Cuneiform Studies

Cuneiform Studies

Cuneiform Studies offers programs in three subfields: Assyriology, Hittitology, and Sumerology. All three programs require an advanced knowledge of the major language, and the relevant history and archaeology. In addition, Assyriology requires competence in Sumerian; Hittitology requires competence in Akkadian as well as in the smaller Anatolian languages; and Sumerology requires a thorough background in Akkadian.

Students in the Cuneiform fields take a qualifying exam that is to be held at the latest by the end of the autumn quarter of their fourth year.  This exam can be oral, written or a combination of the two, to be determined by the faculty.  The topic of the exam will be tailored towards the interests and needs of the individual student with an eye to the dissertation topic while also strengthening skills requiring improvement

Assyriology and Sumerology

Under ordinary circumstances, the following courses are required in Years 1 through 3 of the Assyriology and Sumerology program: Twenty-seven courses, including at least fifteen courses in Akkadian and Sumerian (with a minimum of five courses in Sumerian), and at least three approved survey courses in the history, archaeology and cultures of the Ancient Near East, covering at least three different geographic areas (one of which being Mesopotamia). The nine remaining courses are electives that are to be chosen from either the same areas, allied fields of ancient Near Eastern studies, or other areas as appropriate.  The choice of electives should shape a broad and well-conceived plan of study that balances language study (either additional courses in Sumerian, Akkadian, or other languages) with appropriate course offerings in Mesopotamian history, archaeology, and art history. In all cases, the plan of study must be approved by the Student's Faculty Adviser.

Hittite and Anatolian Languages, History and Culture

The program for Hittite and Anatolian Languages, History, and Culture is primarily aimed at philological training including basics in Akkadian and Sumerian. To guarantee a well-rounded training a historical and an archaeological component are included.

Within a regular program not all Anatolian languages (other than Hittite) can be taught since they rotate through more than 4 years. These languages not only include the Indo-European Anatolian Languages Palaic, Cuneiform Luwian, Hieroglyphic Luwian, Lydian, Lycian, Carian, Pisidic and Sidetic but also Hurrian. Apart from Hieroglyphic Luwian covering two quarters (First and Second millennium texts in that order) classes in these languages take one quarter each (Lydian, Lycian, Hurrian) or are combined in one (Palaic and Cuneiform Luwian, and Carian, Pisidic and Sidetic). This means that the students are strongly urged to study some of these by themselves.

In Years 1 and 2 the following 18 courses are required:

  • 3 Elementary Hittite
  • 3 Advanced Readings in Hittite
  • 1 First-Millennium Hieroglyphic Luwian
  • 1 other Anatolian language
  • 3 Survey Courses in the history, archaeology and cultures of the Ancient Near East, covering at least three different geographical areas (one of which being Anatolia)
  • 2 Anatolian Archaeology or Art
  • 3 Elementary Akkadian
  • 2 Elementary Sumerian

In Year 3 the following 9 courses are required as a minimum:

  • 5 Advanced Readings in Hittite
  • 1 Second Millennium Hieroglyphic Luwian
  • 3 other Anatolian languages.

Changes in the above program are possible in order to accommodate individual interests (e.g. more Sumerian for somebody who wants to focus on cultural influence, scribal education and transmission of knowledge from Mesopotamia; more Akkadian in the form of Old Assyrian to study the earliest period of Anatolian history, or peripheral Akkadian for the relations with Hittite satellites like Alalakh, Emar or Ugarit, or an Egyptian component to study Egyptian-Hittite relations). In all cases, the plan of study must be approved by the Student's Faculty Adviser.

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