Showcasing Rare Cuneiform from Special Collections and Archives in Miami University’s Undergraduate Research Forum

The Undergraduate Research Forum showcases the creative and scholarly activities of undergraduate researchers. These undergraduates work with professors on funded research and are engaged in research over the course of the academic year.

Two exceptional undergraduate students: Rebecka J. Mock (Anthropology and Classics Major) and Daniel T. McClurkin (English Literature and Anthropology Major) have been working with Professor Jeb J. Card (Department of Anthropology) on identifying ancient clay tablets – cuneiform – discovered near Hoyt Hall and part of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and Archives.

Their project – Provenence, Preservation, and Analysis of Special Collections Artifacts had them working with a Seal cylinder, Babylonian tablets and Egyptian fragments.


Rebecka and Daniel with Marcus Ladd Special Collections and Archives Digital Librarian


Egyptian Fragment

These remarkable students under Dr. Card’s tutelage were able to decipher, determine provenance and the historical record of the ancient artifacts and using 3D scanning technology they we able to reconstruct the fragments and reveal the seal impression of the cylinder. These artifacts are well over 4000 years old!

Their work on this project enabled them to participate with a poster presentation in the Research Forum and provide valuable information for researchers on the materials. Rebecka and Daniel were able to clarify some early misinformation providing a better description of these ancient tablets.

20150501_104810 Babylonian Tablet




Seal Cylinder

This is just a small example of the many interesting research opportunities available using such unique and fascinating materials accessible in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and Archives.