My main research project is the online Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Lexical Texts (DCCLT).
The aim of this project is to publish on the web all lexical lists from
Ancient Mesopotamia. Lexical lists are comparable to modern
dictionaries and played an important role in the education of scribes
and in the intellectual life of the period (see: What is a Lexical List?).
lists were introduced with the invention of writing (ca. 3200 BCE) and
continued to be used until the demise of cuneiform in the beginning of
our era. The image to the left is a drawing of a fragment of one of the
earliest such lists, the list of Vessels.
DCCLT partners with similar projects in the Cuneiform Digital Library Group (CDL), adhering to strict standards of data formatting. The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI)
at UCLA, hosts the catalogue and the images. The lexical data produced
by DCCLT are directly incorporated into the electronic Pennsylvania
Sumerian Dictionary (PSD).
Funding for the DCCLT project has been provided by the Hellman Family Fund, the NEH, the Committee on Research (UC Berkeley), the American Philosophical Society, the Archaeological Research Facility (UCB), a Mellon Project Grant and private donors.
Digital Scholarship is taken one step further in the Berkeley Prosopography Services (BPS), a cooperative project by Dr. Laurie Pearce (Near Eastern Studies), Niek Veldhuis, and Patrick Schmitz (IST Data Services). Aim of the project is the development of a tool for analyzing and visualizing social networks by mining electronic corpora of legal or administrative texts. The first corpus to be analyzed is a group of cuneiform texts from Uruk from the Hellenistic period, edited online by Laurie Pearce in Hellenistic Babylonia: Texts, Images and Names (HBTIN).
For information about the development of the BPS prototype see the project Wiki page. A brief article about the project appeared in Berkeley's iNews: Using Natural Language Processing and Social Network Analysis to study ancient Babylonian society.
BPS has been supported by the France Berkeley Fund, and by a Mellon grant through the Humanities & Arts Research Technologies (HART) Program. In the near future BPS is expected to figure as a demonstrator project within the larger context of Project Bamboo.