PROCLAC: Near East - Caucasus: languages, archaeology, cultures


What makes Research Unit UMR 7192 (PROCLAC: “Near East - Caucasus: languages, archaeology, cultures”) original is that it covers a fairly large geographical scope (from the Mediterranean to the Caucasus) over a long time period (from proto-history to the present day). The laboratory takes a multidisciplinary approach involving its members’ varied competence in multiple areas of social and human sciences: archaeology, linguistics, philosophy, history, geography and literature, among others. A specific focus is made on certain areas and periods, based on the current interests of members:

  • The Caucasus region in proto-historic times and from the Middle Ages to the present day;
  • Mesopotamia, particularly in the second millennium BC, both from the point of view of textual sources (i.e. the Royal Archives of Mari) and material culture;
  • The West Semitic world in the first millennium BC, including studies of biblical texts;
  • The medieval and modern Near East, with research on the geography of the Muslim world, military architecture (the Damascus city walls, the forts in Sirte, Libya) on cultural (Koranic manuscripts, Armenian chronicles) and diplomatic life (the Ottoman Empire).

UMR 7192 brings together members who work at four institutions: the Collège de France, the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, CNRS and INALCO.

The laboratory currently has 22 full members, 8 under contract, 22 associate members (emeritus, retired, members of other institutions with secondary attachments, foreign associate members), 3 administrative staff and many PhD students.


Ongoing projects:

– ANR: ARCHIBAB (Babylonian archives, 20th-17th centuries BC), 2011-2014, directed by D. Charpin,

– ANR/DFG: “ANCIENT KURA: Ancient Cultures of the South Caucasus”, directed by B. Lyonnet (CNRS) and B. Helwing (DAI-Berlin), 2009-2013,

– ANR/DFG: “HIGEOMES”, directed by N. Ziegler (CNRS) and E. Cancik-Kirschbaum (FU Berlin), 2011-2013,

– LIA (DRI at CNRS): “Azerbaijan: archaeology and archaeometry (AzAr2)”, directed by B. Lyonnet (CNRS),

– Archaeological mission at Tell Mohammed Diyab, directed by C. Nicolle,

– Publication of the Royal Archives of Mari, under the leadership of J.-M. Durand and D. Charpin,

– Program for the safeguard of manuscripts in the private libraries of Zabid (Yemen) directed by A. Regourd,

– 2013 ARP 1 – Topographical dictionary of Damascus in the mediaeval period, directed by Jean-Charles Ducène and Jean-Michel Mouton (EPHE, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée).

Completed projects of the 2009-2012 four-year contract:

– ANR/DFG: “COREGRAP: Composition and writings of the three ‘Great Prophets’ (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel)”, directed by Th. Römer (Collège de France) and U. Becker (University of Jena) in 2009-2010.