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Professor of Ancient Middle Eastern History, UCL

Eleanor Robson is Professor of Ancient Middle Eastern History at UCL, and was previously Reader in Ancient Near Eastern History. For ten years before that she taught in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, after a varied postdoctoral career in and around the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford.

Eleanor serves as the voluntary Chair of Council for The British Institute for the Study of Iraq, a learned society based at the British Academy in London with a charitable remit to promote research and public education about the history, cultures and languages of Iraq.

Eleanor’s research has three main focal points: the social and political contexts of knowledge production in the cuneiform culture of ancient Iraq, five to two thousand years ago; the construction of knowledge about ancient Iraq in Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East over the past two centuries; and use of open, standards-based online resources for democratising access to knowledge about the ancient Middle East.

With Professors Steve Tinney (UPenn) and Niek Veldhuis (UC Berkeley) she runs Oracc, the Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus, an international co-operative which which provides facilities and support for the creation of free online editions of cuneiform texts and educational websites about ancient cuneiform culture. The Oracc projects she has led include:

The Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Mathematical Texts

The Geography of Knowledge in Assyria and Babylonia (AHRC-funded 2007-12)

Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire (HEA-funded 2007-09), with Karen Radner

Nimrud: Materialities of Assyrian Knowledge Production (AHRC-funded 2013-14)

Eleanor’s most recent monograph, Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History (Princeton University Press, 2008), won the History of Science Society’s Pfizer Award for 2011. She received a Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation to carry out work on her next book, on the social geography of cuneiform scholarship, which is now in press.


  • –present
    Reader in Ancient Near Eastern History, University College London