The Yale Cuneiforum meets fortnightly to read unpublished cuneiform tablets. It began in September 2013 and has met regularly during the 2013–2014, 2014–2015, and 2015–2016 academic years. Cuneiform script, the world’s oldest known script, is particularly ambiguous, and on many occasions texts can only be deciphered through repeated examination. Consequently, reading cuneiform tablets in a group, where many perspectives can be simultaneously canvassed, is particularly profitable.
Both students and professors, as well as visiting scholars, take part in this working group. While for beginners the Cuneiforum is an opportunity to see—and participate in—cutting-edge research, for seasoned scholars the forum provides a welcoming stage for presenting work in progress and receiving valuable feedback. At the same time, it encourages both students and more advanced scholars to read texts outside their area of expertise. The stalwarts of the Cuneiforum are the faculty and students of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; however, last year’s meetings also attracted scholars from Harvard and New York. Scholars from disciplines outside of Assyriology are very welcome, since the decipherment of texts often benefits from specialized knowledge that the cuneiformist does not usually possess.
The Yale Cuneiforum’s website lists the group’s activities: http://babylonian-collection.yale.edu/colloquia/yale-cuneiforum