Michael J. Price Lab for Digital Humanities

Digitizing Tell Billa

Digitizing Tell Billa

Petra Creamer

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World

Funding Period: 
March, 2017

Tell Billa (also known by its ancient epony m, Shibaniba) is an archaeological site located in northern Iraq. The excavations of Tell Billa were carried out by the Penn Museum from 1931-1938, but the final results of excavation were never fully published. Over 300 burials from the Assyrian periods were excavated and recorded, along with a number of architectural features. Tell Billa provides an excellent example of a provincial center close to the ancient Assyrian Empire’s heartland. 

Unfortunately, excavation records from several seasons at Tell Billa have been lost, but information about the burials and their artifacts, kept separate from the main excavation records, are preserved in the Penn Museum archives. The goal of this project is to digitize all of the existing data from Tell Billa and make them available to researchers. Studying the mortuary material of such a site provides an opportunity to understand how proximity to an empire’s center allows for changes in adoption of cultural traits. For these reasons, and to prevent any further loss of records, it is imperative that the remaining records from Tell Billa be digitized for further, more detailed investigation.