September 25, 2006



Some alphabet soup to start the week. The British School of Archaeology in Iraq or BSAI was founded in 1932 and aims to "encourage, support and undertake research into the archaeology (and cognate subjects) of Iraq, and the neighbouring countries, from the earliest times to c. AD 1700." It sponsored archaeological expeditions in Iraq till the 1980s but nowadays it is limited to providing grants twice a year of up to £1,000 normally. From an e-mail I received: "While the focus of the School is on archaeology, applications are especially welcome in the following subject areas, on any period from prehistory to the present day: intellectual history; political change; and Iraq in its Middle Eastern context." The next due date for applications is October 15. Applicants must be residents of the UK or British Commonwealth citizens. The BSAI also publishes the well-known scholarly journal Iraq.

The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq or TAARII, formerly the American Association for Research in Baghdad (AARB), was founded in 1989 "to promote scholarly research on and in Iraq, ancient Mesopotamia." Rather than a society with members like the BSAI, TAARII is a "consortium of American universities, colleges, and museums in order to promote scholarly research in and on Iraq and exchange between American and Iraqi scholars." The resident director, Dr. Lucine Taminian, is currently stationed in Amman rather than Baghdad for obvious reasons. One of the current research projects sponsored by TAARII is Rescuing Iraqi Archaeological Reports, i.e., "to prepare for publication in Arabic and English reports on important excavations and surveys carried out by Iraqi expeditions in the past thirty years but not published." This is indeed more urgent than ever in light of the loss of some documentation during the ransacking of the offices and archives of the SBAH/National Museum in 2003. Furthermore, there are also fellowships available for Iraqi as well as US scholars to conduct research in Iraq. The current deadline is December 15. US or Iraqi citizenship is required.

These are the only two organizations solely focused on Mesopotamia/Iraq. Let me quickly mention a European one which has a branch with a similar function: the venerable Deutsches Archäologisches Institut or DAI, a precursor of which was founded in 1829. The actual Baghdad Branch was set up in 1955. It s biggest claim to fame is the continuation of the excavation of Uruk. They have no presence in Iraq at the current time but provide some assistance.


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