Transcribing Ur of the Chaldees

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Transcribing Woolley's field notes - Ur of the Chaldees

An application for transcribing field note books from the 1922 - 1934 excavations at Ur.

The site of Ur, one of the earliest cities in the world, was jointly excavated by the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum under the auspices of the Iraqi Department of Antiquities, for 12 years in the early 20th century. Despite many publications on the site, there is still much to learn. And new digital techniques mean we can get data to researchers more completely and efficiently.

We have a plethora of 90-year-old information to make digitally searchable. And we need help. With thousands of pages of typed letters and reports from the field and thousands more handwritten field notes in need of transcription, one or two research assistants just can't do the job.

The field notes are particularly difficult to read because of the handwriting, the scan quality, the original quality of the notes, and the graph background on most of the cards themselves. We will eventally rescan at higher resolution, but it will take time. The scans we have now are readable, however, and no matter how good the scan, transcribers must accustom themselves to Woolley's handwriting and his use of abbreviations. Help with this process appears in the pages under "Terminology" on this crowdsrouce site.

Project partners

The British Museum logo The Penn Museum logo

Ur of the Chaldees: A Virtual Vision of Woolley's Excavations, funded by the Leon Levy Foundation and conducted by the original excavating museums in Philadelphia and London.

Funding body

The Leon Levy Foundation logo

UCL Logo
University of Cambridge Museums logo
University of Stirling logo
British Museum logo
AHRC logo