Dataset Open Access

Cuneiform Inscriptions Geographical Site Index (CIGS)

Rattenborg, Rune; Johansson, Carolin; Melin-Kronsell; Nett, Seraina; Smidt, Gustav Ryberg; Andersson, Jakob

The Cuneiform Inscriptions Geographial Site (CIGS) index contains a basic set of primary spatial, toponym, attribute, and external link information on more than 500 archaeological locations where texts written in cuneiform and derived scripts have been found. In use across thw wider Middle East from c. 3,400 BCE until 100 CE, cuneiform is one of the earliest script and most extensively documented ancient scripts in world history. This resource has been prepared by researchers of the Department of Linguistics and Philology of Uppsala University. The index is intended as a tool for students and researchers in cuneiform studies and related areas and as an aid to cultural heritage managers and educators in communicating and safeguarding this unique body of world written heritage. The index remains under development and is regularly updated. The authors will very much appreciate notices of any omissions, errors, or inaccuracies. For any inquiries, please contact Rune Rattenborg ( For further details, see Rattenborg et al. 2021.

The version 1.5 index contains a total twenty-six fields, including one primary ID, one integer fields for accuracy, twenty-two string fields with toponyms and links, and two spatial data fields. Coordinates given use the WGS 1984 geographic coordinate reference system (EPSG 4326) and have been truncated to four decimal digits. Site locations have been traced from archaeological gazetteers and web mapping services (e.g. PleiadesGeoNames and OpenStreetMap) and digitally generated from optical recognition using current and legacy satellite imagery datasets in QGIS 3.x.

Versions v.0.x are prepared as part of Memories For Life: Materiality and Memory of Ancient Near Eastern Inscribed Private Objects, funded by a Research Project Grant from the Swedish Research Council (grant no. 2016-02028). Versions v.1.x and higher are prepared as part of Geomapping Landscapes of Writing (GLoW): Large-scale Spatial Analysis of the Cuneiform Corpus (c. 3400 BCE to 100 CE), funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences Research (grant number MXM19-1160:1).
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