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The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World is a center for advanced scholarly research and graduate education, which aims to encourage particularly the study of the economic, religious, political and cultural connections between ancient civilizations. It offers both doctoral and postdoctoral programs, with the aim of training a new generation of scholars who will enter the global academic community and become intellectual leaders.

In an effort to embrace a truly inclusive geographical scope while maintaining continuity and coherence, the Institute focuses on the shared and overlapping periods in the development of cultures and civilizations around the Mediterranean basin, and across central Asia to the Pacific Ocean. The approaches of anthropology, archaeology, geography, geology, history, economics, sociology, art history, digital humanities, and the history of science and technology are as integral to the enterprise as the study of texts, philosophy, and the analysis of artifacts.


The ISAW Library is a world-class research library that supports the core academic areas represented by the ISAW faculty and students, as well as the interdisciplinary, cross-boundary approach to the ancient world that lies at the center of ISAW’s intellectual mission. Particular areas of strength include:

  • Archaeology and archaeological theory
  • Papyrology and ancient writing
  • Greek and Roman material culture and history
  • Egyptology
  • Mesopotamian Archaeology and Assyriology
  • Central Asia and Iran
  • Early China

Digital Library Projects

Digital Humanities and instruction

The ISAW Library is deeply integrated into the digital humanities curriculum and research enterprise of the Institute. It team-teaches a pro-seminar for humanists on various computational approaches and strategies for research, teaching and scholarly communications. It is also a leader in working with scholars on digital approaches to historical text, from XML tagging and text processing to natural language programming.

We routinely teach classes on:

  • Zotero (Citation management)
  • GIS (QGIS, ArcGIS)
  • Image searching and rights management
  • Static web generation for scholarly communications
  • Python for humanists

Digital Publications

The ISAW Library is a partner with Digital Library Technology Services and the NYU Press in the publication of ISAW Monographs