The 10 Most Important Cuneiform Objects

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1. Codex Hammurapi

Perhaps the most widely-known cuneiform object, this impressive monument lists laws of ancient Babylon in fascinating detail. More information...

Artifact: Stone stele
Provenience: Susa, modern Shush
Period: Late Old Babylonian (ca 1800-1595 BC)
Current location: Louvre Museum, Paris



2. The Bīsitūn Inscription

Often considered a key to the decipherment of cuneiform, the Persian “King of Kings” Darius tells how he seized the throne in this trilingual inscription. More information...

Artifact: Rock relief
Provenience: Kermanshah Province, Iran
Period: Persian
Current location: Kermanshah Province, Iran


3. The Flood Tablet

A Mesopotamian tale of a great flood and one survivor chosen by the Gods, this section of the Gilgamesh epic cause a stir when discovered in the 19th century. More information...

Artifact: Clay tablet
Provenience: Nineveh
Period: Neo-Assyrian (ca. 911-612 BC)
Current location: British Museum, London (K 03375)


4. The Weld-Blundell Prism/The Sumerian King List

From mythical kings including Gilgamesh, to historical figures, this document lists an ideologically significant series of Mesopotamian kings. More information...

Artifact: Clay prism
Provenience: Unknown
Period: Early Old Babylonian (ca. 2000-1800 BC)
Current location: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Ashm 1923-444)


5. The Cyrus Cylinder

Famously cited today as a cultural and political document, this text presents Cyrus, king of Persia, as liberator of Babylon. More information...

Artifact: Clay cylinder
Provenience: Babylon?
Period: Achaemenid (547-331 BC)
Current location: British Museum, London


6. The Stele of Vultures

An Early Dynastic Sumerian monument of conflict perpetrated by King and God. More information...

Artifact: Stone stele
Provenience: Girsu, modern Tello
Period: ED IIIb (ca. 2500-2340)
Current location: Louvre Museum, Paris


7. The Manistusu obelisk

A monument recording King Manishtushu’s purchase of various plots of land in the area of Akkad from his subjects. More information...

Artifact: Stone monument
Provenience: Susa, modern Shush
Period: Old Akkadian (ca. 2340-2200 BC)
Current location: Louvre Museum, Paris (Sb 20)




8. Complex surface calculations at Jemdet Nasr

An economic document providing some of the earliest written evidence for social hierarchy and unequal distribution of resources. More information...

Artifact: Clay tablet
Provenience: Jemdet Nasr
Period: Uruk III (ca. 3200-3000 BC)
Current location: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Ashm 1926-583)


9. Sargon's Letter to Ashur

King Sargon II of Assyria presents his military exploits in a letter addressed “to Assur, father of the Gods…” More information...

Artifact: Clay tablet
Provenience: Khorsabad
Period: Neo-Assyrian (ca. 911-612 BC)
Current location: Louvre Museum, Paris (AO 5372)


10. Pythagorean Triples

This widely known mathematical text in a tabular layout contains an array of Pythagorean triples. More information...

Artifact: Clay tablet
Provenience: Unprovenanced
Period: Old Babylonian (ca 1800-1595 BC)
Current location: Columbia University, New York City

objects1to10.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/04 09:33 by wagensonner
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