Text of a letter I sent earlier, while looking for information on Mesopotamian data-sets.
Dear Dr. Halloran,
I found your Sumerian page while looking for a set of data from ancient Mesopotamia to do a history/math project. Can you help me?
I’m a teacher at a middle school, where I use the curriculum in ancient history in ninth grade to teach computer and Internet-related skills. I’ve been asked to include a unit on Excel or spreadsheet programs into my curriculum, but I have to keep my students focused within the ancient Near East and Mediterranean littoral.
Do you know of any online (or offline but relatively cheaply-purchased) data-set from Mesopotamia or Egypt that I students could use to develop an understanding of how spreadsheets and data analysis works? I’m looking for thinks like financial records, contracts, inventories, wills, property lists — cuneiform tablets with arithmetical data that they could use to help them understand how ancient economies functioned or how temples and kinds administered their lands and property.
Does such a thing even exist? It’s so far outside my usual knowledge fields that I’m not even sure how to look other than asking people in the field…
Let’s hope this helps.
I checked out several of the archives here, and they seem to be mostly photographs, rather than translations of the texts. This isn’t surprising, since there aren’t that many recent PhD’s in ancient Near East history or language… administrative texts would be among the last translated, too. First found, most boring in many ways, and so less likely to rise through the internet.
Update: I’ve also found this tablet here, which contains the kind of information I’m looking for. It took me an hour to find, and I probably need 20-30 of them.
Is there another way of doing this project?