Accession Numbers of the Royal Ontario Museum

CDLN 2006:1

Cuneiform Digital Library Notes (ISSN: 1546-6566)

Published on 2006-08-04

© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

In preparing a paper recently on a topic of neo-Sumerian geography, I discovered some irregularities in the CDLI treatment of relevant texts in the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). A productive correspondence with Bob Englund at UCLA and with Bill Pratt of the ROM led to the elimination of most questions concerning the museum's accession system that apparently derived from insertion in the CDLI databank of pre-publication files from M. Sigrist's two Ur III ROM volumes (Neo-Sumerian Texts from the Royal Ontrario Musuem I: The Administration at Drehem, Betheda 1995; Neo-Sumerian Texts from the Royal Ontario Museum II: Administrative Texts Mainly from Umma, Betheda 2003). It may be helpful to others to make the Ontario numbering system clear in this note.

ROM originally numbered its cuneiform tablet collection in a D series (D denoting Mesopotamian material). In 1949 the D series was replaced with a 900 series denoting the year and other data pertaining to acquisition. The 900 series consists of three groups of numbers: first, the year of acquisition, then the lot the object is part of, and finally the object number itself. An accession number such as 925.62.234 thus describes the 234th object in lot 62 acquired in 1925. In some cases where the exact year of acquisition of a tablet is uncertain, but the latest year it could have entered the collection is known, the museum uses an “x” to denote that the tablet was acquired no later than a certain year. The 1910 accession series represents all previous cuneiform acquisitionsof ROM, and is thus to be referred to as 910x.

In the past, the object number was often dropped if there was only one object in an acquisition lot. This is the case with the accession number 972.356 (=Ontario 1, 102). Today one would number it 972.356.1 but in general, the Royal Ontario Museum does not revise these numbers.

In the editing of Sigrist's Ontario 1, two accession numbers were printed erroneously. The accession number 267.287.18 (Ontario 1, 133) should be 967.287.18 and the accession number 295.62.296 (Ontario 1, 147) should be 925.62.296.

Duplication of accession numbers in the volumes appear in three instances; the accession numbers concerned are 925.62.263 (Ontario 1, 26 and Ontario 1, 92); 925.62.270 (Ontario 1, 81 and Ontario 2, 213); 925.62.496 (Ontario 1, 39 and Ontario 2, 94). At present this issue can not be resolved (designations “a” and “b” in CDLI are artificial).

For unclear reasons, Marcel Sigrist included three digits in front of the accession numbers in the catalogue of texts in volume 1. Exactly what these three digits stand for remains uncertain. They are not included in the catalogue in volume 2.