Robert Middeke Conlin’s PHD defense, 19th June 2015

The SAW project is delighted to announce that Robert Middeke Conlin (ERC SAW Project, SPHERE, Université Paris Diderot) will defend his PHD  on the 19th of June 2015, in Room Valentin, Condorcet building, University Paris Diderot.


The Making of a Scribe : How Rounding Numbers was Expressed in the Scribal Curriculum and Adapted for Administrative Purposes

Abstract – How do modern historians cope with error or mistake in texts? This is an essential question for anyone studying the histories, whether history of science or a political history. The researcher must also ask how error is to be defined: These are often sources of difficulty for researcher which must be crossed. However, this dissertation sees value in the study of error and mistake. We can describe better how an actor was affected by his surroundings through error and mistake, and in the process even help understand these surroundings. This dissertation uses rounding numbers to enter into a discussion of error and mistake. As its name implies, discussion is in two parts: how rounding numbers was expressed in the scribal curriculum and how rounding numbers was adapted for administrative purposes. Thus, extensive textual analysis is carried out, both of economic documents and mathematical texts, in pursuit of this endeavor. Study of economic texts, of which a large part are unedited, focuses on Old Babylonian archives (the beginning of the second millennium BCE) derived largely from illicit digs but which probably come from the region of Larsa.


Karine Chemla, Directrice de Recherche, CNRS & Université Paris Diderot (examiner)
Jacob Dahl, Associate Professor, University of Oxford (examiner)
Jens Høyrup, Docent Emeritus, Roskilde University (rapporteur)
Cécile Michel, Directrice de Recherche, CNRS & Université Paris Ouest (co-supervisor)
Christine Proust, CNRS & Université Paris Diderot (supervisor)
Marc Van de Mieroop , Professeur, Columbia University (rapporteur)

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