Cuneiform: The Oldest Form of Writing in the World

Irving Finkel

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With Irving Finkel of the British Museum, Richard Dumbrill and singer Sevan Habib

From mundane record keeping to fortune telling, Cuneiform script on tablets of clay reveals ancient Mesopotamian civilisation in a very human way: its history and economics, beliefs, ideas and superstitions.

Irving Finkel is Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian (i.e. Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian) script, languages and cultures at the British Museum. He is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection - some 130,000 pieces - of any modern museum. This work involves reading and translating all sorts of inscriptions, sometimes working on ancient archives to identify manuscripts that belong together, or even join to one another.

Dr Finkel will be joined by Richard Dumbrill, of Royal Holloway, University of London, a leading expert in the archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near and Middle East and translator of the oldest song ever written, found in northwest Syria. Together with singer Sevan Habib he gives an insight into the music of the region and its relation with cuneifom texts.


Name: Cuneiform: The Oldest Form of Writing in the World
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546