About the project

The Ashurbanipal Library Project recreates digitally the cuneiform tablet library of Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria (668 – c. 630 BC). Since its discovery in the nineteenth century, the Library has been the most popular and most informative of all Assyriological resources. It is the foundation on which Assyriology has been built.

We are documenting the Library as fully as possible in texts and images: sign-transliterations, translations, hand-drawn copies, a complete set of new, high-quality digital images and a library of older photographs produced since 1850's. The catalogue is being updated and improved.

Our work is designed to stimulate interest and facilitate teaching and research on the texts. We are undertaking our own research, looking afresh at the contents and significance of Assurbanipal's Library now 160 years after its discovery. We aim to understand the composition and functioning of the Library.

The British Museum was founded in 1753 to make its collections freely available to the "studious and curious". In 1852 Lord Ross, Chairman of the Trustees, declared:

I feel very anxious that some attempt should be made to Photograph the inscriptions so as to place them conveniently within the reach of persons that have a taste for that line of research ... and it seems to me to be a reproach to the Trustees ... that the aids of modern Science should not have been called for sooner.

Only in the last few years, at the turn of the 21st century, with the ready availability of digital photography, cheap data storage, the internet and widespread broadband access, has it become feasible to make that dream a reality. Now for the first time the entire Library is available in new high-quality images.

Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor, 'About the project', Ashurbanipal Library Project, The Ashurbanipal Library Project, Department of the Middle East, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, 2019 [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/asbp/about/]

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Released under a Creative Commons BY-SA license, 2013.