After the invasion of my country, Iraq, in 2003, the destruction and looting of innumerable historical treasures took place. Thousands of pieces robbed with the passivity (if not the collusion) of the American troops disappeared in the Baghdad museum, where I worked.


Among the thousands of pieces that were missing and could not be recovered, there were a series of exceptional ceramic objects (due to their rarity and state of preservation) that I had been working on for years in the museum.

 

They consisted of two pieces in an integral state, and a multitude of fragments; They were fired clay discs between 30 and 40cm in diameter, which had bas-reliefs on their edges and a spiral that covered the entire upper surface of it. Chronologically, due to the context in which they were found and the cuneiform inscriptions that they presented in the lower surface, written in the Akkadian language (Paleo-Babylonian period) and corresponding to the reign of Hammurabi (1722-1686 BC according to the short chronology or 1792-1750 BC according to the average chronology); the thermoluminescence tests confirmed dating.


After the looting and destruction that occurred in the museum, only a small number of images from their original cataloging and my study notes are preserved, since at that time the museum's pieces had not yet been digitized and data storage in the cloud was still three years to go (Google docs was born in 2006). Part of these images and files are presented on this page.

 


Despite the fact that spirals are frequent as an ornamental or initiatory motif in many cultures, they had several peculiarities:


- Perfection in the execution of the grooves. In fact, in a preliminary examination it was believed that these grooves had not been engraved, but corresponded to the imprint of a mold. After more detailed analysis and the use of microscope images, the use of sophisticated tools for engraving on clay began to be considered.


- Their length, beyond the ornamental motif that is indicated in various cultures, these pieces had between 25 and 40 continuous turns, without interruption or crossing between them.

 


It was in the study by microscope when I noticed that the tracing of the coils had different types of "anomalies" on the sides of the groove, this image is one of those that I was able to keep and is the one that I put next ... now it may seem obvious, but then it was hard for me to associate them with the similar stretch marks produced by the vibration in the grooves of a vinyl ...

 

I presented this approach (with absolute reservations) to my colleagues in the museum's conservation department, and it was decided to prepare a rudimentary reproduction system similar to gramophones (almost as a joke, I confess), and which consisted of a parchment membrane of about 10 cm in diameter; At its center was attached a thin bronze needle, the opposite end of which slid down the groove, all mounted on a pivoting wooden rod. The movement of the plate was initially achieved by rotating on a platform manually, and later a small ceramic lathe was used.


To our surprise, under the noise a voice seemed to be heard, as well as some kind of instrument… the original recording can be heard here. I recommend listening to it with headphones given the very low quality of the extracted audio.

 

 


In February 2003, I enlisted the help of a linguistic colleague specializing in Semitic languages, who pointed out to me that he appreciated a few single words that were very similar to the extinct ancient Aramaic. Very little later, on March 20, the North American invasion occurred and the investigation was stopped.


As is known, between April 8 and 12 the looting and destruction of a large part of the museum's funds took place, among which were the pieces on which he worked ... the vast majority of photographs, recordings, etc. were also destroyed ...


The subsequent political situation, as I denounce on the home page, forced a multitude of intellectuals among whom I am in exile ...
Today, far from any link with archeology and my country, I can only try to spread the knowledge that was lost in that invasion.

 

 

 

 

 

 
  archaeoacoustic1  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
archaeoacoustic2
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 
   
     

NOTICE:


1.- I'm not an engineer, I don't know how these clay discs were recorded. In my work at the museum we were able to reproduce the content on the best preserved disc with very basic means (parchment diaphragm, wooden arm, bronze needle), and its result is the audio file shown.

2.- I am not an anthropologist or a linguist either. When I showed it to specialized colleagues from these disciplines at the university, they pointed out that the few words that were distinguished corresponded to an archaic Aramaic language.

3.- Due to my condition of exile, at the present time I survive with few economic resources; the fact is that I have no means to continue my investigations, which added to the disappearance of the pieces (with the exception of some fragments that I still preserve), makes this website my only resource to make my knowledge public.