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Cracking Ancient Codes: Cuneiform Writing - with Irving Finkel

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The Physics of Magnetic Monopoles - with Felix Flicker

In physics, why is it that things can have an electric charge, but not a magnetic charge? Can you get a magnet with only a north or south pole?
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Felix Flicker explores the magnetic monopoles theoretically predicted to exist in ‘spin ices’ and how this could lead to fundamental advances in electronics with the possibility of magnetic currents that overcome physical limitations faced by electrical currents today.

Watch the Q&A:

Felix Flicker is a theoretical physicist working at Oxford University. He holds the Astor Junior Research Fellowship at New College. His interests lie in the application of geometry and topology to condensed matter systems.

This lecture was filmed in the Ri on 17 February 2020.

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The Babylonian mind

Many of the concepts you live by today have Babylonian ancestry. Hours being split into 60 minutes, minutes being split into 60 seconds – that’s Babylonian. Zodiac signs and predicting the future – also Babylonian.

Take a wander through some of the British Museum’s Babylonian collection with curator Irving Finkel and discover how much of what you’ve done today could have just as easily been done thousands of years ago.

Originally made for Babylon: Myth and Reality.
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#JLF 2016: The World’s Worst Script- Cuneiform

Irving Finkel introduced by William Dalrymple
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#ZEEJLFatBL : From Hieroglyphs to Emojis

David Levy, Irving Finkel and Michael Erdman in conversation with Pragya Tiwari Presented by Bagri Foundation
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Irving Finkle University of Dundee Christmas Lecture 2014

University of Dundee Christmas Lecture 2014,
In this lecture, Dr Finkel will tell his amazing story of receiving the rare tablet, the discoveries this presented when he started to decode the inscriptions and what happened when he went on to build the Ark.

The Oldest Written Story on Earth - Gilgamesh 2/3 Anunnaki 1/3 Man 100% Sumerian

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What knowledge lies in our ancient past? A team of renowned scholars has come together to go beyond the surface-level myths, artifacts, and mysteries found in ancient texts and lost cities from around the world. Journey to decipher the code scattered throughout ancient civilizations.

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The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the great works of literature, and one of the oldest. It was first composed in ancient Mesopotamia during the early second millennium BC, in the Akkadian language


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Cuneiform - Finkel, Dumbrill & Habib

8th May 2019, British Museum
Lecture by Irving Finkel, Richard Dumbrill & Sévan Habib

How does ancient Assyrian language sound?

Read more about the Assyrians at:

Have you ever wondered how does the ancient Assyrian language sound? In this video you would hear two scripts read by Dr. Irving Finkel. Dr. Finkel is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection- some 130,000 pieces -- of any modern museum. This 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.

The first script is the words of Cyrus the Great (سخنان کوروش کبیر), the Persian King and the King of Babylon. The second script is a piece of poetry about the Story of the Flood.

Unveiling the Word of Gods: Deciphering Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Oxford College assistant professor of art history and studio art Dr. Dobbin-Bennett discusses the historical contexts surrounding the interpretations of Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Her lecture from March 6, 2019, describes the death of hieroglyphic writing as the result of Roman empire building, its partial incorporation into the Coptic language, and the subsequent attempts through the centuries of deciphering these complex symbols, which can have meaning as ideograms (pictures), phonemes (sounds), and lexemes (words/phrases).

Mesopotamian ghostbusting with Irving Finkel I Curator's Corner +

Is your neighbourhood infested with the ancient Mesopotamian spirits of portly women or wise sages from distant times? Fear not dear viewer! Irving Finkel is here to show you how the exorcists of Assyria drove out those pesky spectral interlopers in another spooktacular episode of Curator's Corner +.

#CuratorsCorner #IrvingFinkel #ghosts
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How to perform necromancy with Irving Finkel

Ever wanted to know how to summon an ancient Mesopotamian ghost? Curator Irving Finkel can show you how by revealing his favourite magic ritual from over 2,700 years ago.

You can find this cuneiform tablet featuring necromancy on the Museum’s collection online:



Ghost Story Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


1980s Horror Music 1 by Chad Walrus

The Tower of Babel with British Museum curator Irving Finkel

See various depictions of the Tower of Babel through the ages. With British Museum curator Irving Finkel

Irving Finkel - Cuneiform Writing, 7 May 2019 @ British Museum

Deciphering the world's oldest rule book | Irving Finkel | Curator's Corner pilot

Irving Finkel has possibly the coolest job in the world – he’s curator of cuneiform at the British Museum!

Since 1979 he’s been trawling the Museum’s 130,000 clay tablets for clues about life in ancient Mesopotamia. In this film, he tells us about a particular tablet he found that contains the rules of a board game – a board game that he’s been obsessed with since childhood!

