Ancient Near Eastern Studies Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

Cornell University Library maintains a strong research collection covering all aspects of the cultures and civilizations of the ancient Near East: archaeology, epigraphy, language and literature, religion, government, economic and social conditions, etc. General chronological boundaries reach from the Bronze Age to the rise of Islam. Geographically, the scope of the collection extends to Mesopotamia, Persia, Asia Minor, Syria/Palestine, Arabia, Egypt/Sudan and North Africa. In response to emerging interest in multiple Cornell departments, the Library is giving special attention to materials on the South Caucasus in the context of ancient Near Eastern studies.


The primary users of materials in the collection are Cornell faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and visiting scholars in Anthropology, Archaeology, Classics, History, History of Art, and Near Eastern Studies. The graduate field of History of Art, Archaeology, and Visual Studies offers a Ph.D. program in the History of Art and Archaeology; the concentration in Archaeology emphasizes Ancient, Near Eastern, Classical, and Southeast Asian art.


collection strength

Within the specified geographical, historical, and subject parameters, Olin Library holds most reports of standard excavations/expeditions, and full runs of the major journals. The Library maintains acquires book series from all major publishers, and attempts to add all new major journals. Selection of monographs is more selective.

collection level

  • research 

geographical guidelines

Geographically coverage extends to: (1) Egypt, including adjacent African areas showing strong Egyptian influence (e.g., Nubia, Sudan) (2) Levant, including all non-Israelite cultures that existed in what is now Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine and Jordan. (e.g., Ugarit, Ebla, Phoenicia) (3) Mesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia etc.) (4) Ancient Iran, including Iranian culture in any parts of present day Afghanistan and the Caucasus. (5) Arabian Peninsula. (6) Anatolia, including all non-Greek cultures (e.g., Lydian, Hittite).

areas of significant geographic coverage

country (self-governing)

  • Armenia 
  • Azerbaijan 
  • Cyprus 
  • Egypt
  • Georgia 
  • Iran 
  • Iraq 
  • Israel 
  • Jordan 
  • Lebanon 
  • Libya 
  • Sudan 
  • Syria 
  • Tunisia 
  • Turkey 

language guidelines

English, German, Italian, and French are the principal languages collected. Publications in other languages are acquired selectively. For materials pertaining to ancient Near Eastern studies in the South Caucasian context, Russian- and vernacular-language resources fall within the scope of the Slavic & East European Studies collection.


  • French 
  • German 
  • Italian 

chronological guidelines

This library subject collection is focused on the Near East from prehistoric times to around 500 C.E. Publications from the 19th century to the present represent the bulk of the Library’s holdings in archaeology.


  • Ancient Israel and Biblical archaeology fall within the scope of the Library's Jewish Studies collection.

material types

The Library acquires the major international journals and monographic series in the field, as well as new individual book titles from the U.S. and Europe. Many journals (current issues and back files) and, increasingly, books are made available in electronic form.


housed in

  • Library Annex 
  • Olin Library 

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

The Library's Rare and Manuscript Collections hold 197 cuneiform tablets, most dating from the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000-1595 B.C.E.) and some from the Ur III period (ca. 2100-2000 B.C.E.). The Library's cuneiform holdings complement larger collections housed in the Jonathan and Jeannette Rosen Ancient Near Eastern Studies Seminar in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. All are represented in the digital Cuneiform Library at Cornell University, which is hosted by the Library (

related library subject collection


associated with organization

academic department

  • Classics (CLASS)
  • History of Art and Visual Studies (ART H)
  • Near Eastern Studies (NES)

graduate field/program

  • Anthropology 
  • Archaeology 
  • Classics 
  • History 
  • History of Art, Archaeology and Visual Studies 
  • Near Eastern Studies 

academic unit

  • Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS)


  • Anthropology (ANTHR)
  • History (HIST)


library contact

  • Cole, Virginia A. -  Archaeology, Classics, History, & Medieval Studies Librarian