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Cuneiform Tablet

Ur III (ca. 2100-2000 BCE)
2 5/16 x 1 5/16 x 11/16 in. (5.8 x 3.4 x 1.7 cm)

Object Type: Ceramics
Medium and Support: Clay
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Gordon Thompson in memory of his father, William G. Thompson, D.D., a student of Babylonian archaeology
Accession Number: 1954.58.5a
Location: Currently on view
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Small cuneiform tablets written in tiny script, presumably designed to be more portable, have come to be called "messenger texts." Found in great quantity, they all list small amounts (2, 3, or 5 units) of certain staples-- beer, bread, oil, and alkali-- given to individuals who are named but not otherwise identified. The third line here reads: "3 'pints' of beer, 2 'pints' of bread, 2 'ounces' of sesame oil [to] Bazaza."

[Gallery label text, 1995]

William G. Thompson, D.D., the Bronx, NY; to his son, Gordon Thompson; Rochester, NY; his gift to the Gallery in 1954

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Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative An international catalogue of cuneiform tablets, compiled by scholars at UCLA and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. MAG's cuneiforms were examined by a scholar in the summer of 2011.

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