OIM A3670, clay tablet, Mesopotamia The Tablet Collection of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World is an independent unit of our museum under the curatorship of a faculty member in Cuneiform Studies. This position is currently held by Susanne Paulus, Associate Professor of Assyriology. The collection comprises thousands of original clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform, plus a large number of casts of such tablets excavated by Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures expeditions but now housed elsewhere. While the objects themselves are stored in a climate-controlled environment in the basement of the ISAC Museum and are only accessible there for curatorial staff, the Tablet Collection also maintains a small but well-lit and air-conditioned Tablet Room for use of students and scholars working on our original cuneiform documents. The use of this facility is by appointment only. We usually require that a detailed list of tablets to be studied be supplied at least a week in advance. If necessary, the Curator may also limit access to the Tablet Room, or check the credentials of scholars proposing to study original tablets or casts. Permission to study unpublished tablets in the Tablet Room does not automatically entail the right to publish the results. Applications for such permission should also be directed to the Curator.

If no reservations for cuneiformists have been made, the Tablet Room can also be used by scholars working on other small objects from our holdings, e.g. papyri, scarabs or coins. All such arrangements have to be made through the Tablet Curator.


Access to the Tablet Collection

To submit a research request to access materials in the Tablet Collection, please download the Tablet Collection Research Request Form, review the guidelines, fill out the form, and email a completed and signed copy to Susanne Paulus, Tablet Collection Curator (paulus@uchicago.edu).
Requests must be submitted at least two (2) weeks in advance of the desired dates for a research visit that involves access to the tablet collection.