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

11/06/2020
David Schloen | In the Wake of the Phoenicians: Makers of the Mediterranean

Our most recent Members' Lecture, "In the Wake of the Phoenicians: Makers of the Mediterranean," by the OI's David Schloen is available to the public!⁠

From olive oil to the alphabet, the Phoenicians left a lasting mark on the Mediterranean. David Schloen guides us through exciting new research into this ancient civilization and anticipates future excavations of Phoenician colonies in coastal Spain.⁠

Watch it here: https://youtu.be/fofxL3WEhZc

Presented by David Schloen, OI From olive oil to the alphabet, the Phoenicians left a lasting mark on the Mediterranean. The OI's David Schloen guides us thr...

#TBT to excavations at Jarmo in the spring of 1948, during the Prehistoric Project (1947–1955). The Prehistoric Project ...
11/05/2020

#TBT to excavations at Jarmo in the spring of 1948, during the Prehistoric Project (1947–1955). The Prehistoric Project (1947–1955), directed by Robert and Linda Braidwood, investigated the origins of the domestication of plants and animals and the transition from hunting and gathering to settled life. Excavations at Jarmo, located in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains in northern Iraq, and other nearby sites yielded information on settlement, animal domestication, the cultivation of cereal grains, technology, and environment. Radiocarbon dates indicate that people were living at Jarmo over a span of two thousand years, from 7000–5000 BC.

Take a break from your day and relax with an OI video on Climate Change and the Origins of Agriculture in Western Asia, ...
11/04/2020
Arlene M. Rosen | Climate Change and the Origins of Agriculture in Western Asia

Take a break from your day and relax with an OI video on Climate Change and the Origins of Agriculture in Western Asia, presented by Arlene M. Rosen, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin!

In this video, Dr. Rosen explores the likelihood of cold/dry climate foraging being the direct cause of the origin of agriculture in western Asia. Watch it here: bit.ly/oi-climateagriculture

Presented by Arlene M. Rosen, Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin Cold/dry climati...

We recently received a request to take up the topic of the origins of agriculture. Your wish is our command! During the ...
11/03/2020

We recently received a request to take up the topic of the origins of agriculture. Your wish is our command! During the Ubaid period (6400–4000 BC), we see the rise of the first known villages in the region of the same name in southern Iraq—here, archaeologists uncovered evidence of irrigation farming and fishing; this sickle, for instance, would have been used for harvesting grain and cutting reeds!

A34587: baked clay, Iraq, Ubaid 3–4 period (5500–4000 BC)

10/31/2020

Something strange is going on at the OI!

Happy Halloween and #Caturday from the OI! Our November edition of the Cat of the Month calendar features this gracious ...
10/31/2020

Happy Halloween and #Caturday from the OI! Our November edition of the Cat of the Month calendar features this gracious feline—a bronze cat statuette. A seated cat such as this was a common representation of the goddess Bastet, who embodied notions of sexuality and fertility. This statuette was actually a sheath-like coffin for a mummified cat that would have been interred within the lower part of the figurine!

Sign up for our Cat of the Month calendar to receive this cat 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! bit.ly/oi-catofthemonth

E11390: bronze, Egypt, Late Period, Dynasties 25–31 (747–332 BC)

Join the OI for our annual Halloween celebration of all things mummy—Mummies Night—TOMORROW, October 31 from 4 to 7 p.m....
10/30/2020

Join the OI for our annual Halloween celebration of all things mummy—Mummies Night—TOMORROW, October 31 from 4 to 7 p.m. (CST)! Visit us virtually on Halloween for mummy tours, crafts, games, trivia, and more. Dress up in your costume and spend the evening with us, or stop by before or after trick-or-treating to take part in the mummy fun!

Register here: bit.ly/oi-mummiesnight

After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a t...
10/30/2020

After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time. #OI #KardashianWest

No this isn’t the eye of a vampire, instead, it is an eye stone that may contain protective qualities! Eye stones were c...
10/29/2020

No this isn’t the eye of a vampire, instead, it is an eye stone that may contain protective qualities! Eye stones were cut from layered onyx or sardonyx with a dark, projecting center encircled by a light frame.

