New episodes of the Assyriology blogMore Letters from Mesopotamia
14 March 2023
Photo: C. Michel
In her blog 'Mesopotamian Bulletins', Cécile Michel reflects on the significance of Mesopotamian culture for the present and addresses the manifold dangers facing its preservation today. A new batch of English translations of selected entries is now available.
When Cécile Michel started her blog 'Mesopotamian Bulletins' in 2015, she and many of her colleagues were in deep concern: at that time, the so-called Islamic State controlled considerable areas in Syria and Iraq. Many of the region’s immense cultural treasures were threatened with destruction. Eight years later, although the IS has been pushed far back, the situation with regard to ancient cultural assets is still precarious. The trade in illegally acquired objects is flourishing, and it is often terrorist organisations that profit from it.
One of the major qualities of the ‘Mesopotamian Bulletins’ is that they frequently and vividly link historical backgrounds with reflections on the current social developments in the region where the written artefacts that she does research on have originated. In this way, her essays create the picture of a culture that we still have a lot to learn about, and learn from, and that this process is indeed far from finished. The topics covered range, for example, from recent excavations and the role of women in ancient societies to terminological considerations on manuscripts and inscriptions.
Since 2022, we have been publishing selected contributions from the French blog in English translation for the first time. Recently, another batch of 24 previously untranslated texts has been been made available. These contributions, together with all previous ones, can be found here.
Cécile Michel’s research at CSMC, where she leads two research projects on 'Reading Closed Cuneiform Tablets Using High-Resolution Computed Tomography' and on 'Archives and Literacy in 2nd Millenium Assyrian Manuscript Culture' as well as the Ethics Working Group, is also the subject of this video about the Cluster and this interview.