Jonathan Taylor

Assistant Keeper, Cuneiform collections, Mesopotamia

Department: Middle East


+44 (0)20 7323 8382

Academia profile 

Jon is a curator responsible for the Museum’s outstanding collection of cuneiform texts from the ancient Near East. He has a particular interest in education and literacy in the Near East. He also researches tablets as artefacts, and Mesopotamian ideas of history.

Prior to his appointment in January 2006, Jon was a Research Fellow on the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, University of Oxford and then Leverhulme Research Fellow on the Cuneiform Digital Palaeography Project, University of Birmingham.

Current projects

The Ashurbanipal Library Project: an international research collaboration based at the British Museum. Dedicated to making available the magnificent library of cuneiform texts collected by Ashurbanipal. 7th century BC king of Assyria.

Ur of the Chaldees: a virtual vision of Woolley's excavations. An ambitious project to reunify in digital form the complete resources from Woolley's famous excavations at the city of Ur.

Previous projects

Sharing History Arab World – Europe | 1815 – 1918  

Materialities of Assyrian Knowledge Production: Object Biographies of Inscribed Artefacts from Nimrud for Museums and Mobiles. In collaboration with the University of Cambridge. Funded by the AHRC.

Babylon: Myth and Reality exhibition

Umma project: an international research collaboration centred on the administrative archives of the ancient city of Umma. Designed to coincide with the study of texts from recent Iraqi excavations at this site.

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Honorary Research Associate, Department of History, UCL

Member of Publications Committee, British Institute for the Study of Iraq -

Editor of the academic journal, Iraq -

Member of Steering Committee, British Association for Near Eastern Archaeology -

Committee member, London Centre for the Ancient Near East -

Board member of the International Association for Assyriology -

Project associate, Cuneiform Digital Palaeography project, University of Birmingham -

Project associate, Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Lexical Texts, University of California, Berkeley -

Recent publications

J. Taylor, 2015. "Wedge order in cuneiform: a preliminary survey". Pp. 5–34 in Devecchi, E., G.G.W. Müller and J. Mynářová (eds.), Current Research in Cuneiform Paaeography. Proceedings of a Workshop held at the 60th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Warsaw 2014 (Gladbeck: PeWe Verlag, 2015).

I. L. Finkel and J. Taylor, Cuneiform (British Museum Press, 2015)

A. Bartelmus and J. Taylor, “Collecting And Connecting History: Nabonidus and the Kassite Rebuilding of E(ul)maš of (Ištar)-Annunītu in Sippar-Annunītu”, Journal of Cuneiform Studies 66 (2014) pp. 113-128

J. Taylor, "The Cyrus Cylinder: discovery", in I.L. Finkel (ed.), The Cyrus cylinder : the great Persian edict from Babylon (2013) pp. 35-68

J. Taylor, Contributions to Pedro Azara (ed.), Antes del Diluvio 3500 - 2100 AC (2012)

J. Taylor, "Cuneiform Tablets from the Wiseman Collection", Iraq 74 (2012) pp. 127-136

J. Taylor, "Administrators and scholars: the first scribes", in H. Crawford (ed.), The Sumerian world pp. 290-304 (Routledge, 2012)

J. Taylor, "Cuneiform", in R. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, C. Champion, A. Erskine, and S. Huebner (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Wiley, 2012) pp. 1871-72

C. Cartwright and J. Taylor, "The making and re-making of clay tablets", Scienze dell’antichità 17 (2011) pp. 297-324

J. Taylor, "Tablets as artefacts, scribes as artisans", in K. Radner and E. Robson (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture (2011) pp. 5–31

C. Cartwright and J. Taylor, "Investigating technological and environmental evidence from plant remains and molluscs in cuneiform tablets", in British Museum Technical Research Bulletin 5 (2011) pp. 67–72

J. Taylor, "Hazannum: The Forgotten Mayor" in L. Kogan et al. (eds.) Proceedings of the 53e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale Vol. 2: City Administration in the Ancient Near East (Winona Lake, Indiana, 2010), pp. 207–222

J. Taylor, Review of S. Parpola, R. Whiting et al., Assyrian-English-Assyrian Dictionary (Helsinki 2007) in Journal of Semitic Studies LV (2010) p. 621

J. Taylor, "On the interpretation of two critical passages in Gilgamesh and Huwawa", in H. Baker, E. Robson and G. Zólyomi (eds.) Your Praise is Sweet – A Memorial Volume for Jeremy Black from students, colleagues and friends (London, 2010) pp. 351–360

J. Taylor, Review of J.-J. Glassner, The Invention of Cuneiform, Writing in Sumer, in Journal of Semitic Studies LIV (2009) pp. 254–255

F.N.H. al-Rawi, F. D’Agostino, J. Taylor, Neo-Sumerian Administrative Texts from Umma Kept in the British Museum, Part Four (NATU IV; Messina, 2009)

J. Taylor, Review of The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago Volume 18 Letter T (Oriental Institute, Chicago 2006) in Journal of Semitic Studies LIV (2009) pp. 580-582

J. Taylor, Review of The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago Volume 19 Letter T (Tet) (Oriental Institute, Chicago 2006) in Journal of Semitic Studies LIV (2009) pp. 580-582

contributions to G. Servadio (ed.), Ancient Syrian Writings: Syrian Pre-classical and Classical Texts (Damascus, 2009)

J. Taylor, Review of The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago: Volume 12 P, in Journal of Semitic Studies 53 (2008) pp. 331–335

contributions to the exhibition catalogues: Akhénaton et Néfertiti: soleils et ombres des pharaons; Babylon: Myth and Reality; Babylon: Wahrheit; Babylone

J. Taylor, 'Lexicographical Study of the Already Ancient in Antiquity', in R. Biggs, J. Myers, M. Roth (eds.) Proceedings of the Fifty First Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Held at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, July 18-22, 2005 (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 62. Chicago, Ill.: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2008)

J. Taylor, 'Babylonian Lists of Words and Signs', in G. Leick (ed.) Babylonian World (New York; London, Routledge, 2007)

J. Taylor, '"A quantitative analysis of the Sumerian proverb collections', in J. Ebeling and G. Cunningham (eds.), Analysing Literary Sumerian: corpus-based approaches (London: Equinox, 2007) pp. 273–315

J. Taylor, “OB Lu2-azlag2” (2006), "MB Lu", "Lu Long 01-05", and "Lu Short 01-02" (all 2007), Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Lexical Texts (,)

J. Taylor, “The Sumerian Proverb Collections”, Revue d’assyriologie et d’archéologie orientale, 99 (2005) pp.13-38

J. Taylor, “Scribal Foibles: Two Points of Interest from OB Lexical Lists”, in Jaarbericht Ex Oriente Lux 38 (2003–04 ) pp. 63–70

J. Taylor, “Collations to Two Early Dynastic Lexical Lists from Fara (ED Lu C, ED Lu D)”, in Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin 2003:003

J. Taylor, “A new Proto-Lu-Proto-Izi Combination Tablet”, in Orientalia N.S. 70 (2001) pp. 209–234