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Creation date Thurs 18 June 2015
Creator flynam
Last modified Wed 1 July 2015

The British Museum holds a vast quantity of artefacts containing cuneiform inscriptions. The most common type of these artefact types is the clay tablets, which were recovered in their tens of thousands for the most part during excavations carried out in the Middle East in the 19th century. The museum has recently created digital records for these inscriptions and for their associated artefacts and in total there about 130,000 inscriptions represented as Linked Open Data resources housed within the museum’s triplestore. This data-mining project considers this cuneiform collection using a number of different visualisation methods.

The map shown below shows a distribution of the find spots for each of the collection’s inscriptions. The map is interactive. You can click on any of the sites to see how many individual inscriptions were found there.

Artefact count

0 to 7,509.5
7,509.5 to 15,019
15,019 to 22,528.5
22,528.5 to 30,038

The visualisation shown below is a timeline created using the amazing Timeline JS app, which was created by Northwestern University’s knight lab programme. The timeline contains a list of all of the individuals recorded as the contributors for the cuneiform inscription collection and these are ordered based on when they were active. This timeline presents what is essentially a visual social history of the museum’s cuneiform and all of the information displayed in it has either been mined from the British Museum’s Semantic Web presence or from other Semantic Web resources such as DBpedia.