Richard Dumbrill and Irving Finkel invited at Harvard University

Course name and term:
Ancient Lives (Harvard College/GSAS 65695, NELC ANE103).
Interactive Lecture-Concert:

The proposal for the Elson Family Arts Initiative is to fund a lecture/concert for the students of ‘Ancient Lives’ with archaeo-musicologist and expert in ancient Mesopotamian music, Prof. Richard Dumbrill of the Institute of Musical Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, and Assistant Curator at the British Museum, Dr. Irving Finkel. The former is the world’s leading authority on ancient music, and author of The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East (2005). The latter is a recognized musician and archaeo-musicologist, and perhaps the best-known interpreter of the ancient Near-East in the written and electronic media – a sort of David Attenborough of the ancient history. Together, Dumbrill and Finkel direct the ICONEA center that coordinates international scholarship and hosts annual conferences on ancient music.
Students will meet the guests at an evening event held in the 3rd-floor galleries of the Harvard Semitic Museum. There they will be introduced to the world’s oldest surviving music (19th – 14th c. BCE) and have the possibility to interact with reconstructed musical instruments brought by the professors (hands-on/kinetic learning).
A video recording of the event will be made for use in future iterations of the course. The concert/lecture can be turned into a semi-public performance for the benefit of the wider Harvard community. It has the support of the Museum leadership, and will be part of an effort for the collections to enhance the NELC Department’s pedagogical mission, while NELC provides academic support for the Museum’s new public strategy


 Ahmed Mukhtar, John Macginnis and Richard Dumbrill just back from Iraq

where they attended the fourth Babylon Festival for Arts and Culture. Kuluna Babyliun, meaning ‘we are all Babylonians’.









The festival, instigated by Dr Ali ash-Shallah, MP and director of Iraqi Media, included lectures on poetry, plays, films, art exhibitions, music, archaeology. The closing ceremony included a concert by the Iraqi National Symphony orchestra which attracted a crowd of about 1,500 gathered in the Hellenistic theatre at the site of Babylon.


Richard Dumbrill, John Macginnis and Ahmed Mukhtar gave a lecture at the site of Babylon, for students of the University of Babylon, in the museum courtyard about the tragic destruction of archaeological sites and museums in Northern Iraq and about the musical heritage of the country.








Richard John and Ahmed were invited to speak at the University of Babylon where they were greeted by the Chancellor, Professor Dr Adel H. al-Baghdadi









We visited Borsippa and Kish









and attended a concert in Dar Babylon (Babylon House, in Old Baghdad, a beautiful Late Ottoman house restored by the foundation. This house will hosts international students who will able to study there in a serene environment.









Richard Dumbrill went to Beirut to attend the Global Week for Syria where concerts and lectures were organised by Hannibal Saad to raise money for Syrian refugees. Richard Dumbrill, Jean During from the Sorbonne and Laurent Aubert from Geneva spoke about the Syrian Musical Heritage.


Laurent and Jean gave a great recital












wish you all a prosperous academic new year with loads of cuneiform tablets of musical theory, of wonderful iconographic pieces and seals, and loads of extant instruments dug out from the sands of Mesopotamia and around – in our dreams!

The past year has been very busy with Richard Dumbrill’s missions in Iraq and Lebanon and conferences in other locations. ICONEA 2014 was by far the most animated as diverging views clashed at the Oriental Institute and resulted in stimulating further research.

ICONEA 2014 hosted BIBAL scholars who came to celebrate the late Professor McClain’s long and prolific life. Amine Beyhom concluded his comprehensive book on Byzantine Music, certainly the most reliable to date for which we all congratulate him.

