Sumerian cuneiform clay tablet listing temple revenues.
Ca. 30 x 34 mm. Together with an autograph letter. Stored in a custom-made half morocco solander case.
The tablet has been certified and dated by the oriental scholar and Keeper of the Oriental Department at the British Museum, Sir Ernest Wallis Budge (1857-1934) in 1900. At the time, the archaeological site of Girsu near modern Tell Telloh was wrongly identified with Lagash, the longtime capital of the eponymous Sumerian kingdom. During the reign of king Gudea (ca. 2133-2124 BC) the court was briefly moved to Girsu and the prosperous city remained an important religious and administrative centre until the end of the Third Dynasty of Ur. The tablet is an "Account or Revenue Table drawn up in connection with the administration of revenue under the direction of the priests of the Temple of Lagash [Girsu]". This expertise report is enclosed with a letter from the wife of the Rev. Leonard Harding Squire (1854-1918) to her parents, presenting the tablet as an Easter gift.
The kingdom of Lagash was located halfway between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the south-east of Sumer. The two capital cities Girsu and Lagash are ca. 25 km apart and were both rediscovered in the last quarter of the 19th century. Their correct identification was finally established by Thorkild Jacobsen and Fuad Safar in the 1950s. The kingdom played an important religious and political role within the Sumerian civilization from about 2500 to 2000 BC.
Slight surface wear affecting some text and a few cracks.
Provenance: ALS from the wife of the Rev. L. H. Squire (1854-1918), enclosing the expertise by Sir Ernest Wallis Budge, Kenley, 14 April 1900: "As Churchwardens Accounts are due about this time, we send you one of the earliest existing in the world - just before Abraham's time - thinking that you will be interested to have it as a curiosity [...]".