The Uruk corpus

This repo is about the digital processing of the transliterations of proto-cuneiform tablets from the Uruk IV-III periods.

Cuneiform tablets

Cuneiform tablets have been photographed, drawn as lineart, and transliterated in ATF files, in which the marks on a tablet are represented by ascii characters.

While the ATF descriptions preserve an awesome amount of precise information about the marks that are visible in the clay and their spatial structure, it is not easy to process that information. Simple things are hard: counting, aggregating, let alone higher level tasks such as clustering, colocation, and other statistical operations.

That is why we have converted the transliterations to an other format, Text-Fabric, which is optimized for processing, adding data and sharing it.

We also have drawn in photos and lineart, which can be used while computing, especially when done in Jupyter notebooks. Done this way, computer analysis turns into rich computational narratives.


We have chosen the Uruk-IV/III periods (4000-3100 BC) as a starting corpus for testing our approach. This is proto-cuneiform corpus of ca. 6000 tablets.


We have downloaded transliterations and images from the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative CDLI. They have a rich source of data, available to the public, visible on their website, and large portions are conveniently downloadable. We are indebted to the creators and maintainers of the CDLI website.
Datum van beschikbaarheid01 feb. 2018
Datum van data-aanmaak01 feb. 2018 - 07 mrt. 2018
Geografische dekkingUruk, Assyria

Dataset type

  • Verwerkte data

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