Postdoctoral Researcher in Ancient Near-eastern Archaeology at LabEx Pasts in the Present: AssyrOnline

For this full-time one-year contract, the postdoctoral researcher is expected to develop during part of his/her working time (1/3 max) a personal research project related to the themes of the labex Pasts in the Present.

This proposal is for a specialist in ancient Near-eastern archaeology. Its framework is the AssyrOnline program of the LabEx cluster Pasts in the Present. In connection with the international Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI <>), this LabEx program aims to explore and develop new ways of writing, "on line" a history of the ancient Near East, based on the various sets of digital data accumulated over recent years. It is part of the second axis of the LabEx, devoted to "knowledge of the past: new practices and tools of transmission." Besides the cuneiform tablets, the AssyrOnline program is also particularly interested in seals and inscriptions and imprints they have left on various clay objects, which are an important source of information for a better knowledge of the civilizations of the ancient Near East. The work to be undertaken by the candidate who will be recruited in this context should be linked to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF) France and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford which retain two of the finest collections of cylinder seals over the world. He (she) will have to contribute to the enhancement of these collections, especially that of the BnF in Paris which remains little studied and poorly known. He (she) will have to consider ways to increase awareness and knowledge on such documents, to make them scientifically usable in the AssyrOnline program, and to examine how new researches can be launched on those objects. It is stated that, as part of this contract of 12 months, 30% of search time of the recruited candidate will be reserved for his (her) personal works.


The recruited post-doctoral researcher will have precisely the task: to undertake an inventory and cataloging of the collections of ancient Near-Eastern cylinder seals preserved in the BnF; to build an associated database, adapted to the criteria and requirements of the AssyrOnline LabEx program; to undertake the digitization of these objects, after having been trained in the scanning techniques developed by the CDLI staff, in order to produce high resolution images of the cylinder seals; to collaborate with researchers at Oxford University working in the framework of AssyrOnline, to enhance the collection of cylinder seals of the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford); to prepare the production of digital albums and of an exhibition to be held in 2019 at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford; and to showcase the results that will also have to be integrated in the frame of the CDLI program.

To be delivered

  • Database and catalog of the collections studied in the frame of the program;
  • digitized image sets of cataloged objects;
  • scientific publication(s) in connection with the studied collections;
  • preparation of digital albums and of an exhibition to horizon 2019


This call is open to candidates of any nationality, holding a PhD in archaelogy of Ancient Near-Eastern, defended since 5 years maximum.

The applicant must have earned his (her) PhD between June 1, 2011 and the application deadline (May 31, 2016).

The candidate must have :

  • a solid knowledge in the field of glyptics and sigillography of the ancient Near East;
  • experience in the treatment of archaeological data and in the construction of associated databases;
  • a good knowledge in digital imaging;
  • a good aptitude for teamwork;
  • proficiency in written and spoken French.

Location, duration and appointments

The post-doctoral researcher will be attached to the ArScAn laboratory at the MAE at Nanterre (CNRS, UMR 7041), member of LabEx cluster Pasts in the Present. He (she) will have mainly to work with researchers of this laboratory, as well as with its partners in the Department of Coins, Medals and Antiques of the BNF, engaged in the AssyrOnline LabEx program.

The contract will run for 12 months full time, from November 1st 2016.

Salary: 2212.90 € gross (1790 € net) + reimbursement of half of Navigo pass.

Supervision : the Director of the laboratory ArScAn (UMR 7041) and the project leader of the AssyrOnline project within the LabEx, Bertrand Lafont

Application date
31 May 2016
Date of residence
1 Nov 2016
1 year
Europe France Paris Île-de-France
Humanities Archaeology
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 5 years
Grants available
Award granted
€ 2212,90 gross monthly salary