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Advanced Cuneiform Epigraphy


Admission requirements

Participants should have a good knowledge of cuneiform writing (be able to decipher an Old Babylonian document) and of Akkadian, as well as of Mesopotamian notation of years and months, and of metrology.
For students with a BA degree from Leiden University: the BA course ‘Epigrafie van het spijkerschrift’ is prerequisite.


Building upon the skills acquired in the BA-course ‘Epigrafie van het spijkerschrift’ (Cuneiform Epigraphy), this MA course focuses on the scholarly edition of a group of cuneiform texts in the NINO's Böhl-collection.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of Akkadian and/or Sumerian languages and the cuneiform writing employed;

  • Knowledge of methodology to classify and describe texts;

  • Insight into the edition of cuneiform texts;

  • Skills in preparing scholarly text editions.

The requirements for MA and Research MA students are differentiated: Research MA students are expected to come up with their own original research topic, find literature, and write a scholarly report; MA students may expect more help in choosing their topic and their papers may consist of an assessment of the status quaestionis on a given question.


The timetable is available on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 ec x 28 hours = 280 hours:

  • Attendance: 13 x 2 hours = 26 hours;

  • Preparation: 12 x 4 = 48 hours;

  • Assignments : 100 hours;

  • Term paper: 106 hours.

Assessment method

  • Assignments: making text editions, 30%;

  • Term paper: preparing a scholarly edition of a selected group of texts, 70%.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Paper, preparing a scholarly edition of a selected group of texts, 100%.

Exam review

Students will be invited to discuss their paper and their results for this seminar (assignments, paper) individually with the teacher, as soon as the results have been published.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Communication.

Reading list

Material will be distributed by teacher.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about registration in uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. J.G. (Jan-Gerrit) Dercksen