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Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection of babylonian antiquities

The Hilprecht Collection is one of the most important university collections of Ancient Near Eastern antiquities, containing mostly cuneiform texts from nearly all ages and genres from ca. 2600 - 300 B.C. Most of the texts come from the ancient city of Nippur in present-day Iraq. Nippur was not only the cult centre of the supreme Sumerian God Enlil, but also a place of literary learning. The collection is particularly famous for its many literary and lexical texts in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. The best known object is an inscribed map of Nippur from the middle of the second millenium BC, which is considered to be the oldest city map in the world.

Old Babylonian square root chart in the laser light of a 3D Scanner (Photo Jan-Peter Kasper)

The collection was donated to the university by the German-American scholar Hermann Vollrat(h) Hilprecht in 1925. It is named "Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection of Babylonian Antiquities" in memory of Hilprecht's first wife, who died in Jena in 1902. The estate of Hilprecht's sister brought important additions to the collection in 1932/33: parts of Hilprecht's surviving correspondence and papers and his rubbings of ancient oriental seals as well as 87 Ottoman fayence tiles.
Today the Hilprecht Collection contains about 3300 objects, 3000 of which are cuneiform texts, excluding seal rubbings and replicas. This is thus the most extensive collection of its kind in Germany after the "Vorderasiatisches Museum" in Berlin.


Prof. Dr. M. Krebernik

Institut für Sprachen und Kulturen des Vorderen Orients
Lehrstuhl Altorientalistik
Fürstengraben 6, 07743 Jena
Tel +49 (0) 3641 944 871
Fax +49 (0) 3641 944 872

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