Old Akkadian Clay Administrative Cuneiform Tablet


An Old Akkadian, rectangular pillow-shaped clay tablet inscribed with administrative text. Carved onto the obverse, rows of cuneiform scripts transcribe an account of barley rations for the workers. The bottom row on the obverse and the script on the reverse are indicative of the date and place of issue, possibly referring to the 9th month of year 26 at the ‘great quay’; however, the reign and precise location of the tablet are unclear as some of the script has become harder to decipher or lost due to age.

The piece is accompanied with a note with a transliteration and translation of the text.

Date: Circa 2340-2200 BC
Provenance: Ex London dealer collection, acquired 1980s-2000s.
Condition: Fine condition, some flaking to the reverse.


SKU: CY-196BL Category: Tags: ,

With the development of complex social structures came the need to record, as we do today, such things as temple acquisitions, land transactions, financial loans, as well as their epic stories and personal letters. Cuneiform writing was one of the earliest forms of writing, first developed in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC by the Sumerians. It is instantly recognisable by the wedge-shaped marks, usually pressed into wet clay tablets using a blunt reed. Indeed, the name ‘cuneiform’ literally means “wedge-shaped”.

Succeeding the civilisation of Sumer, the Akkadian Empire was the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia, centred in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region. The first King of the Akkadian Empire, Sargon I, united the Sumerian and Akkadian speakers under one rule.

Weight 30.2 g
Dimensions W 3.6 x H 5.1 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item 71378

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