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We’ve made pilot episodes for four series that we want you to watch. Tell us which one you like by giving the video (or videos) a ‘Like’. The video with the most likes by 23 Dec 2015 will have a series made from January 2016.

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Cuneiform: Irving Finkel & Jonathan Taylor bring ancient inscriptions to life

A brief look into a new book that will bring insight into the world's oldest writing system by authors Irving Finkel and Jonathan Taylor, curators of the world's largest collection of cuneiform tablets at the British Museum.

Cunieform by Irving Finkel and Jonathan Taylor is available here:
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Ancient Demons with Irving Finkel I Curator's Corner season 3 episode 7

Irving Finkel talks Mesopotamian demons, ghosts and sprites and how to deal with them.

To find out more visit the British Museum blog:

#CuratorsCorner #IrvingFinkel #demons

Irving Finkel teaches how to write cuneiform I Curator's Corner Season 4 Episode 8

When presented with a meeting-free Friday afternoon we did what any normal person who has access to Irving Finkel would do - we asked him to teach us cuneiform. We're not really sure Nick learned anything, but hopefully you will.


The BP exhibition I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria
8 November 2018 – 24 February 2019
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Irving Finkel | The Ark Before Noah: A Great Adventure

Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper I with responsibility for cuneiform in the Department of the Middle East, British Museum.

This talk, illustrated by a PowerPoint, will describe what befell the speaker after one quite remarkable cuneiform tablet was brought for examination to the British Museum in London. The inscription on this four-thousand-year-old tablet led to a series of altogether unexpected discoveries, demanding a whole new look at Noah and his Ark, and culminating in a book and a documentary film.

Our lectures are free and available to the public thanks to the generous support of our members. To become a member, please visit:

Cracking Ancient Codes: Egyptian Hieroglyphs - with Andrew Robinson

How did scholars begin to decipher ancient scripts like the hieroglyphs?
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Buy Andrew's biography of Jean-François Champollion Cracking the Egyptian Code:

Very soon after the birth of the first written language - cuneiform - ancient Egypt developed its own writing: the hieroglyphic script, immortalised in the Rosetta Stone kept in the British Museum, which consists of a single royal edict, dated 196 BC, written in the hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek alphabetic scripts.

Andrew Robinson is the author of more than twenty-five books, issued by leading general and academic publishers. In addition to Cracking the Egyptian Code, they include The Last Man Who Knew Everything (a biography of Thomas Young): , and Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World’s Undeciphered Scripts: A former literary editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement, he also writes reviews and features for newspapers, magazines and journals, in both the arts and sciences.

This talk was filmed in the Ri on 18 January 2019.

Watch the second talk on ancient codes, all about the cuneiform language by Irving Finkel:

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A very special thank you to our Patreon supporters who help make these videos happen, especially:
Dave Ostler, David Lindo, David Schick, Erik Shepherd, Greg Nagel, Ivan Korolev, Joe Godenzi, Julia Stone, Lasse T. Stendan, Lester Su, Osian Gwyn Williams, Paul Brown, Radu Tizu, Rebecca Pan, Robert Hillier, and Roger Baker.
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Subscribe for regular science videos:
The Ri is on Patreon:
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Our editorial policy:
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Cracking Ancient Codes: Cuneiform Writing - with Irving Finkel

Writing is generally agreed to be among the greatest inventions in human history, perhaps the greatest invention, since it made history possible.
Subscribe for regular science videos:

You can read more about Irving's quest to explore the Noah's Ark myth in The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood:
or learn more about cuneiform writing in Cuneiform:

Writing seems to have been invented in the late fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia in the form of wedge-shaped marks pressed into soft clay with a reed stylus: the script known as cuneiform. Through his work on this ancient language, Irving Finkel, has uncovered amazing secrets from over five thousand years ago, including the story behind Noah’s ark.

Irving Finkel is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia at the British Museum, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection of any modern museum. This 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 is the author of The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood.

This talk was filmed in the Ri on 18 January 2019.

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A very special thank you to our Patreon supporters who help make these videos happen, especially:
Dave Ostler, David Lindo, David Schick, Erik Shepherd, Greg Nagel, Ivan Korolev, Joe Godenzi, Julia Stone, Kellas Lowery, Lasse T. Stendan, Lester Su, Osian Gwyn Williams, Paul Brown, Radu Tizu, Rebecca Pan, Robert Hillier, Roger Baker, and Will Knott.
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Subscribe for regular science videos:
The Ri is on Patreon:
and Twitter:
and Facebook:
and Tumblr:
Our editorial policy:
Subscribe for the latest science videos:

Product links on this page may be affiliate links which means it won't cost you any extra but we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase through the link.

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