RITS and Oracc: new tools for editing the world’s oldest texts
The ancient cultures of Sumer, Assyria and Babylonia have left a rich written legacy, in the form of many hundreds of thousands of clay tablets, inscribed in the complex, wedge-shaped cuneiform script. Over the past two centuries these artefacts, dating from c.3000 BC to c.100 AD, have been excavated from archaeological sites across the Middle East, particularly Iraq and Syria, and are now housed in many different museums around the world.
For several decades now there has been a concerted effort to catalogue, photograph, edit and analyse these most precious witnesses of the first half of history. The editorial and analytical effort has been spearheaded by Oracc.org, the Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus, co-directed by Professor Eleanor Robson at UCL, along with international colleagues.
Over the past year she and Raquel Alegre of RITS have been working together to produce a new editorial interface for Oracc, that will hopefully enable a significant number of less technophile colleagues to contribute to the project. In this talk they will explain what Oracc does and why it matters, why new software was needed, and how it improves the editorial experience.