Thursday, April 21, 2005

Guggenheim Fellowship to be used to produce history of Mesopotamia

Berkeley: "Niek Veldhuis, 44, assistant professor of Assyriology in the department of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley and curator of the ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets at the campus's Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Veldhuis will use the award to write a monograph on the intellectual history of Mesopotamia using ancient writings - known as cuneiform - of the Sumerians, who lived on the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates in what is now Iraq. The Sumerian language died out around 2,000 B.C.

The professor said his monograph will add a crucial chapter to the world's understanding of intellectual history.

'Intellectual history traditionally begins with the Greeks,' he said. 'What I can show is that, long before the Greeks, there was a very different intellectual tradition going on two and a half millennia before Greeks even started to write.'"