The Meaning of Color in Ancient Mesopotamia


In The Meaning of Color in Ancient Mesopotamia, Shiyanthi Thavapalan offers the first in-depth study of the words and expressions for colors in the Akkadian language (c. 2500-500 BCE). By combining philological analysis with the technical investigation of materials, she debunks the misconception that people in Mesopotamia had a limited sense of color and convincingly positions the development of Akkadian color language as a corollary of the history of materials and techniques in the ancient Near East.

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Biographical Note

Shiyanthi Thavapalan, Ph.D. (2017), Yale University, is Visiting Assistant Professor of Archaeology and Assyriology (2019-2020) at Brown University. She has published several articles on color and the history of Mesopotamian crafts and technologies.


All interested in Assyriology and Near Eastern archaeology as well as Classicists, cultural historians, museum specialists and linguistic anthropologists.

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