Clay tablet with cuneiform scription

It was the Sumerians, the oldest inhabitants of Mesopotamia, who invented writing in the fourth millennium BC as a support for the various economic activities which had become a pressing need in the oldest urban centres.

Complete administrative archives and libraries of tablets have come down to us painting a lively scene of the historical and political difficulties, of the social and economic organization, and of the mythology and religion of the peoples of Mesopotamia, western Iran, Turkey and Syria.

The tablets, with clay as the medium, were incised with a sharpened stylus. Once this was done, they were fired in a kiln or dried in the sun.

Thanks to the syllabic nature of the signs in cuneiform, which was developed to write Sumerian, it was in fact used from the middle of the third millennium BC for the Semitic language of the new inhabitants of Mesopotamia, the Akkadians. It was successively used in Babylonian, Aramaic, Amorite and Assyrian (Semitic languages and dialects), as well as in Hittite (an Indo-European language) and Hurrian (an agglutinative language of difficult classification).

This rectangular tablet with script on both sides has come from the site of the city of Irisagrig, from which 1,100 texts are known. It can be dated to the Third Dynasty of Ur, but the exact year cannot be known. Most of these known texts correspond to the reigns of the kings Su-Sin and Ibbi-Sin. The mark of the cylindrical stamp that was rolled along the side of the tablet after the text was completed can still be seen.

Recently published by David Owen, the text was studied by W. G. Lambert, Professor of Assyriology at the University of Birmingham from 1970 to 1993. The content gives administrative information and a listing of animals. The complete translation is as follows:


A sheep and a goat for Ninhursag.
A big goat for Utu.
A big goat for Martu.
A sheep for the emblem celebration.
A sheep and two large goats for Enlil.
A large goat for Belet-biri.
A sheep and a large goat for Ningiszida.
A sheep and two large goats for Inana.
A goat for Asgi.
Two big goats for Dumuzi.
A big goat for Enki.
A big goat for Damgalnuna.
A big goat for Nanna.
A big goat for Nergal.
[…] Nisaba
A […] temple of Enki.


A sheep for Annanitum.
A goat for Ulmasitum.
A sheep and a big goat Nergal.
A big goat for Iskur.
An x and a big goat for Suen at the Temple of the Crescent Moon.
Ceremony es-es of the crescent moon.
A big goat for the house of women.
Responsable: Nur-Estar.
A big goat for the kitchen.
Responsable: Isumbani.
A goat for Kududu.
Responsable: Wiraza.
Two lambs for Asurur.
Responsable: Ofrenda.
A goat for Ili-isum.


Mat-ili son of Baba.

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Tablilla cuneiforme Sumeria, Mesopotamia j bagot arqueologia

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