Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale

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Dealing with Antiquity: Past, Present & Future

Philipps-Universität Marburg

July 24, 2017 – July 28, 2017

The University of Marburg has the honor to invite to the 63rd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale to be held on July 24th through 28th, 2017. This will be the tenth time that the Rencontre meets in Germany.

The theme of this meeting is

Dealing with Antiquity – Past, Present, and Future.

For more than three thousand years, the Middle East was the spiritual and cultural center of the Old World and brought about groundbreaking discoveries that still shape our lives to this day.


While the modern world is primarily interested in progress and innovation, the cultures of the Ancient Near East focused more on the past, the origin, tradition, the ideal model, continuity, and stability. They carefully preserved their material heritage, making frequent reference to the concepts of the traditional imaginary world and seeking the source of inspiration in both. Cultural memory is one key to accessing the Ancient Near East and opens up a broad spectrum of topics.


Geographically, the home of the Mesopotamian civilizations lies in the modern states of the Middle East which proudly present their rich cultural heritage and strive to preserve it. However, large parts of this region are currently being shaken by instability and a series of dramatic crises. The resulting destruction triggers horrified reactions around the world. Given the high topicality of these developments, the focus is on taking stock of the damage and protective measures. Representatives from Iraq, Iran and Syria are invited to report on the situation and serve as contact persons for cooperation. International efforts to protect cultural goods, both an academic and political priority, are to be addressed appropriately as well.


Ancient Near Eastern Studies is the academic field that compiles knowledge on Mesopotamia’s past and makes it available to other disciplines. For a long time, only a few experts conducted research into these cultures. Now the current events have raised awareness for this rich heritage among the broader public. A great task for the future is emerging.

The academic disciplines dealing with the cultures of the Ancient Near East are continuously broadening their topics and developing their methods further. The modern opportunities of digital humanities have opened up many new avenues and triggered a boost of innovative research topics, methods and findings.

This Rencontre will serve as a platform for the exchange of ideas, presenting projects and reflecting upon the tasks and perspectives which lie ahead.

Detailed information can be found in the first circular. Information on the venues, travel and accommodation is provided under the section About the Conference.

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