The library itself was set up in Nineveh by King Ashurbanipal of the Assyrian Empire. It was where the Flood Tablet upon which the Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered. It was a library of thousands of clay tablets with cuneiform writing. The guys who discovered it however were definitely not librarians and not particularly professional archaeologists either as they managed to jumble all the tablet fragments up together and didn't make any record of where exactly they were found. This has made the efforts of archaeologists and scholars much harder now, and some of the fragments may now never be reunited with their other halves.
Cuneiform is a really interesting written language and consists of scribes pressing into wet clay to produce indentations and thus creating letters and words. The clay would then have been baked in the sun to dry. Creating some pretty hefty books! It is thought that this mixture of heat, sun and sandy climate is what helped preserve such old writing.
Nineveh is where modern Iraq now stands. I have been recently asked to be involved in another book arts project that relates to a certain street in Iraq; Al-Mutanabbi Street. You can find out more about the project here. I am telling you all this as ideas for both BookArtObject and Al-Mutanabbi Street are becoming intertwined. I think I will be making different books for each but the ideas will be linked of course.
I have a few days off next week so hopefully I will knock out a few ideas in my studio and will progress a bit in both projects. Until then!