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Presentation of the Text - Some recommendations

Abbreviations and contractions

  • Generally follow the rule that abbreviations (i.e. shortened forms which do not end with the last letter of the original word) and contractions (i.e. shortened forms which end with the last letter of the original word) are followed by a full stop
    e.g.   pp.   Fig.   PI.
    e.g.   Mr.   Dr.   Mrs.   St.   
  • Use A.D., B.C., etc. Metrological units (m, mm, km) are regarded as symbols and therefore do not require a full stop. Omit stops from series of initials such as YAT, HMSO, RIBA, RIC, CBA, OS, sf (small find).
  • Do not use the ampersand, & for 'and'.
  • For dimensions (e.g. in tablet catalogues) use the following abbreviations and list them in this order:
    D. - diameter, H. - height. W. - width. T. - thickness
    In such dimensions, and in references. etc., leave a space between an abbreviation with full stop and a number, and between a number and a standard unit of measurement e.g:
    no. 16
    pp. 22-26
    PI. V
    H. 23mm
    c. 1100

The CDLI has compiled a list of recommended abbreviations for Assyriological publications, available at

Compass points

  • These should be written out in full, except in catalogues and notes
    e.g. south, south-east, south-southeast (note the use of hyphens)
  • For alignments use oblique '/', except for cardinal points
    e.g. north-south. but north-east/south-west.

Dates within the text

  • Dates should be cited in the order: day, month, year (without commas)
    e.g. 1 January 1974
  • Names of months should be cited in full in the text, but in short form in catalogues and notes. The standard abbreviations are Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
  • Write years in full form.
    e.g. 866-869, 1801-1807, 1813-1817, 1841-1860, 1860-1868.
    Use 1840s, 1860s (no apostrophe).
  • As noted above, use A.D./B.C. with full stops. A.D. should precede a date and B.C. should follow it.
  • Names of centuries should be abbreviated except at the beginning of a sentence, e.g. '4th century', not 'fourth century'. Hyphens are required when expressing a date range.
    e.g. late 1st-late 4th century, late 9th/early 10th century-c. 930/5
    Hyphens are also necessary when the date is used adjectivally,
    e.g. 12th-century church, 1st-century settlement.

Hypens and Italics

Generally follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., rev. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993)

Numbers and measurements

  • Give numbers one to twenty in words, then use numerals. However, always use words when the number comes at the beginning of a sentence. Use numerals when the number is followed by units.
    e.g . '5km', '7mm'.
  • As with dates, use the full range, e.g. 20-25mm, not 20-5mm
  • Attempt to recreate the numerical/meterological system of the original texts in your discussion. An interpretation of 1;2,3 gur as "450 liters" serves to hide the metroloigical relationships implicit in ancient administrative records. In discursive text, metric units should normally be used, except for distances in miles, but non-metric equivalents may be added in brackets where appropriate (e.g. when a building was originally described as 100ft long).
  • Drawings and illustrations should have a metric scale.
  • Use standard abbreviations for metric units (km, kg, m, mm etc.) without final full stops. Square meters should be expressed as m2.
  • Use standard international units, i.e. meters and millimeters; measurements to the nearest millimeter should be in mm. Omit zeros after decimal points unless it is essential to indicate the degree of accuracy. Where consecutive dimensions are in the same unit of measurement, m or mm should be put after the last item only.

Places and place-names

  • Sites and places referred to should be clearly located, both at the first reference and, for lengthy texts, if re-introduced later in the report.
  • Modern English forms of foreign place-names should be used. Older forms or foreign spellings may also be included when they are used in literature cited, but care is needed to ensure that places referred to can be clearly identified and located by the reader.


  • Quotations of less than two lines in a foreign language should be within the main text, in quotation marks. Longer quotations and all English quotations should be in Roman type, and indented.
  • Extracts from documents should copy the original spelling except for standardization of 'u' and 'v'. 'i' and 'bj', etc., in accordance with modern practice.
  • Omissions in quotations should be indicated by three spaced full stops.
  • Additions within the quotation must be placed within square brackets. Quotations should be directly followed by a footnote reference, or the reference in parentheses e.g. (Greenfield 1982, 303b-6a).


Generally follow American English standards of the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary.

Style Guidelines Guidelines for Authors