Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik

Zentralinstitut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Cultural Techniques: Instruments of Order. Investigations of the Written Records of the Ancient Near East

Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum

The records of the ancient Near East document in immensely diverse forms, developments and functions and over several millennia the cultural techniques from which phenomena such as »the image«, »script« and »number« are constituted. The success of these »media« in cultural history is based in no small part on their great capacity for ordering and their almost limitless compatibility. Taking three case studies of the cuneiform records from the ancient Near East, we will examine in depth the productive interdependence of these cultural techniques in different historical contexts. The three thematic groupings give an impression of the breadth of material from the ancient Near East. At the same time, they do justice to the diverse opportunities for access made possible by the project’s integration in the »Image-Script-Number« (BSZ) research group in the Helmholtz Centre. Our investigation of archaeological findings and discoveries from the ancient Near East – the majority of which is still in the initial process of being catalogued* and is hence difficult to access – will benefit from the research questions and theses developed in an interdisciplinary exchange. As historical examples of success, error and aporia, tradition, innovation and development in the fields of counting, illustrating, writing and measuring, they will expand the material foundation for work in the BSZ research group.