Ancient Arabia: Languages and Cultures

AALC Project News

The Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia [OCIANA]

Phase 1 of the Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia [OCIANA] project was funded for one year by the John Fell Fund of the University of Oxford and was completed at the end of December 2012.

Phase 2 of the project began on 1st October 2013 and will end in March 2017. It is funded by a generous grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain. It is based at the Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford, and is led by Professor Jeremy Johns and Michael Macdonald. Dr Ali Al-Manaser and Dr Carmen Hidalgo-Chacón Diez are entering the data and Daniel Burt is creating the structure of the database and managing all IT aspects of the project (see below). Ms Jennifer Brooke-Lockie has supervised the scanning of over 100,000 black-and-white and colour photographs, and facsimiles from the collections of a large number of institutions and scholars who have generously made them available to the project. It is the Project's policy to make available all known photographs and facsimiles of each text, together with accompanying rock drawings, in the record for each inscription, and these photographs will be downloadable free at a publishable resolution. In this phase all the Safaitic, Hismaic, Taymanitic, Dadanitic and Hasaitic inscriptions known up to November 2016 are being entered.

Some 25,000 inscriptions are already available to the public in OCIANA and a great deal of information about the individual scripts and the background to literacy in ancient Arabia is available here.

OCIANA is working very closely with the Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions [DASI] at Pisa which is making an online corpus of all the Ancient South Arabian inscriptions, and it is intended that eventuallly it will be possible to search all the ancient inscriptions of Arabia through a single portal.

In Phase 3 all the Thamudic inscriptions will be entered, and any other Ancient North Arabian inscriptions published since November 2016.