About the project

Museum visitors and their online counterparts are often just as curious to explore how an artefact made its way into the museum case or web database as they are to learn about its original uses and meanings in the past. Similarly, historians of science are increasingly interested in the processes by which objects in the natural world become scientific specimens.

Monumental winged bulls TT  typically protected the entrances to Assyrian palaces. This one, at the main entrance to king Assurnasirpal II's PGP  palace in Kalhu (c. 885 BC) wears a fish-skin cloak, symbolising the importance of scholarship and wisdom in the functioning of the court and state. Photo: Eleanor Robson (2001). View large version of image.

In this project we tackle these two sets of questions together, by tracing the biographies of cuneiform TT  tablets TT  and other inscribed artefacts from their manufacture and use in the ancient Assyrian city of Kalhu, to their excavation at modern Nimrud and current locations in museum collections, plus their virtual representations on the web.

We welcome re-use of the contents of the website subject to our licensing conditions.

Our technical focus is on the development of Linked Open Data TT , especially for handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers, to encourage meaningful connectivity between previously isolated resources and to bridge the gap between the museum case and the online world.

In this way we aim to develop academics', curators' and museum-users' understanding of the processes by which the ancient past is understood and reconstructed by academic research, and thus to enrich public engagement with one of the most influential and yet largely forgotten civilizations of antiquity.


The project team organised a number of public events in 2013-14, including museum gallery talks and family activities. Several events were live-tweeted with the hashtag #nimrud enabling people to join in from afar. The event summaries linked to below include archived live-tweets where available.

We have also produced re-useable resources for Assyrian-themed events, including downloadable images of kings and genies TT .

In addition to public events, the project also organised a day workshop for UK museum professionals, showcasing mobile-friendly resources for interpreting cuneiform collections:

Project team members also presented findings at academic conferences and workshops:

Project staff, funders and partners

The research project "Materialities of Assyrian Knowledge Production: Object Biographies of Inscribed Artefacts from Nimrud for Museums and Mobiles" was funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AH/K003089/1). It was based at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), University of Cambridge, UCL, the British Museum's Department of the Middle East, and the Babylonian Section of Penn Museum [http://penn.museum/].

The project team comprises:

The Nimrud Inscribed Objects Database was created by Christopher Walker and a group of volunteers at the British Museum. We are very grateful for Christopher's generous permission to host the database.

Official project partners were The British Institute for the Study of Iraq and The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (with particular thanks to Dr Paul Collins, Assistant Keeper for Ancient Near East). We also collaborated closely with the following museums:

Timing, development and feedback

Phase 1 of project ran from January 2013 to March 2014; phase 2 was released at the end of 2015. Feedback is always welcome: please email us at nimrud at oracc dot org.

Content last modified: 18 Dec 2019.
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The Nimrud Project at Oracc.org / Content released under a CC BY-SA 3.0 licence, 2013-14
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