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Cuneiform Tablet

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Several great civilizations, including the Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian, arose in Mesopotamia, the land near and on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers in modern Iraq. All three were heirs to a rich cultural tradition that reached back to the late Neolithic Period (circa 6500–5000 B.C.). The Sumerians, builders of some of the first great cities, were one of the first people to invent a system of writing. Most written documents that survive from ancient Iraq are in a script called cuneiform ("wedge-shaped"), a highly stylized version of picture-writing that began in Mesopotamia around 3500 B.C.The Sumerians also furthered the use of the cylinder seal, a device for rolling a continuous impression in damp clay.

MEDIUM Terracotta
DATES ca. 2039 B.C.E.
DYNASTY Third Dynasty of Ur
PERIOD Ur III Period
DIMENSIONS 2 1/16 x 1 x 4 7/16 in. (5.2 x 2.6 x 11.3 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 74.71.5
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Louis Glover in memory of Charles T. Thurman
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Cuneiform Tablet, ca. 2039 B.C.E. Terracotta, 2 1/16 x 1 x 4 7/16 in. (5.2 x 2.6 x 11.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Louis Glover in memory of Charles T. Thurman, 74.71.5. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.74.71.5_kevorkian_03_09.jpg)
IMAGE installation, Kevorkian Gallery Installation (2003-2009), CUR.74.71.5_kevorkian_03_09.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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 <em>Cuneiform Tablet</em>, ca. 2039 B.C.E. Terracotta, 2 1/16 x 1 x 4 7/16 in. (5.2 x 2.6 x 11.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Louis Glover in memory of Charles T. Thurman, 74.71.5. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.74.71.5_kevorkian_03_09.jpg)