Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia

Home page » Projects » Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia
Ancient Arabia was remarkable in that between the first millennium BC and the emergence of Islam, in the seventh century AD, literacy was widespread not only among the settled peoples but also among the nomads. The Corpus of the Inscriptions of South Arabia at the University of Pisa is implementing the online edition of the Ancient South Arabian texts, but until now we lacked an equivalent corpus for those of north and central Arabia.
The Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia [OCIANA] at the Khalili Research Centre of the University of Oxford, aims to address this need. It will present an easily updatable, online edition of all known Ancient North Arabian inscriptions: Taymanitic, Dadanitic, Hasaitic, Safaitic, Hismaic and Thamudic.
For each inscription there will be a transliteration into Unicode roman script, a translation and commentary, as well as details on provenance, inscribing technique, support, etc. Like the CSAI, the language of the OCIANA will be English. In addition, whenever possible, each inscription will be accompanied by photographs and these will be freely downloadable at a publishable resolution. The project will also produce research tools from the Corpus, such as vocabularies, onomastic lists, concordances of genealogies, bibliographies etc., which are at present either lacking or completely out-dated. When the project is complete, a grammar and a lexicon of Ancient North Arabian, together with books and articles on various topics related to ancient Arabia will also be produced with the material from the Corpus.
Thanks to a grant from the John Fell Fund at the University of Oxford, an initial sample of the OCIANA containing an edition of 3420 previously unpublished Safaitic inscriptions from the Basalt Desert Rescue Survey of 1989 will be soon available at
From October 2013, the Phase II of the project will begin and last for three and a half years. In this, some 35,000 inscriptions, including all the rest of the Safaitic inscriptions, as well as the Taymanitic,  Dadanitic, Hasaitic and Hismaic texts, will be entered and tagged, leaving only the approximately 13,000 so-called 'Thamudic' inscriptions to be entered in Phase III, from March 2017 onwards. Presently, 56 inscriptions have been already digitized and will be soon available in DASI.
During Phases II and III, research tools, books and articles will be produced, and the OCIANA and DASI data will be pooled so that it will be possible to search the information from both corpora via a single portal.

News and Events

Università di Pisa, Dipartimento di Civiltà e Forme del Sapere, March, 16th 2016
Granada (Spain), 28th September - 2nd October
Bari - Italy, September 24th to 25th, 2015