Hoeft Research Assistant for the Tablet Collection at the Oriental Institute

Opportunity Description:

The Tablet Collection at the Oriental Institute is a special collection of more than 7000 cuneiform manuscripts dating from 3300-200 BCE. We are working currently on digitizing, cataloguing, and better understanding those unique objects. The undergraduate research assistant will be part of a larger team working on the digitization and cataloguing the cuneiform tablets. Work will include image editing, database enhancing, and being part of the outreach efforts of the collection. This unique research opportunity is ideal for students interested in ancient civilizations, museum studies, and/or in majoring in NELC especially in the fields of Assyriology and Sumerology.

Primary Responsibilities: 

The main responsibilities of the Research Assistant include supporting Assoc. Prof. Susanne Paulus with the digitalization and cataloguing of our cuneiform tablets. The student will learn how to work with original objects, use and enhance a museum database, learn how to digitize cuneiform objects using modern technologies (photography, reflectance transformation imaging), and postprocess the data collected using photoshop and related programs. If desired, the Research Assistant can participate in the outreach of a collection assisting with presentations for undergraduates, colleagues, and broader audiences. If interested, the Research Assistant can also get insights in our ongoing NEH project.

Minimum Qualifications and/or Eligibility Requirements: 

  • Knowledge of Photoshop (or willingness to acquire this knowledge)
  • Reliability and ability to work in a large team including researchers, graduate students, and volunteers.
  • NELC majors or those intending to major in NELC

Preferred Skills: 

Prior knowledge of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations and/or a cuneiform language (for example from NEHC Civilization sequence, Introduction to Babylonian)

Knowledge or skills gained from the experience: 

  • Workflow in a museum context
  • Digitalization methods for objects
  • Database management
  • Photo editing

Application Process: 

Please submit the following as a single PDF fille and saved as "LAST name, first name_HOEFT Paulus application":

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Statement of Purpose detailing why you are interested in the opportunity (350 words maximum). This is not a cover letter but a motivation statement.
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Name of two references and their emails, preferably faculty or others familiar with your academic competencies.

Submit your materials by email directly to Nichole Fazio, Executive Director of CCRF, at nfazio@uchicago.edu. 


For more information on this opportunity, please contact:

Susanne Paulus
Faculty Title: 
Assistant Professor for Assyriology
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Affiliated Research Institutes (Optional): 

Oriental Institute