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Prof Eleanor Robson
Room 204
History Department
Gordon Square
London
Tel: 020 6769 1337
Appointment
  • Professor of Ancient Near Eastern History
  • Dept of History
  • Faculty of S&HS
Biography

Eleanor Robson joined UCL in September 2013. For ten years before that she taught in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, after a varied postdoctoral career in and around the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford.

From 2012 to 2017 Eleanor served as the voluntary Chair of Council for The British Institute for the Study of Iraq, a learned society based at the British Academy in London.

Research Summary

Eleanor’s research has three main focal points:

  • the social and political contexts of knowledge production in the cuneiform culture of ancient Iraq, five to two thousand years ago;
  • the construction of knowledge about ancient Iraq in Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East over the past two centuries;
  • and use of open, standards-based online resources for democratising access to knowledge about the ancient Middle East.

With Professors Steve Tinney (UPenn) and Niek Veldhuis (UC Berkeley) she runs Oracc.org, the Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus, an international co-operative which which provides facilities and support for the creation of free online editions of cuneiform texts and educational websites about ancient cuneiform culture. The Oracc projects she has led include:

Eleanor’s most recent monograph, Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History (Princeton University Press, 2008), won the History of Science Society’s Pfizer Award for 2011. She received a Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation to carry out work on her next book, on the social geography of cuneiform scholarship, which is now in press.

She is currently epigrapher to an archaeological excavation at Tell Khaiber in southern Iraq, which is uncovering unprecedented evidence for Babylonian history in a period previously characterised as a "dark age", c.1500 BC.

Teaching Summary

Eleanor's undergraduate and MA teaching regularly includes the following modules:

  • HIST2108 Understanding the Early Mesopotamian World
  • HIST3109/9109 Temple Life in Assyria and Babylonia
  • HISTGA78 Babylon: Memories of Empire

She supervises graduate research students in many aspects of ancient cuneiform culture and its reception in the modern world.

Academic Background
1995 DPhil Doctor of Philosophy – Oriental Studies University of Oxford
1990 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science – Mathematics University of Warwick
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