The student H. Fiedler merges the present and the past by explaining to to the fifth grade students the political history of the modern Orient.

The student Kerstin Feller shows how cuneiform scripts were developed from earlier character shapes.

Professor Hartmut Kühne demonstrates the use of a cylinder seal, an important instrument for the authorization of documents and procedures for the cuneiform script cultures with their clay tablets (similar to the use of the modern-day signature).

Professor Hartmut Kühne presses a cylinder seal in clay.

Students trying their hand at scrolling the seal.

Professor Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum, the project leader, ponders with two students as to how their own name is written in this script.

So many characters that, at first glance, all look the same!

Spellbound, the students write on their clay tablets.

The Ancient Near East and Europe: The Presence of the Past

Professor Dr. Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum, Freie Universität Berlin

Outside a small circle of professionals and interested amateurs, very few people know that some of the fundamental elements of modern western cultures have their roots in the Ancient Near East. This project aims to introduce students and teachers from seven Berlin schools to the discipline of Ancient Near Eastern studies. The students will learn about the archeological and philological methods that are used by scholars in this field.

Teachers and academics will jointly develop strategies to link the project to regular class work and introduce topics from the Ancient Near East into the curricula for various school subjects like history, religious education, German, and mathematics. School pupils will also meet the scholars face to face in several project modules. There are workshops in which pupils formulate a specific question within a set thematic framework, which is then studied with support from the scholars, specialists from the Vorderasiatisches Museum, and university students. For example, pupils will study not only the development and use of Near Eastern cuneiform script, but also the efforts of modern archeologists and philologists to decipher them. The project also includes a summer school for which pupils may apply with their projects.