Every now and then, a story about new research or events relating to Mesopotamia make the newspapers. Even as an expert in the field, it’s not always clear to me exactly what the reality is behind those stories. Sometimes the story can become distorted. And neither the researcher nor the journalist writes the headlines, which can be misleading. In Clearer than Mud, I’ll give the experts in the news an opportunity to explain the story as they see it, and help you understand what the significance of the story is.
The End of Assyriology at SOAS!
The first story is a very sad one. This public statement from those involved explains the situation very clearly. This is unambiguously bad news. It’s devastating for these colleagues, of course. And, as the statement suggests, it has consequences well beyond London. SOAS has been a node in international networks. Many specialists in the ancient Middle East, myself included, owe a debt to SOAS. This loss will be felt widely and deeply. If you want to specialise in cuneiform, now you’ll need to get into Cambridge or Oxford. As a small subject, assyriology has long been vulnerable to these wider forces, not just at SOAS and not just in the UK.