In Popular Culture: The Future of Ancient Near Eastern Studies

In this second issue of ‘In Popular Culture’, I talk with Sabina Franke about the challenges and opportunities of bringing the Ancient Near East to public attention. She gathers the main conclusions from the workshop ‘The Future of Ancient Near Studies’ she organized on this topic, and shares her experiences teaching and telling about the Ancient Near East.

“I have to admit that it took me years to be able to understand more or less the basic ideas, concepts, and lines of thoughts in the ANE and to realize that it is perfectly OK to simplify and to tell the stories behind the text. As Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote: ‘Easy reading is damn hard writing!'”

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In Popular Culture: Mathieu Ossendrijver

In this issue we are introducing some new themes to the newsletter. Besides the already existing themes ‘In the Spotlight’ and ‘In the Field’, Mar Shiprim will now also include a recurring theme entitled ‘In Popular Culture’, about the various ways in which assyriological and archeological scholarship has been communicated to a larger audience.

We begin this new recurring theme with an an interview with Mathieu Ossendrijver, whose article in Science in January 2016 led to a huge wave of popular interest.

But how does one communicate the technicalities of Late Babylonian astronomy, when many of the journalists do not know what cuneiform is? Luckily, Ossendrijver was happy to share his experiences with us!

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