Professor of Assyriology; Fellow of Wolfson
Faculty / College Address:
Oriental Institute / Wolfson College
I am a specialist of the pre-Classical cultures and languages of the Near East. I have written on early Babylonian socio-economic history, early Near Eastern writing systems, and Sumerian literature. I work on the decipherment of proto-Elamite, the last undeciphered writing system from the ancient Near East with a substantial number of sources (more than 1600 tablets divided between the Louvre Museum and the National Museum of Iran). Initially inspired and influenced by archaic cuneiform from Mesopotamia, proto-Elamite was a very short-lived writing system (ca. 3100 - 2900 BC) used across much of what today constitute the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As a co-PI of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative <https://cdli.ucla.edu> I seek to document and safeguard Mesopotamia’s contribution to our shared world history by making its ancient records available freely online.
- digitization and publication of proto-Elamite and cuneiform tablets in the National Museum of Iran, Tehran
- re-edition of ca. 1000 proto-Elamite texts and fragments in the Louvre
- proto-Elamite sign-list
- digitization of cylinder seals in the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Ashmolean Museum see http://sespoa.huma-num.fr
- History and Civilizations of the Ancient Near East
- Akkadian and Sumerian texts, all levels
Ur III texts in the Schøyen Collection. Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology Volume 39 (Eisenbrauns, Pennsylvania State University Press University Park, PA). 2020. (https://www.eisenbrauns.org/books/titles/978-1-57506-738-4.html)
Proto-Elamite Tablets and Fragments. Textes cunéiforme du Louvre 32 (Khéops / Louvre éditions Publishing, Paris). 2019.
(with B. Lafont and N. Ouraghi). “Nouvelles recherches sur la collection des sceaux-cylindres orientaux de la Bibliothèque nationale de France”, Syria 96, 2019, p. xxx.
(with K. Kelley, D. Young, K. Martinez and J. Hare). A structured light approach to imaging ancient Near Eastern cylinder seals: how efficient 3D imaging may facilitate corpus-wide research. In K. Kelley and R. Wood (eds.), Digital Imaging of Artefacts: Developments in Methods and Aims. Archeopress (2018). 47-72.
(with Laura F. Hawkins and Kathryn Kelley). Labor Administration in Proto-Elamite Iran. In A. Garcia-Ventura, ed., What’s in a Name? Terminology related to Work Force and Job Categories in the Ancient Near East. Alter Orient und Altes Testament (2018). 15-44.
The Proto-Elamite Writing System. In J. Álvarez-Mon, G. P. Basello, Y. Wicks eds., The Elamite World. Routledge 2018. 383-396.
"The Production and Storage of Food in Early Iran". In M. Bianca D’Anna, C. Jauß, J. C. Johnson, eds., Food and Urbanisation. Material and Textual Perspectives on Alimentary Practice in Early Mesopotamia. ORIGINI Preistoria e protostoria delle civiltà antiche 37.1 (2015). 67-72.
"Corrections to J. L. Dahl, 'A Babylonian Gang of Potters'". Cuneiform Digital Library Notes 2014:16 (2014).
Link to Publons page: https://publons.com/author/1625457/jacob-l-dahl#profile
Link to ResearchGate page: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jacob_Dahl
Boards and Committees:
Current DPhil students:
- William Skelton
- Antonia Edwards-Freshwater
- Lynn-Salammbô Zimmermann
- Former research students:
- Parsa Daneshmand, now visiting Professor at the Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations, Changchun China.
- Eva R. Miller, now Teaching Fellow for the Ancient Middle East at UCL.
- Kathryn E. Kelley (Gender, age, and labour organization in the earliest texts from Mesopotamia and Iran (c. 3300-2900 BC).
- Maciej Wencel.
- Laura F. Hawkins (The Adaptation of Cuneiform to Write Semitic: an examination of syllabic sign values in late third and early second millennium Mesopotamia and Syria), now Allston Burr Resident Dean at Quincy House, Harvard.
- Moudhy al-Rashid (Mental Illness and Mental Health in Ancient Mesopotamia), now JRF at Wolfson College, Oxford.
- John Nicholas Reid (The Evolution of Slavery and Labour Practices in Early Mesopotamia from Uruk to the Fall of Babylon in the Longue Durée), now Assistant Professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida.
- Christopher Metcalf, now Fellow and Tutor in Classics at The Queen's College, Oxford.