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Achaemenid, Clay Cuneiform Tablet Fragment, c. 539–538 BC, clay, British Museum. © Trustees of the British Museum

Artful Thursdays “Cuneiform in Context”

Thursday, May 16, 2013
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Law Building
1001 Bissonnet Map & Directions

Speaker: Sarah Kielt Costello, University of Houston
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning

The MFAH is one of five venues to host the U.S. tour of the famed Cyrus Cylinder, a 6th-century artifact discovered in 1879 among the ruins of Babylon in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). Made of clay, now broken into several fragments, the Cyrus Cylinder was impressed with a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persian king Cyrus the Great (reigned c. 559–530 BC). By the time of his death, the Achaemenid Persian Empire was the largest the world had ever seen, stretching from Asia Minor in the west to northwestern India in the east.

In her illustrated talk, Sarah Kielt Costello looks at one of the world’s earliest civilizations, the structure and decoding of the world’s first known written language, and the significance of the Cyrus Cylinder.

Questions about the content of this program? E-mail

Artful Thursday Tickets
Secure your free tickets in advance! Order online (use your own printer); by phone at 713.639.7771; or in person at any MFAH admissions desk.

Exhibition Catalogue
The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. To order, click here or call The MFAH Shop at 713.639.7360.

Promotional support generously provided by Houston Public Radio—KUHF 88.7 FM & Classical 91.7 FM.
Refreshments generously provided by Starbucks locations at Rice Village and Shepherd/Harold.

All education programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment income from funds provided by Caroline Wiess Law; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; the Favrot Fund; and Gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.