Who and were...
The AEC Project
The Ešnunna Project
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Books for Baghdad
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Labassi Bibliography
ALTAN ("Linguistic Analysis of Texts from Assyria and Nuzi")was the precursor of the modern projects of electronic cataloguing of textual documentation and the current Project Ešnunna" e "Duplicazione & Rinascita". It was initiated in Pisa in the late 70ies under the direction of C. Saporetti, and was inspired by results obtained in digitalising Akkadian by G. Buccellati in the project OBLAP ("Old Babylonian Linguistic Analysis Project") at the University of Los Angeles.

This research, which attempted a first digital catalogue of the text corpora from Assyria and Nuzi, was supported by the collaboration and ressources of the Institute for Linguistic Computerization of CNUCE in Pisa (CNR), directed by A. Zampolli assisted by Eugenio Picchi and Manuela Sassi.

The storing of transliterated Akkadian texts with a mainframe computer of CNUCE permitted the creation of a data base with search functions for any phrase element, from syllable to ideogram, from syntagm to pronunciation. Every text introduced was supplied with a "head file" which provided a brief description and the historical and geographical context. Once stored special programs could perform partial (75 %) grammatical analysis of the texts.

The first results of the project demonstrated the fundamental importance of the computer which made it possible to compare large numbers of texts and establish:

  • the precise value of a sign in a specific context;

  • a rapid overview of the value of a sign in complete contexts, which is important for the reconstruction of similar, but fragmentary or abraded contexts;

  • the statistical study of a sign in relation to another/others with the same value;

  • the study on the preference of the scribes for some signs instead of others and consequently the likely attribution of some texts to specific scribes.

The results were published in the journal Assur and in the series Cybernetica Mesopotamica (Undena Publications), under the direction of Saporetti and Buccellati, as well as in various articles which appeared in specialized journals.
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