Cylinder seals represent a unique form of multimodal communication used by people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds for more than three millennia in administrative, legal, and religious contexts.

ACAWAI-CS aims to tap this rich source of information by connecting data about their artefactual, pictorial, and textual components into a coherent whole. Computer-aided tools and methods, like AI image recognition, network analysis and graph technologies, will help us to tackle the task posed by the enormous quantity and complexity of seals’ data.

Over a three-year-period, ACAWAI-CS will augment a representative corpus of seals and sealings by annotating its visual (i.e. pictorial and textual) content with the help of a controlled and multilingual vocabulary. By aligning our metadata to Linked Open Data standards, the outcome will be readable by humans and machines alike, integrating it into an ever-growing semantic web of knowledge.

ACAWAI-CS aims to create the pool of semantically enhanced data which is needed to make the potential of West Asian cylinder seals visible outside a narrow circle of specialists and accessible for interdisciplinary, comparative and Digital Humanities research.

Cuneiform tablet with seal impressions.
Three cylinder seal impressions on the side of a cuneiform tablet (envelop) from Ishchali, Iraq, dating to the early second millennium BCE (Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago, photo: P. Paoletti). The upper and the lower sealings were impressed horizontally, the one in the middle vertically.

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