Old Babylonian Terracotta Cuneiform Tablet

SKU LO.1243
Circa

1900 BC to 1700 BC

Dimensions

2.87″ (7.3cm) high x 1.7″ (4.3cm) wide

Medium

Terracotta

Origin

Mesopotamia

Gallery Location

UK


 

This tablet has a total of 27 lines of Babylonian cuneiform on the obverse and reverse. It is joined from two pieces and there is some loss of surface at the join, and some covering of signs by some kind of adhesive, which could be removed. Otherwise the tablet is generally well preserved and most of the writing is clear. The letter is addressed to My Lord by a certain Sin-eribam. The lord is either the king or a high official, since the writer reports to him on the general condition of the area and seeks his decision in matters of some importance.

Translation:

Speak to my lord, “Thus says Sin-eribam, your servant, ‘The land, the troops and the district are secure. My lord sent me to … Concerning the barley of Mar-ummanu about which my lord first ordered me to put guards over it, Shamash-nasir, the servant of my lord, wrote as follows: “First, about guarding the barley of Mar-ummanu I spoke to my lord and he had guards stationed. Now from the … estate I have received from him 588 kurru of barley. Leave for him his barley which is in the bend of the river.” This is what he wrote to me. Here I am writing to my lord, and my lord should write to me about … leaving it or not leaving it (for him).’”

The measure kurru was a measure of capacity, about 253 litres, so 588 kurru was a huge quantity, but this is typical of Babylonian agriculture at this period. The tablet dates to c. 1900-1700 B.C.

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

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