100 Most Important Cuneiform Objects

Inspired by the BBC's A History of the World in 100 Objects we list the one hundred most iconic inscribed objects from the Ancient Near East, objects that we think define the field. We hope that this list will help to engender conversations about these objects, to highlight the importance of cultural heritage protection, and to broaden the appeal of the field.

About the Objects

The objects are presented initially with very short descriptions and bibliographies. We do not list compositions, but rather unique objects, such as the Gudea Cylinders, or Sargon's Letter to Ashur. Assyriologists often mention key objects that inspire them or define their work, or that they believe rank high on the list of humanity's most important cultural heritage objects.We share one object on our list with that of MacGregor from the BM: the Flood Tablet. The early writing samples we list include a spectacular early Iranian tablet located in the Louvre; a key text from Jemdat Nasr recording field allotments to high-ranking members of society, today in the Ashmolean Museum; and an extraordinary example of the early intellectual exploits of man – a mathematical exercise tablet from Uruk, today in Heidelberg. Not all of the text artefacts we list are monumental, or even extraordinary. From the Ur III period we include, for example, the tiny receipt today in Yale's Babylonian Collection, that V.V. Struve used to prove the relationship between the accounts and the receipts of the Ur III bookkeeping system.

This list is a work in progress. Please email cdli.oxford with suggestions and pictures.

The complete list (see above for more information):

1. Codex Hammurapi
2. The Weld-Blundell Prism/Sumerian King List
3. The Middle Assyrian Laws, A
4. Sargon’s letter to Ashur
5. The Flood tablet
6. Complex surface calculations at Jemdet Nasr
7. The Cylinders of Gudea
8. The Manishtushu Obelisk
9. The Stele of Vultures
10. The Bisitun Inscription
11. The Cyrus Cylinder
12. The Macehead of Mesilim
13. The Largest Account of the archaic period
14. La figure Aux Plumes
15. The Old Assyrian Limmu list
16. The Reforms of UruKAgina
17. L'architecte au plan
18. The Umma-Lagash border conflict
19. The Ebla sign-list
20. A letter of the Mittanian king Tushratta to Pharoah Amenhotep
21. The Statue of Idrimi
22. Treaty between Hattushili III and Ramesses
23. The Blau Monuments
24. The earliest known mathematical exercise
25. The laws of Ur-Nammu
26. An early literary catalogue
27. How to read signs (diri:SI.A : watru prisms)
28. Tiglath-pilesar’s annalistic text
29. The succession treaty of Esarhaddon
30. Banquet Stela of Ashurnasirpal II
31. The Descent of Ishtar to the Netherworld
32. The Taylor Prism (Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem)
33. The Black Obelisk
34. A tablet on Epilepsy
35. Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa
36. The Tale of the Poor Man of Nippur
37. Sargon’s birth legend
38. A bilingual statue from Tell Fekheriye
39. A cylinder of Nabonidus
40. The Shamash Tablet
41. 58 designations for swine
42. The Ushumgal Stela
43. The large God-list from Fara
44. A collection of proverbs
45. Bassetki statue
46. Enki loves the love-charm
47. A large account of a basketry and carpentry workshop
48. Receipt shown by V.V. Struve to relate to year-end’s account
49. The growth of a herd of cattle
50. Your money or your life
51. A temple plan
52. Old Assyrian Sargon legend
53. Old Assyrian testimony
54. Gilgamesh P
55. The political landscape after the Mari archives
56. Agushaya A
57. The Mari ritual of Eštar
58. Prayer to the Gods of the Night
59. A Song of Praise to Amurru
60. The Daiva inscription of Xerxes
61. A cross for the bull-man
62. A literary catalogue 63. Astrolabe B
64. Middle Assyrian literary catalogue
65. The pedestal of Tukulti-Ninurta I
66. Zodiac compilation tablet
67. Graeco-Babyloniaca
68. Lord Aberdeen’s Black Stone
69. Ninurta-paqidat’s dog bite
70. The Ugaritic Baal Myth, tablet four
71. Proof of the Sumerian UD.GAL.NUN cryptography

the_one_hundred_most_important_cuneiform_objects.txt · Last modified: 2014/09/30 12:55 by lafont
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