A23289: sardonyx, Iran, Persepolis, Achaemenid period (550–330 BC)

Behind public-facing displays are boxes, drawers, and sometimes whole rooms devoted to object storage. Each institution ...
10/28/2020

Behind public-facing displays are boxes, drawers, and sometimes whole rooms devoted to object storage. Each institution has their own unique storage system, but there are a few common methods and materials for storing antiquities, like the small glass-topped boxes that appear in many of our partners’ posts. Curious to see where objects go to rest when they are not on view? Check out this month's #ConnectingCollections theme with #StorageStories

Behind the scenes at the OI, you’ll see that many of these small boxes with glass tops, dating back to the first half of the twentieth century, have been used to house cuneiform tablets as well as casts of cuneiform tablets. Some of our boxes have notations from much older projects, including for example the Babylonian Exploration Fund as show in the first ime. Over time, our storage and housing practices have improved with both tablets and casts being transferred out of these older boxes, which are acidifying and whose fragile glass tops can pose a risk to objects should they break, to more modern storage containers. The second image shows a group of casts in the Ol collection rehoused in plastic bags—the original cuneiform tablets from which these casts were made were excavated during the sixth season at Nippur, Iraq, and are now housed in the Iraq Museum and at two of our partner institutions, @pennmuseum and @yalebabyloniancollection! The last photo shows tablets from this same season of excavation at Nippur, here housed in a mix of older, newer, and the most current boxes used in storage.

#StorageStories #ConnectingCollections @HarvardMANE @kelseymuseum @metmuseum @pennmuseum @OrientalInstitute @yalebabyloniancollection

Starting November 2, 2020, join us for the highly requested 4-week virtual class "Nubian Queens!" Register here: bit.ly/...
10/27/2020

Starting November 2, 2020, join us for the highly requested 4-week virtual class "Nubian Queens!"

Register here: bit.ly/oi-NubianQueens

Nubian queens played a unique role among queens in the ancient world. They had powerful positions and were considered critical in determining the succession of the king, and sometimes became rulers in their own right. This class will look at the different queens known in Nubian history and archaeology, examining queens and the development of queenship in the Kush*te (744–656 BC in Egypt), Napatan (700–300 BC), and Meroitic periods (300 BC–400 AD).

This face was part of a human-shaped coffin that was likely made by a workshop with no particular purchaser in mind. Acc...
10/27/2020

This face was part of a human-shaped coffin that was likely made by a workshop with no particular purchaser in mind. According to ancient Egyptian belief, even though the face would have had no resemblance to the owner of the coffin, it represented their essence for eternity—looks can be deceiving! The peg in the forehead allowed it to be attached to the coffin lid.

E963: wood, paint, Egypt, Luxor, The Ramesseum, Late New Kingdom–Third Intermediate Period, Dynasties 19–21 (1315–931 BC)

Don’t judge a book by its cover! Although the objects we are featuring this week may look a bit spooky, they served impo...
10/26/2020

Don’t judge a book by its cover! Although the objects we are featuring this week may look a bit spooky, they served important and even beneficial functions in the ancient world. Sumerian statues, like this male head, served as representations of elite donors who sought access to the resident gods of temples. After they were gifted, statues moved around inside temples for different purposes—for instance, they were brought into courtyards during religious festivals and given offerings of dates and oils! While this figure’s empty eyes look quite spooky, in antiquity they would have been filled with eye inlays made of shell and stone.

A12426: Gypsum, bitumen, Iraq, Tutub, Sin Temple IX, Early Dynastic period (2600–2300 BC)

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is highlighting an article by one of our senior artists, Susan Osgood (@susanosgoodvt), “From...
10/25/2020

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is highlighting an article by one of our senior artists, Susan Osgood (@susanosgoodvt), “From Pencil to Photoshop: Creating a Hypothetical Version of Tomb KV 63’s Damaged Coffin C”

It covers the work done by Sue for the Amenmesse Project/KV 10⎼KV 63, then run by Dr. Otto Schaden† and his team in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings. They had found a number of beautiful, but damaged coffins (part of an embalmer’s cache; image 1) from around the time of king Tutankhamun. Sue drew the coffins in situ (image 2) and again after excavation and conservation. For one of the coffins (image 3), in addition to the in situ drawing (image 4), she drew a hypothetical reconstruction of this coffin in Photoshop (image 5)!

Click here for more: https://www.digital-epigraphy.com/projects/from-pencil-to-photoshop-creating-a-hypothetical-version-of-tomb-kv-63s-damaged-coffin-c

Happy #caturday! Sekhmet, usually depicted as a lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness, is the ancient Egyptian g...
10/24/2020

Happy #caturday! Sekhmet, usually depicted as a lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness, is the ancient Egyptian goddess of war—she also destroyed the enemies of the sun god Re!

