3 March 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

New AI Tool ‘Fragmentarium’ Brings Ancient Babylonian Texts Together

An artificial intelligence (AI) bot was developed by linguists at the Institute for Assyriology at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany to assist in putting together and deciphering illegible fragments of ancient Babylonian texts. It’s been dubbed “the Fragmentarium.”

Enrique Jiménez, Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Literatures at the Institute of Assyriology, is leading a team digitizing every surviving Babylonian cuneiform tablet. Since 2018, the team has processed over 22,000 text fragments.

The team created the Fragmentarium, a groundbreaking database that automates the assembly of text fragments. The team worked with the Iraq Museum and the British Museum to photograph thousands of fragments.

This new AI program, which operates on both systematic and automated methods, has already identified hundreds of new manuscripts. Furthermore, it matches up old text fragments, including pieces from the most recent tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh which is considered the first work of literature in the world.

Professor Enrique Jimenez. Photo: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

This ancient Mesopotamian odyssey was written in the Akkadian language in 130 BC and tells the story of Gilgamesh, a ruler of the Mesopotamian city-state Uruk (Iraq). According to the researchers, the oldest known version of the epic, which was written in cuneiform characters on clay tablets over 4,000 years ago, is “significantly younger” than this recently discovered version of the ancient Epic. It is very interesting, remarks Jiménez, that people were still copying Gilgamesh at this late period.

“There’s so much work to do in the study of Babylonian literature. The new texts we’re discovering are helping us understand the literature and culture of Babylon as a whole,” said Enrique Jiménez.

He plans to publish the Fragmentarium, along with a digital version of the Epic of Gilgamesh—the first containing all transcriptions of cuneiform fragments that are currently known—In February 2023.

“Everybody will be able to play around with the Fragmentarium. There are thousands of fragments that have not yet been identified,” says Jiménez.

Around 200 academics from around the world have used the online platform for their research projects since the project began.

Ludwig Maximilian University

Related Articles

8000-year-old with balcony architectural structure belonging to the Prehistoric period found in Anatolia

31 October 2021

31 October 2021

During the excavations in Domuztepe mound, it was revealed that an architectural structure thought to be 7-8 thousand years old...

A Trove of ‘Exceptional’ stunningly preserved bronze statues found at an Ancient Thermal Spa in Tuscany, Italy

10 November 2022

10 November 2022

A group of Italian archaeologists made the discovery of 24 well-preserved bronze statues from an ancient thermal spring in Tuscany....

The place of Puduhepa’s hometown Lawazantiya will be illuminated with Tatarlı Höyük

9 November 2021

9 November 2021

Excavations at Tatarlı Höyük (mound) are trying to reach findings that will enable the determination of the location of Lawazantiya,...

Habib-i Neccar Mosque, one of the first mosques in Anatolia, was destroyed in the earthquake

12 February 2023

12 February 2023

Antakya Habib-i Neccar Mosque, one of the first mosques built in Anatolia, was destroyed in the earthquake that killed tens...

A 2000-year-old wooden figure was unearthed in a Buckinghamshire ditch

13 January 2022

13 January 2022

An extremely rare, carved wooden figure from the early Roman era has been discovered in a waterlogged ditch during work...

Farmer was Discovers 2600-year-old Stone Slab of Pharaoh Apries

19 June 2021

19 June 2021

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced that a farmer in Ismailia, Egypt, uncovered a 2,600-year-old stone monument erected by Pharaoh...

Oldest Recorded Gynecological Treatment

7 February 2021

7 February 2021

In their latest research, scientists have come across a treatment practice in a mummy from 4000 years ago, as written...

Underwater excavations start at 1,700-year-old ancient Black Sea port Kerpe

20 September 2021

20 September 2021

The traces of the ancient harbor on the Black Sea coast of Kerpe, in Kocaeli’s Kandıra district, are being brought...

Rare 2,800-year-old Assyrian Scarab Seal-Amulet Found in Tabor Nature Reserve

12 February 2024

12 February 2024

A hiker in northern Israel found a rare scarab seal-amulet from the First Temple period on the ground in the...

Archaeologists Unearth Carolingian Silver Treasure Hoard

6 May 2021

6 May 2021

A silver treasure hoard from the 9th century AD has been discovered in Poland‘s Osa and Drwęca basin. The hoard...

The first settlement of the Cimmerians in Anatolia may be Büklükale

7 June 2022

7 June 2022

Archaeologists estimated that the first settlement in Anatolia of the Cimmerians, who left Southern Ukraine before Christ (about 8th century...

1800-year-old marble inscription found in Turkey’s Aigai excavations deciphered

2 October 2022

2 October 2022

The 1800-year-old inscription, consisting of 3 pieces of marble, found in the excavations in the ancient city of Aigai in...

Archaeologists Reveal First Settlement of Cimmerians in Anatolia

23 June 2023

23 June 2023

Continuing excavations in Türkiye’s central Kırıkkale province have revealed new findings indicating that Büklükale village was the first settlement of...

Over 20 terracotta warriors have been discovered in the Terracotta Army pit in China

24 January 2022

24 January 2022

More than 20 Terracotta Warriors were unearthed from the Terracotta Army pit in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province, according to...

The largest embalming cache ever found in Egypt unearthed at Abusir

10 February 2022

10 February 2022

Archaeologists from the Czech Institute for Egyptian Science have discovered a cache of artifacts related to the practice of Egyptian...