Cuneiform was one of the earliest forms of writing, developed in the ancient lands of Mesopotamia. Babylonian society was a complex social structure and had a need, as we do today, to record such things as temple acquisitions, land transactions, financial loans, as well as their epic stories and personal letters. When the clay was wet, a reed pen or stylus would incise the piece with etchings. The clay would then be fired or left in the sun to dry, making the text permanent. Earlier forms started as pictographs which evolved into abstract forms which included circular impressions representing numerical symbols. Cuneiform is instantly recognisable by the wedge-shaped marks, usually pressed into clay tablets. Indeed, the name ‘cuneiform’ literally means “wedge-shaped”.
Old Babylonian Cuneiform Tablet with Seal Impression
A pillow-shaped rectangular clay cuneiform tablet from the Old Babylonian period. Cuneiform scripts have been incised on the obverse and reverse however; some sections are now missing. It is likely this tablet was recording administrative texts. A seal’s impression can be seen along the sides and is most visible across the top.
Condition: Fine condition, slight chips to the edges