Join our Cat of the Month calendar and receive a desktop, phone, and wall calendar as well as other special-cat related content on a monthly basis! Click here to fill out the form to receive our upcoming calendar: bit.ly/oi-catofthemonth

E11139: Sekhmet holding a papyrus stalk, faience, Egypt, Late Period, Dynasty 26

Join us for a special virtual Mummies Night on Halloween (Sat, Oct 31 from 4 p.m. to 7p.m. CST)!Put on your costume and ...
10/23/2020

Join us for a special virtual Mummies Night on Halloween (Sat, Oct 31 from 4 p.m. to 7p.m. CST)!

Put on your costume and join in all evening for a mummy celebration that can’t be missed!

We may not be able to get together in the OI galleries for our annual Halloween party, but that won’t stop our mummy madness! Help us virtually mummify our simulated mummy, take a mummy tour, or hear a mummy tale. Make mummy crafts, compete in our mummy trivia, and play a game many a mummy has taken to their own tomb—Senet. Dance to our spooky playlist and search for mummies with our scavenger hunt!

Suggested donation of $5 per device.

Recommended for children ages 4 and up, accompanied by an adult.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mummies-night-tickets-117660781565

Upcoming publication alert: Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present!Explore the changing world of late nineteenth-century Ira...
10/22/2020

Upcoming publication alert: Antoin Sevruguin: Past and Present!

Explore the changing world of late nineteenth-century Iran through the gaze of one of its most renowned photographers, Antoin Sevruguin. This volume, which will be accompanied by a forthcoming exhibition, publishes for the first time the Oriental Institute Museum’s complete collection of nineteenth-century Iranian photographs, most of which were created by Sevruguin. Sevruguin’s artfully staged photographs still resonate with us today. Accompanying the print catalog is a series of essays that investigate Sevruguin’s life and photographic career, including the lasting impact of his unique vision, as demonstrated by the work of contemporary artist Yassaman Ameri.

Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned curse (probably the person who is getting cursed)? Inscribed on this tablet is a p...
10/21/2020

Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned curse (probably the person who is getting cursed)? Inscribed on this tablet is a portion of The Curse of Agade, a Mesopotamian story that dates to the Ur III period (2112–2004 BC). The tale is about the Akkadian king Naram-Sin (who reigned 2261–2224 BC) and his conflict with the gods, especially Enlil. It started when Enlil banned the gods from blessing the city of Akkad. Naram-Sin tries to figure out what caused this indignation, but gave up and had his armies attack and destroy Ekur, the temple of Enlil, in the city of Nippur; this provokes the wrath of Enlil and the other gods, who send the Gutians to ravage Akkad—leading to the end of the city of Akkad and the Akkadian Empire.

A30204: clay, Iraq, Nippur, Akkadian period (2334–2154 BC)

Apophis is the ancient Egyptian serpent demon of chaos; his wrath was set upon the sun god, Ra, and the deceased! Apophi...
10/20/2020

Apophis is the ancient Egyptian serpent demon of chaos; his wrath was set upon the sun god, Ra, and the deceased! Apophis’s goal was to destroy Ra and return order to chaos, associating him with earthquakes, thunder, darkness, storms, and death.

In contrast to this figurine of Renenutet, Apophis is usually depicted as dismembered, being cut into pieces, or under attack. However, we do see representations of Apophis as a coiled serpent.

E14381: limestone, Egypt, Medinet Habu, Late Period (724–333 BC)

Join #OI Museum curator, Kiersten Neumann on Wed, October 21 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (CST) for the virtual gallery t...
10/19/2020

Join #OI Museum curator, Kiersten Neumann on Wed, October 21 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (CST) for the virtual gallery talk: A Century of Discovery: The Oriental Institute Museum.

We will look at the OI's past 100 years of excavation and archaeological projects carried out across the Middle East, followed by an overview of the collections, galleries, and highlight objects on display in the Museum!

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-century-of-discovery-the-oriental-institute-museum-online-gallery-talk-tickets-124144881683

It is probably safe to say it wasn't a good idea to upset the gods or a vengeful person in ancient times—we will be seei...
10/19/2020

It is probably safe to say it wasn't a good idea to upset the gods or a vengeful person in ancient times—we will be seeing why as we take a look at wraths and curses this week! But, first, we offer a bit of protection with a group of amulets that were discarded in a well in an Assyrian temple and later excavated by OI archaeologists. A cache with exact parallels to these amulets—including hand, heart, phallus, and altar-shaped pieces—was unearthed at Pompeii in 2019 and attributed by some media outlets to “a Roman sorceress!”

