In the archaeological excavations that were conducted in the city of Assur in the last generation private archives have been uncovered in which there are dozens of texts that shed new light on private international trade, especially in the seventh century BCE. Of special importance is an archive from the Assyrian period that was discovered in 1990, only parts of which were published, as well as other documents that were uncovered in 2001 and published in 2002.

The lecture will examine this evidence, which demonstrates the existence of private trade in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and a very important copy and translation of a text will be presented for the first time that reveals the central role played by women in private trade initiatives during the period under discussion. We will learn from the documents about trade destinations, the goods that were traded, methods of transport, means of finance, the amounts that were invested, as well as the social and economic status of the men and women who were engaged in private trade during the Neo-Assyrian period.