Dr. Irving Finkel, an archeologist who is considered among the world’s foremost authorities on cuneiform (the oldest known type of writing), will deliver a lecture entitled “New Light on Noah’s Ark: An Astonishing Archaeological Discovery” at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 6 in the Great Room of Kaplan Hall on SUNY Orange’s Newburgh campus.
Finkel’s lecture will present archeological evidence that Noah’s Ark was not shaped as the sea-going vessel as has long been depicted, with a pointed stern and stem, but was actually a round raft-like craft built of reeds and designed merely to float. This revelation was recently discovered on a 3,700-year-old cuneiform tablet brought to England from the Middle East.
For the past 32 years, Finkel has worked at the British Museum in London as assistant keeper in the Department of the Middle East. He is the curator in charge of the museum’s vast collection of approximately 130,000 cuneiform artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia. Cuneiform is the process of pressing wedge-shaped symbols into clay tablets with a reed. The British Museum’s collection is considered the largest collection of any modern museum.
Finkel’s work involves reading and translating all sorts of inscriptions, sometimes working on ancient archives to identify manuscripts that belong together, or even join to one another. He has reviewed each of the objects in the museum’s collection at least twice.
He also works with children and adults to promote greater familiarity with the ancient Middle East, by means of lectures, workshops and media activity. He specializes in ancient Mesopotamian medicine and magic, and is also interested in literature, religion and the history of ideas in this part of the world. He is also interested in the history of board games throughout the world, and especially the preservation of traditional board games in many non-western societies.
Admission to Finkel’s lecture is free. His appearance is sponsored by the SUNY Orange Foundation and the College’s Global Studies Department. For more information, contact Paul Basinski, chair of Global Studies, at (845) 341-4828.