A11652, 11661–5: faience, shell, and ivory, Iraq, Dur-Sharrukin, Nabu Temple, Roman period (1st–3rd centuries AD)

Here, kitty kitty. This painting, by Nina M. Davies, depicts a relief carving of a lion from the mortuary temple of Quee...
10/17/2020

Here, kitty kitty. This painting, by Nina M. Davies, depicts a relief carving of a lion from the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut (1502–1482 BC) at Deir el-Bahri in Western Thebes, Egypt. #Caturday

We are finishing off our week of looking at tombs with the pyramid of Tarekeniwal in the ancient Nubian city of Meroë, w...
10/16/2020

We are finishing off our week of looking at tombs with the pyramid of Tarekeniwal in the ancient Nubian city of Meroë, which is located on the east bank of the Nile in Sudan! Here, we have a view of the chapel and pyramid from the southeast side. Tarekeniwal was the Kush*te king of Meroë, most likely ruling the Meroitic empire during the 2nd century AD.

Taken from an altitude of 1,220 meters, this photograph of the tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae, Iran, was captured...
10/15/2020

Taken from an altitude of 1,220 meters, this photograph of the tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae, Iran, was captured on May 9, 1936, by the OI’s Aerial Survey Expedition! The second image shows a closer view of the monument, which resembles a ziggurat (a rectangular stepped tower) with a temple-like structure on top that contains the tomb chamber itself. #TBT

Download this week’s workbook to make your very own mini pyramid and color a tomb relief: http://bit.ly/oi-tombbook

Tonight (October 14, 2020), "Truth or Consequences: The Issues With Displaying Things from the Holy Land!" Join us at 7 ...
10/14/2020

Tonight (October 14, 2020), "Truth or Consequences: The Issues With Displaying Things from the Holy Land!" Join us at 7 p.m. (CST) on the OI YouTube channel as Morag Kersel explores the consequences created by the desire to own, interpret, and display material remains from the Holy Land. This lecture will remain up after the premiere. Subscribe to the OI YouTube channel for first notice on all of our lectures and videos.

https://youtu.be/WwWWQqT6OwQ

About 4.8 kilometers northwest of Persepolis in Iran lies the imposing site of Naqsh-i-Rustam in the mountain range of H...
10/13/2020

About 4.8 kilometers northwest of Persepolis in Iran lies the imposing site of Naqsh-i-Rustam in the mountain range of Husain Kuh, where Darius the Great and his successors had their monumental tombs carved into the cliff. Although Naqsh-i-Rustam had long been a sacred area (as the remains of a Pre-Achaemenid relief show), Darius the Great was the first to choose it as a burial place. His successors not only imitated his idea of a cliff tomb but also copied the layout of the tomb itself... ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’

Learn more about the royal tombs here: bit.ly/oi-royaltombs

In continuation of spooky October, we are looking at archival photographs of tombs! The tomb of Nefersekheru, a steward ...
10/12/2020

In continuation of spooky October, we are looking at archival photographs of tombs! The tomb of Nefersekheru, a steward of Amenhotep III’s palace at Malqata during the late 18th Dynasty, was never completed and only a small section of the reliefs on the tomb’s façade were carved before the monument was abandoned. The few completed scenes, however, exhibit some of the finest relief carving ever executed in ancient Egypt, comparable to that of Kheruef’s tomb— a senior courtier of the reign of Amenhotep III, whose beautiful reliefs, carved in limestone, exemplify the high standard of artistic achievement that characterized the late 18th Dynasty—and of the well-known tomb of Ramose. However, these reliefs are in poor condition, so the Epigraphy Survey began a program of photography and facsimile drawing in the tomb in 2010!

For more information on the Epigraphic Survey's work, click here: https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/epi/chicago-house-projects

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY  is back and highlighting a report on the upcoming release of @Adobe Illustrator for the iPad...
10/11/2020

This week digitalEPIGRAPHY is back and highlighting a report on the upcoming release of @Adobe Illustrator for the iPad and a useful review of this year’s updates to mobile Photoshop and Fresco!

One of the cool additions to Photoshop was the Object Select tool, which allows one to choose a section on a canvas and have the program automatically find and highlight the entire object (image 1).

Fresco had a variety of features updated, but one of the most useful (and my personal favorite, because as an epigrapher drawing straight lines is my jam) is the addition of a ruler/straightedge (image 2).

One of the elements that we are looking forward to with the new Illustrator is the (hopefully) intuitive way that we will be able to manage anchors and paths—more on that when the program is released on Oct. 21!

https://www.digital-epigraphy.com/news/illustrator-for-ipad-is-available-for-preorder-a-retrospective-on-adobes-recent-photoshop-and-fresco-updates

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.

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