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Ancient Near Eastern Studies: Databases

The Sackler Library is the premier research library for Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford. It incorporates the libraries previously housed in the Griffith Institute and the Ashmolean Museum.
Subjects: Ancient Near East


Databases contain large amounts of data including (but not limited to) statistics, bibliographic information, images and abstracts.

Bibliographic databases are a useful tool for finding scholarly literature in your subject area. This includes (but is not limited to) journal articles, conference proceedings and books. They are very useful to consult when carrying out your own research because:

  • they provide powerful search functionality
  • have citation tools
  • have thesauri
  • their content is selected by experts in your subject

Bibliographic databases are helpful when you want to start exploring beyond your reading list or are researching a new topic.

On this page you will find recommended databases and guidance on how to search for and access databases.


Terms you may encounter in your research

A collection of structured and organised data that is stored, searched and accessed electronically.

Bibliographic database:
A searchable platform that contains descriptive records of articles, books, conference proceedings, audio-visual material, maps, newspapers, and more.

Abstracting service:
Used to refer to a bibliographic database, the service provides abstracts of publications.

Indexing service:
Used to refer to a bibliographic database, the service provides descriptors to help organise and navigate publications.

This means you can read the item in full from beginning to end, not just the abstract or summary.

Top tips: databases useful for Oxford Ancient Near Eastern Studies courses

ARCHIBAB is an online corpus of Old Babylonian texts. An introductory tutorial on how to search this database is posted on YouTube:
The cdli is an international project aimed at making the form and content of cuneiform tablets everywhere available freely online.
The ETCSL is presenting editions of most Sumerian literary texts online.
The KeiBi is a searchable database for publications on cuneiform texts.
ORACC hosts many subprojects with catalogs of cuneiform corpora many with transliterations and translations of texts.

Image databases

Union collection of image collections worldwide. Approaching 1,000,000 images covering all periods, all geographic areas and all types of art, architecture and archaeology as well as other subject areas in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Hisitory of Medicine and Science. Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives.

300,000+ images of objects from museums, galleries and private collections, as well as buildings and monuments. Images cover visual culture worldwide, from pre-History to the present day. Covering all periods and all geographic areas, it addresses the interests of such disciplines as art, architecture, archaeology, anthropology, & ethnography, history, science & medicine.

The Bildarchiv Foto Marburg is the German Centre for Documentation of Art History. Containing over 1.7 million images, the Archive includes images relating to Egypt and the Ancient Near East.

The key goal of The Commons is to share hidden treasures from the world's public photography archives.

The Griffith Institute Archive houses a diverse and significant collection which explores the wealth of Ancient Egypt, the jewel being Howard Carter's complete excavation records for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

This open-access photo-archive aims to provide high resolution, searchable images, freely-downloadable for teaching, research, heritage projects, and publication. It covers buildings and art in the areas of the former Roman empire which later came under Islamic rule (e.g. Syro-Palestine/the Levant, Arabia, Egypt, and North Africa), from ca. 300 BC to the present.

​​​​​​​Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments presents a topographical survey of the standing historical monuments and architecture in the region from Iraqi Kurdistan and southeastern Anatolia (Turkey) to southern Iraq. A work in progress, this monument survey covers all historical periods from ancient to modern.

The website gives access to a sampling of images from the photographic archives of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, capturing the Institute's archaeological work in the Near East, Egypt and the Sudan from 1892 to the present.

AI is a search engine that groups on a single platform photographic reproductions of works of art (HD & free of rights), accompanied by the information necessary for their contextualization and retrieval.

Full-text extended essays not only on British people but also non-Brits who spent time in the UK. Excellent resource for finding biographical information on artists, art historians, patrons, collectors and dealers. People still alive are excluded.

Useful general databases (selection)

The New Pauly provides comprehensive coverage of the ancient world from the prehistory of the Aegean (2nd millennium BCE) to late antiquity (600-800 CE). A special section of the encyclopedia is devoted to the reception of the ancient world until the present day and the history of classical scholarship. 

Based at the British Library EThOS is the UK’s national thesis service which aims to maximise the visibility and availability of the UK’s doctoral research theses.

ORA is the institutional repository for the University of Oxford and it is home to the scholarly output of its research members. It holds publications, theses and research data.

The ODNB contains full-text extended essays not only on British people but also non-Brits who spent time in the UK. Excellent resource for finding biographical information on archaeologists, art patrons, collectors and dealers. People still alive are excluded.

This archive contains over 11 million articles on everything from history and literature to culture and art, inc archaeology.

Databases A-Z

Oxford subscribes to a large number of bibliographic and other databases and these, together with some free online resources, can be found in our Databases A-Z . By choosing the subject  Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies - Ancient Near Eastern Studies from the drop down menu, you will find all the databases relevant to Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Databases specific to Ancient Near Eastern art and architecture can be found under the subject heading Art and Architecture - Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Art and Architecture. The subject heading Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies lists the combined databases of both subject areas.

Recommend a database

If the Bodleian Libraries don't have a database you are looking for, you can make a recommendation by completing the form below (Oxford Single-Sign On required).