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Ancient Near Eastern Studies

Collection Details

Ancient Near Eastern Studies held at SOAS Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

Covers the languages and cultures of the Ancient Near East, encompassing virtually the whole range of humanities, social sciences, as well as astronomy, and mathematics. The monographs are in all major European languages and deal with Akkadian, Sumerian, Hittite, Elamite, Hurrian, Egyptian (ancient), Coptic, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Eblaite, Aramaic. The material includes archaeological reports and surveys, text editions of numerous cuneiform and some hieroglyphic texts, studies, encyclopaedias, bibliographies, and dictionaries. There are about 6,000 monographs, 50 runs of periodicals and a number of theses, several submitted to SOAS, and others published by University Microfilms International.

History and development

Developed mainly since 1948 with the establishment of the chair of Ancient Semitic languages and cultures. It was considerably enriched by the bequest of the Library of C.J.Gadd in 1970.


19th and 20th century texts of Anciant Near Eastern languages and literatures. One of the best collections of text editions and accompanying studies in Britain and constitute an excellent resource for teaching and research in the field.

General arrangement and access regulations

Chiefly open access, arranged by language or country, periodicals in a separate sequence.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa.


Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey.

Languages of material

Akkadian, Aramaic, Coptic, Egyptian (Ancient), Elamite, English, French, German, Hittite, Italian, Phoenician, Semitic (Other), Sumerian, Ugaritic.


Agriculture, Anthropology, Archaeology, Arts, Communication and media, Development, Economics, Education, Environmental sciences, Geography, History, International relations, Language, Law, Literature, Medicine, Music, Philosophy, Politics and government, Religion, Science and technology, Sociology.

Languages as linguistic focus

Akkadian, Aramaic, Coptic, Egyptian (Ancient), Elamite, Hittite, Phoenician, Sumerian, Ugaritic.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Archival materials (includes non-published & mixed material), Books, Serials, Theses, Visual materials (includes photographs, prints, drawings, videos & films).

Total size of collection

6,000 monographs, 50 periodical titles.

Size of collection - western

6,000 monographs, 50 periodical titles

Collection Management Information

The collection is being actively developed, and the average intake has stayed the same.

Annual intake

200 volumes

Content date range

5000 BC to present

Interlibrary loan procedure

Collection policy

The Library aims to acquire the important contributions to Asian and African scholarship published anywhere in the world in the humanities and social sciences, as well as representative collections of literature written in Asian and African languages. It aims to be responsive to changing interests and new developments; at the same time it bears in mind its role as a leading national and international resource for Asian and African studies. For the text of the policy apply to the Director of Library and Information Services.

Retention policy

At present all material is retained with the following exceptions: outdated editions of teaching texts, multiple copies of teaching material no longer used, material for which there is no evident demand, material which has been replaced by microform, unless it is of historic value. Academic advice is normally sought before a decision is taken. Apply to the Director of Library and Information Services for further information.

Collection Catalogue Information


The online library catalogue offers access to all material acquired since 1989 and a substantial part of the material collected prior to that date. Work to add records for the earlier collections from the card catalogue is ongoing and by the end of 2002 all material acquired since 1979 will be included as well as significant parts of the rest of the collection. For those who cannot access the card catalogue on site the Library's catalogues have been published (details below).

Catalogue transliteration schemes

Since 1989 all records have been created using the current Library of Congress transliteration schemes, with the exception of Japanese which uses Modified Hepburn. As records are added to the online catalogue the transliterated records are being updated to these schemes.

Catalogue scripts

The current cataloguing and some of the earlier records for the following languages contain author and title fields in the relevant script: Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Ladino, Persian, Yiddish.

Collection printed catalogues

Library catalogue of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
School of Oriental and African Studies
Boston MA: G.K. Hall & Co., 1963-1978
3 supplements were published by the same publisher in 1968, 1973 and 1978. IDC published a fifth and final supplement in microfiche for 1978-1989 in 1990

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