I wish particularly to welcome Julia Katarina in the ICONEA team. Julia is an Arabist, studied archaeology, she is a musician, singer, cellist and oudist, as well as specialised in music psychology and has many more hidden talents which I discover everyday. Both Julia and myself will be carrying field work in the Near East during the next years, as well as research work in the UK..Julia will be my co-editor for ICONEA publications and other musical and organological productions. You can contact Julia on jkatarina@iconea.org







Dear ICONEA-NEMO Members, fellows, friends and supporters,

We are pleased to inform you that we are now hosted at the FACULTY OF ORIENTAL STUDIES at the University of Oxford, affiliated to the ARAM SOCIETY FOR SYRO-MESOPOTAMIAN STUDIES founded by Dr. Shafiq Abouzayd. Our seminars and conferences will be held, principally at the Faculty. ICONEA-NEMO retains its affiliations with other institutions such as the Sorbonne in Paris, Harvard in the USA, AUB in Beirut, and at the Institute of Musical Research of the University of London and other institutions.


Our new coordinates are now: ARAM – ICONEA – NEMO – UK, FACULTY OF ORIENTAL STUDIES, University of Oxford, Pusey Lane, Oxford OX1 2LE – UK

Tel: +44 20 7751 5770; Mobile: +44 07930 150 600

rdumbrill@iconea.org; www.iconea.org

All postal mail to be addressed to: Richard Dumbrill 10 Tadema Road, LONDON SW10 0NU – UK



Illo Humphrey – Ph. D. | HDR | was elected the 28th of June, 2014, Fellow and Member of the Board of ICONEA-NEMO at the Faculty of Oriental Studies of the University of Oxford, Pusey Lane, Oxford OX1 2LE – UK: http://www.iconea.org/?cat=23.

ICONEA-NEMO are honoured by Illo Humphrey’s acceptance to be a Fellow and a Member of our research groups. Dr. Illo Humphrey, Mediaevalist | Musicologist | Proto-Philologist, earned, on the 23rd of June 2014, at the University of Paris X-Nanterre (since 2007: Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense), his post Doctoral Habilitation Degree to conduct Graduate, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Research, under the Direction of Professor Iegor Reznikoff. The Defense Jury was composed of Pr. Dr. Frédéric Billiet (Université Paris IV-Sorbonne); Pr. Dr. Richard J. Dumbrill (University of London); Pr. Dr. Maurice Sachot (Université Marc Bloch-Strasbourg); Pr. Dr. Iégor Reznikoff (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense); Pr. Dr. Fabio Troncarelli (Università degli Studi della Tuscia-Viterbo); Pr. Dr. Étienne Wolff (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense); the Pre-Rapporteurs were: Pr. Dr. Richard J. Dumbrill (University of London), Dr. James Grier (University of Western Ontario), Pr. Dr. Massimo Privitera (Università degli Studi di Palermo).

Dr. Humphrey’s Habilitation degree was unanimously approved by all members of the jury who all recognized Illo Humphrey’s mastery of Boethius, of Ancient and Mediaeval Musicology, of Proto-Philology (i. e. ecdotic sciences including: the study of main texts, glosses, punctuation signs, notae sententiarum, that is to say diacritical cross-reference and omission signs, etc.), Latin Stenography (i. e. Tironian Notes), palaeography, codicology, etc.

Dr. Humphrey’s Habilitation thesis, based on fundamental research exploring the influence of the philosophy of numbers and proportions (ἡ toῦ riqmoὺ osίa: Platon, Timaios¶ 35-36  |  substantia numeri: Boethius, De arithmetica I,2) and the philosophy of musical intervals and musical sound (ϕθόγγος, -ου: Platon, Timaios¶ 80 | phthongos: Boethius, De musica I, 8) on the genesis of consciousness (τῆς ψυχῆς γένεσις: Platon, Timaios¶ 35-36 |animæ  generatio| anima mundi: Boethius, De arithmetica II,2 | Boethius De musica I, 1) and on the Cognitive Process in general (gnώmh|cognitio) from Plato to Boethius, was entitled in French:

Autour de Boèce: Genèse musicale et arithmétique de l’âme

Title in English:

On Boethius: The Genesis of the Soul-Consciousness, its musical and mathematical Implications

Title in German:

Über Boethius: Die musikalische und mathematische Entstehung der menschlichen Seele




Dr Illo Humphrey, HDR