Mailing Address: PO Box 208240, New Haven, CT 06520-8240
Some 5000 years ago, writing developed in the lower valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and spread from there to the rest of ancient Mesopotamia, approximately present-day Iraq. The writing, called cuneiform ("wedge-shaped"), spread from there over the entire Near East. The Babylonian Collection houses the largest assemblage of cuneiform inscriptions in the United States, and one of the five largest in the world. The bulk of the inscriptions consists of clay tablets in all sizes and shapes. There are also a number of inscribed monuments on stone and other materials, some of considerable artistic interest, including a large collection of stamp and cylinder seals. In addition, the Collection maintains a complete library in the fields of Assyriology (the study of ancient Mesopotamia), Hittitology (ancient Anatolia, roughly equivalent to modern Turkey), and Near Eastern archaeology. It publishes several monograph series through the Yale University Press.
The Collection is primarily for the use of students and faculty in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, but it is also open to visiting scholars and to all interested members of the Yale community and the general public. For further details, consult the Curator (Benjamin Foster), the Associate Curator (Ulla Kasten), or the Conservator (Elizabeth Payne), or view the website at: http://www.yale.edu/nelc/babylonian.html.