The Flood Tablet
Artifact: Clay tablet
Period: Neo-Assyrian (ca. 911-612 BC)
Current location: British Museum, London (K 03375)
Text genre, language: Literary; Akkadian
Description: A Mesopotamian tale of a great flood and one survivor chosen by the Gods, this tablet caused a stir when discovered in the 19th century due to its similarity to the flood narrative in the Hebrew Bible. The Babylonian flood story, found on the eleventh tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, tells of the gods' decision to send a flood to destroy the earth. One god, Ea, relays the plan to a man named Utu-napishtim. Utu-napishtim is further instructed to build a boat in order to save himself, his family, and animals of all kinds. Rain descends for six days, after which the water abates and the ship is again on solid ground. Two birds are released, but find no resting-place. Finally a raven which had been sent out did not return showing that the waters had receded. Utu-napishtim emerges and later tells this story to Gilgamesh.
Edition(s): George, Andrew R. Gilgamesh. Vol. II, 124ff, J