Monday, December 19, 2011

News: The Breasted Biography on the Radio

The Oriental Institute & James Henry Breasted

Learn about this world-renowned acheological institute & the man who founded it w/ Gil Stein, McGuire Gibson & Jeffrey Abt, author of "American Egyptologist."
See  Jeffrey Abt's new biography of James Henry Breasted
See the chronicle of news about the Oriental Institute.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jeffrey Abt's new biography of James Henry Breasted

Jeffrey Abt's new biography of James Henry Breasted has appeared from the University of Chicago Press.

Read the press release from UChicagoNews

Scholar, former UChicago staff member Jeffrey Abt completes book on O.I. founder

Abt to speak about America's first Egyptologist on Dec. 14

William Harms
Archaeologist James Henry Breasted was so well known during his lifetime that he landed on the cover of Time. When he died in 1935, the last half hour of his memorial service in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel was broadcast nationally on radio.          
Yet Breasted, who founded the Oriental Institute in 1919 and was instrumental in promoting understanding of the ancient Middle East for scholars and the public alike, has never been the subject of a comprehensive biography, said Jeffrey Abt, author of the new book, American Egyptologist: The Life of James Henry Breasted and the Creation of His Oriental Institute. The University of Chicago Press published the book earlier this month.
“The only other biography of Breasted is Pioneer to the Past, by his son Charles,” Abt said. “It is in part a memoir and gives scant attention to his father’s work after the mid-1920s. Also, because Charles was not a scholar, much of James Breasted’s research is not addressed,” added Abt, who is an associate professor in the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History at Wayne State University.
The Oriental Institute will host a talk by Abt on his book at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Breasted Hall. Abt will sign copies of his book after the talk, which is free and open to the public...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Images of Objects at the Oriental Institute (and Elsewhere) in Inscriptifact

The InscriptiFact Team reports in an email to registered users
We have just uploaded 2112 new images of 229 new texts from the Persepolis Fortification Archive. Most of these images are RTI images (Reflection Transformation Imaging). The Greek, Akkadian and Old Persian tablets are now posted.

In addition, we have added the Assyrian Reliefs from the Oriental Institute, RTIs of KTU 1.18, and RTIs of objects from USC's Archaeological Research collection and the Los Angeles Unified School District's Art and Artifact Collection.
 See here for a previous announcement about the PFA from Inscriptifact.

About InscriptiFact

The InscriptiFact Project is a database designed to allow access via the Internet to high-resolution images of ancient inscriptions from the Near Eastern and Mediterranean Worlds. The target inscriptions are some of the earliest written records in the world from an array of international museums and libraries and field projects where inscriptions still remain in situ. Included are, for example, Dead Sea Scrolls; cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia and Canaan; papyri from Egypt; inscriptions on stone from Jordan, Lebanon and Cyprus; Hebrew, Aramaic, Ammonite and Edomite inscriptions on a variety of hard media (e.g., clay sherds, copper, semi-precious stones, jar handles); and Egyptian scarabs. These ancient texts represent religious and historical documents that serve as a foundation and historical point of reference for Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the cultures out of which they emerged...
Examples of screens and searches in HTML format for viewing in a web browser.
Step-by-step instructions for conducting searches and retrieving images in InscriptiFact, in PDF format.
Step-by-step instructions for using the InscriptiFact Viewer, featuring RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) images, in PDF format.
One possible way to search for texts in InscriptiFact is by choosing "Text or Publication Numbers," i.e., common abbreviations used in the field of Ancient Near Eastern Studies. This PDF documents gives bibliographic information for the abbreviations or references used in InscriptiFact.
Download this document and fax it as stated to obtain access to InscriptiFact.
Click on this link to be taken to the download site for the InscriptiFact desktop client.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Epigraphic Survey News

Ray Johnson writes to tell me that the RECENT NEWS section of the Epigraphic Survey pages on the Oriental Institute website will be updated monthly.  I take the liberty of quoting from the most recent entry:

December 2, 2011

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to report that Luxor has been peaceful throughout the last few weeks, and the Chicago House team is busy and well. Our work at Medinet Habu, TT 107, and Luxor Temple has proceeded normally, and continued through the disturbances in Cairo with no interruption. The elections so far - here, in Cairo, Alexandria, and elsewhere - have been noteworthy for their orderliness, peaceful nature, enthusiasm, and unprecedented turnout. It's an encouraging beginning! And history in the making.

Yesterday artist Sue Osgood returned to Luxor to continue working in TT 107, the tomb of Nefersekheru, steward of Amenhotep III's Malkata palace, where Margaret has been drawing for the last month. Tomorrow conservator Hiroko Kariya arrives to resume conservation work in the Luxor Temple blockyards. On Sunday we are all heading south to see the current excavation work of faculty member Nadine Moeller, husband Gregory, and her team (including Hratch Papazian) at Tell Edfu. Nadine and the crew joined us and a number of our American (ARCE Luxor), foreign, and Egyptian colleagues for a very pleasant Thanksgiving dinner on November 24th. The cranberry sauce was home-made by artist Margaret De Jong, with fresh berries kindly hand-carried by library assistant (and OI VC member) Andrea Dudek who will be heading homeward in a few days after a very productive few weeks with us.

Thus far, outside of the election excitement, it's been a totally normal season. Two weeks ago I participated in a workshop in Cairo sponsored by AUC and the Netherlands/Flemish Institute on archaeological recording techniques, with a special emphasis on new digital recording technologies that we are using in our on site documentation work now. During the next couple of days a group of students from the Netherlands/Flemish Institute will be visiting TT 107 and Medinet Habu to see our recording methodologies in person, guided by Senior epigrapher Brett McClain and Margaret.
Despite the political uncertainties and bumps in the road, the last month and a half have been joyous in many ways. The Egyptian people are tremendously excited and proud of their new freedom to choose their leaders, and this has been a joy to witness. We gave our Egyptian staff the day off on Monday to vote, and each one proudly showed me his ink-stained finger (proof of voting) the day after. There have been other reasons to celebrate as well; I have attended two engagement parties for offspring of our workers (who were babies the last time I looked, and are now getting married?). And ten days ago Medinet Habu conservator Nahed gave birth to a baby boy, Jovan. Life is too full!
And all is well. I will write again soon. Best wishes to you all for an excellent December!

Best from Luxor,
Ray Johnson

Sunday, December 4, 2011

All Chicago House Bulletins

The full run of Chicago House Bulletin is now available for the first time online.

For a convenient listing of all online Oriental Institute publications, including digital manifestations of print publications and born-digital publications,  see: