Masterclass Cuneiform Epigraphy

Masterclass Sprachkurs-Stipendium Konzept 1. HFLAO Gil Breger

During the one-week long Masterclass Cuneiform Epigraphy, students from Germany and abroad work together in order to gain experience in handling cuneiform tablets and learn how to decipher and document these ancient manuscripts visually as autographies. The skills to be acquired during this course should guarantee that junior scholars of Assyriology are able to expertly read, record and safeguard the still undeciphered texts belonging to the cultural heritage of the Ancient Near East.

Because of its varied research projects and long-standing excellence in producing new text editions, the Institute for Assyriology of the Heidelberg University offers a dynamic research environment.

No fees are charged for the participation in the Masterclass. The accommodation for the duration of the course will be provided free of charge. We will also reimburse the costs of travel to and from Heidelberg. The cost of meals will be partially subsidised.



The focus of the Masterclass Cuneiform Epigraphy is the practical work with original tablets. During the one-week course experienced scholars will utilise the inventory of the Uruk-Warka Collection to teach the participants how to handle original cuneiform documents, how to decipher them, and how to document visually the deciphered text as well as the clay artefacts that serve as their medium. Good knowledge of Akkadian is therefore prerequisite.

The Uruk-Warka Collection is a teaching collection that offers the opportunity to come into direct contact with cuneiform tablets. With as many as 2000 only partially analysed cuneiform documents, the Collection houses a rare assemblage of artefacts that can not only illustrate the more than three-thousand year long history of writing in the Ancient Near East but also have an immense scholarly significance. Literary and historical texts can be found among the exhibits, together with royal inscriptions and hymns to gods, administrative documents, contracts of sale and hire, loans – as well as the very earliest pieces of writing in human history.

A further teaching aid during Masterclass Cuneiform Epigraphy will be provided by the photographic archive created for the research project whose aim it has been to edit all literary texts from Assur. The archive documents more than 11 000 tablets from this ancient city.

One of the most important components of the Masterclass Cuneiform Epigraphy is the learning with and from each other in a collegial atmosphere. We are therefore looking for highly motivated students from Germany and abroad who will readily contribute their analytic and critical thinking skills.



At the core of the programme are the needs of the participants: practical exercises are interspersed with discussions, so that the Masterclass Cuneiform Epigraphy provides a balanced combination of practice-oriented and theoretical instruction. An evening guest lecture on a relevant topic given by a senior scholar of international renown is a further enrichment of the programme.


You can find a typical plan of the Masterclass intensive course here.




The Masterclass Cuneiform Epigraphy will be organised yearly, alternatingly in Iraq (only for Iraqi students) and in Heidelberg. The next Masterclass in Heidelberg will take place 12.–18.2.2023. Please send us your application from 1.9–15.10.2022.

The Masterclass Cuneiform Epigraphy is meant to contribute to the international integration of the discipline. One of its main aims is to actively support the traditional languages of Assyriology. For this reason, we expect from our participants not only excellent English but also German skills. The seminars and lectures are carried out partially in German and partially in English. In order to maximally benefit from the Masterclass, you should be able to speak and understand both languages very well (C1). Less advanced language skills should not disqualify you completely, but B2 level in both languages at the time of the application would be most desirable.

For your application, please supply:

  • a completed application form (please send us a message if you cannot access the link)
  • a letter of motivation in which you shortly present the skills you already possess and describe what your hopes for the Masterclass are
  • a tabulated CV with a photo
  • as well as the copies of relevant certificates, such as language certificates

We ask you kindly to place all the documents listed above in the above-mentioned order in a single pdf file (in MacOS with the Preview tool).

You can send your application via e-mail to

You will also need two letters of recommendation which should be addressed directly to Professor Maul and sent via e-mail to  forschungslabor@ori.uni-heidelberg.dePlease remember to plan your application process in advance, so that you can provide us with all documents on time. All applications will be reviewed only after the deadline. The letters of recommendation can be freely sent before the rest of your application reaches us.


We are looking forward to your application!



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