Old Babylonian Terracotta Cuneiform Tablet

SKU LO.1244

1900 BC to 1700 BC


3.37″ (8.6cm) high x 1.87″ (4.7cm) wide





Gallery Location

S Korea


This tablet has a total of 37 lines on obverse, lower edge and reverse. There is a little damage to the two right-hand corners, and a few spots of surface damage elsewhere, but the greater part of the script is well preserved and clear. The letter dates to c. 1900-1700 B.C. and comes from a man Shamash-nasir who is writing to “my lord”. This lord was either the king or a high official in view the report on the state of the area which is sent, and in view of the authority which this lord had no matter of substance.


Speak to my lord, “Thus says Shamash- nasir your servant: ‘The land and the district is secure. Cutting has taken place for the harvest of the palace: there has been no laziness. About the linseed field of Munanum and Lirbi-sumu on the Harirtum canal, which they have controlled and planted with linseed, about which my lord wrote to me. When I heard the tablet of my lord, I summoned the military officers. They assembled and in their assembly they heard the tablet of my lord, and the farmers gave the order from it and confirmed it, that Lirbi-sumu had control and had planted that field … Mashum, my lord’s servant …, and when that linseed had been planted, Munanum … the tablet of Awi[l-…] in the coach house, and they imposed the penalty. Many people spoke their witness before Mashum, my lord’s servant. I sent scribes to measure that field, and there were 8 iku of field watered by the Harirtum canal, and 10 iku watered by the Kabliya canal.

10 iku of field which Lirbi-sumu planted, and 2.50 iku of field which Rish-Shamash planted, I held back for the palace. Now, Munanum, Lirbi-sumu and the farmers who are in control and planted that linseed I have entrusted to the control of Mashum [and] I have sent (them) to my lord.

An iku was a measure of area of land, about 353 square meters. The two canals named seem not to be known elsewhere so far.

Description and translation kindly provided by Professor W. G. Lambert

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