders of the OI!

Thank you for staying involved with us during this challenging year! As an expression of our appreciation, we will be offering an annual individual membership for all new gifts of $25 or more and a family membership for all new gifts of $50 or more to anyone who contributes on December 1. Click the link to make your gift of ANY amount: https://crowdfunding.uchicago.edu/campaigns/the-oi-community-engagement-fund.

#givingtuesday #uchicagotogether

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVfART49_zc&feature=youtu.be

It is the season of giving, so we are taking a look at gifting practices! Sacred gifts, dedicated to the gods by elite d...
11/30/2020

It is the season of giving, so we are taking a look at gifting practices! Sacred gifts, dedicated to the gods by elite donors, have been excavated in large quantities from Mesopotamian temples. This mace head, excavated by OI archaeologists in the 1950s, was gifted to the goddess Ishtar (Sumerian Inanna) by the ruler Naram-Sin of Akkad.

Tomorrow, on December 1, the OI community will come TOGETHER to celebrate the global day of giving—Giving Tuesday and we hope you will join us!

A30975: stone, Iraq, Nippur, Inanna Temple, Akkadian period, reign of Naram-Sin (2254–2218 BC)

We are starting this lovely #Caturday morning with a large yawn! These open-mouthed felines are from a column base at Te...
11/28/2020

We are starting this lovely #Caturday morning with a large yawn! These open-mouthed felines are from a column base at Tell Tayinat in Turkey. This photograph also happens to be featured in our December edition of the Cat of the Month calendar!

Sign up for our Cat of the Month calendar to receive this photo in calendar form! By signing up, you receive a monthly email with a desktop and phone background, a printable wall calendar, and other special cat-related goodies: https://bit.ly/oi-catofthemonth

These ceramics were excavated in the Valley of the Kings in 1907—packed inside about a dozen large jars—about 350 feet f...
11/27/2020

These ceramics were excavated in the Valley of the Kings in 1907—packed inside about a dozen large jars—about 350 feet from where Tutankhamun’s tomb was later discovered in 1922. The quantity of materials suggests that about eight people attended the funerary banquet of the pharaoh; when over, the dishes and leftovers (animal meat and bones) were gathered and deposited in the jars.

E26528, E26525, E26610, E26500, E26509, E26585, E26586: baked clay, Egypt, Luxor, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun (1346 BC)

From December 12, 1926 to February 13, 1927, Caroline Ransom Williams visited Chicago House. Caroline was the first Amer...
11/26/2020

From December 12, 1926 to February 13, 1927, Caroline Ransom Williams visited Chicago House. Caroline was the first American woman to be trained as a professional Egyptologist! Here, we see a dinner gathering during her visit in December. #TBT

In December, #ConnectingCollections is looking at casts of well-known ancient objects like the Rosetta Stone, statues of...
11/25/2020

In December, #ConnectingCollections is looking at casts of well-known ancient objects like the Rosetta Stone, statues of Gudea, Hammurabi's stele, and Shalmaneser III's Black Obelisk. In the 19th and early 20th centuries many institutions acquired plaster casts and replicas of original artifacts—from small cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals to monumental relief panels—for both study and display, resulting in examples of a single object now spread across the world. Follow us all month to see how our museums connect through casts!

In 1799, the Rosetta Stone—crucial to the decipherment of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs—was discovered in Egypt by French soldiers, and in 1822, Jean-François Champollion, who is credited with breaking the hieroglyphic code, published his findings. Cast from the original in the British Museum and purchased in 1893, the plaster replica of the Rosetta Stone pictured here was among the first objects acquired into the collection of the University of Chicago’s Department of Semitic Languages and Literature, to be used to supplement teaching. While initially stored in the basement of Walker Hall, the collection moved to the new Haskell Oriental Museum in 1896, then in 1931 to the new Oriental Institute Museum. The cast, which has the museum registration number “C1” (the prefix “C” denoting “cast”), is still displayed today in the OI Museum's Egyptian Gallery.

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

11/24/2020

Next Tuesday, the OI community will come TOGETHER to celebrate the global day of giving—Giving Tuesday! This year we will be raising funds for our public engagement and outreach programs, which support extensive and interactive learning activities for children, families, students, and adult audiences everywhere around the world. We set the ambitious goal of 101 donations and we hope you will help us reach it!

As we are entering the winter months, the desire to partake in eating and drinking may increase. This desire inspired us...
11/23/2020

As we are entering the winter months, the desire to partake in eating and drinking may increase. This desire inspired us to take a look at elements of feasting! The imagery on this Mesopotamia seal shows banqueters drinking through straws from a large jar. By using straws, the drinkers could reach the beer below the grain and chaff that was floating in the jar!

A11464: stone, Iraq, Tutub, Early Dynastic period (2600–2300 BC)

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is showcasing a new article by Dominique Navarro, one of our artists at the Epigraphic Survey...
11/22/2020

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is showcasing a new article by Dominique Navarro, one of our artists at the Epigraphic Survey: Star Gazing: Digitally Drawing the Bark Shrine Ceiling of the Small Amun Temple
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Navarro discusses drawing the painted and carved decoration on the gorgeous ceiling of the Bark Shrine in the Small Amun Temple in the Medinet Habu Temple complex. This is a really complicated area to work on (and photograph, so there is also a section on the photogrammetry by Owen Murrey) and Navarro spent most of her time on scaffolding staring up at the ceiling, and using some pretty cool tricks to find the stars hidden in the damaged carving!

Click here for more: https://www.digital-epigraphy.com/projects/star-gazing-digitally-drawing-the-bark-shrine-ceiling-of-the-small-amun-temple

Good morning, and happy #Caturday! Check out this purrfect bracteate in the shape of a lion's head. A28587C: gold, Iran,...
11/21/2020

Good morning, and happy #Caturday! Check out this purrfect bracteate in the shape of a lion's head.

A28587C: gold, Iran, Achaemenid period (550–330 BC)

This week we’ve looked at some of the ways textiles were manufactured in antiquity. Today, we get to explore a finished ...
11/20/2020

This week we’ve looked at some of the ways textiles were manufactured in antiquity. Today, we get to explore a finished product! This colorful piece contains two joined designs and was detached from a larger item, perhaps a curtain or tunic. In textiles such as this, the main dyes used are natural dyes, including madder, kermes, and indigo; these raw materials were grown in various locations and were shipped around the Islamic world. The art of textile dying seems to have been a specialized trade, where the dyers were engaged in either rare dyes or rare materials.

E17010: linen and wool, Egypt, Early Byzantine–Umayyad period (AD 500–600)

Taken by the Iranian-Armenian photographer Antoin Sevruguin in the 19th century, this photo shows young ladies in an Ira...
11/19/2020

Taken by the Iranian-Armenian photographer Antoin Sevruguin in the 19th century, this photo shows young ladies in an Iranian village weaving a carpet! #TBT

Economic texts identify Babylonian textiles as a luxury commodity that was exported to Mari, Syria, and Kanesh, Turkey! ...
11/18/2020

Economic texts identify Babylonian textiles as a luxury commodity that was exported to Mari, Syria, and Kanesh, Turkey! Texts from Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar) in central Mesopotamia mention institutions in which women and orphaned children worked in textile production centers. While few ancient textiles are preserved, impressions and tools, such as loom weights, survive. Loom weights, such as this example, were used to keep threads pulled tight when weaving fabrics!

A252: stone, Iraq, Adab, Mound III, Early Dynastic period (2600–2300 BC)

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 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 20:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(773) 702-9520

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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.