Based at the Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, the ACAWAI-CS project started in November 2020. The project receives funding from the eHeritage programme of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF, FKZ: 01UG2041X). The project is supported by Adelheid Otto, chair of Near Eastern Archaeology at LMU Munich and renowned specialist of cylinder seals. We gratefully acknowledge technical support from the LMU IT-Gruppe Geisteswissenschaften.

ACAWAI-CS is headed by Elisa Roßberger. As a Near Eastern archaeologist with a research focus on the Bronze Age cultures of Iraq and Syria, she is dedicated to interconnecting ancient artefacts and images in digital space.

Anna Kurmangaliev is the second Near Eastern archaeologist in the team. She specialises in the iconography of Mesopotamian gods and goddesses. In her function as supervisor for all data entry, Anna will spot any mistake in a spreadsheet at a glance.

Cuneiform specialist Nathan Morello takes care of turning seal cylinder inscriptions into readable, understandable and searchable (linked open) data.

Computer scientist and game engineer Hanieh Arjomand-Fard oversees the data management of the project, modelling seals data into nodes and edges.

Our student assistants, Marco Wolf, Elena Sher and Anna Schellkopf, are in charge of annotating the pictorial and textual components of seals and sealings.

We profit greatly from the expertise of Matan Atad, computer scientist and TUM graduate student in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning. His assistance allows us to move faster and in an increasingly automated manner through the tedious annotation process.

What was DigANES?

The aim of the DigANES-project was to develop a “Concept for the Digitization and Labeling of Ancient Near Eastern Seals and Sealings”. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, FKZ 01UG2041X) and carried out at the Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology at LMU Munich, it was successfully completed in November 2017. Data entry continued during 2018 and 2019 with a focus on Babylonian second millennium BCE seals and sealings. The full DigANES-project report is available here.

The database and Linked Open Data concept developed in the course of DigANES will be implemented now in the “Annotated Corpus of Ancient West Asian Imagery: Cylinder Seals” (ACAWAI-CS). We thank all contributors to DigANES for their great work! It will proof essential for the years of digitization and semantization of ancient West Asian imagery that lie ahead of us.

A goddess in a flounced dress with one hand raised and the other grasping the wrist of the person following behind — like in the logo (drawn by A. Kurmangaliev) at the top of this webpage — typically introduces humans to enthroned gods and goddesses on late third and early second millennia BCE cylinder seals (modern roll-out of BM 129488 photographed at the LMU Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology and two seal impressions from Isin drawn by C. Wolff, LMU Isin Archiv).

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