2500 BCE

[Sumerian]. 2 Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets listing temple revenues.

[Girsu, ca. 2500-2100 BCE].

Ca. 30 x 22 mm and 25 x 22 mm. Stored in a custom-made half morocco solander case.


The larger of the two tablets 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 an expertise report from 1904 (enclosed). 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.

Budge's expertise on a piece of cardboard summarises the text as follows: "Revenue tablet, list of sheep, beams of timber, garden material etc., as rental, drawn up for incorporating in the Cadastral survey made by officers of the Temple of the Sun-God at Lagash [Girsu]". The smaller cuneiform tablet is similar in age and origin.

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: the family of Leonard Harding Squire (1854-1918).

Stock Code: BN#53078 Tags: ,