Tag Archives: cuneiform

Coming soon…

One of the jewels of our collection is the cuneiform tablet. So you may be wondering why it hasn’t made an appearance on any of our promotional products yet.

Today Leslie Field and I started photographing some of the Near Eastern artifacts for our Zazzle store. Well, Lesley did the photography and I stood back and learned from the master.

photo (1)

The photo set up was working well enough for the cuneiform tablet and the Roman lamp, but when it came time to photograph a couple of the small Egyptian amulets that refused to stand up, we had to improvise…and ended up getting some fantastic results using a simple Epson flatbed scanner.


Egyptian amulet #1: 3.8 cm in height, takes the form of an animal with upright ears and a prominent flat snout, two legs, and a kind of tang projecting out from the back. The material is some kind of metal, possibly iron or bronze.


Egyptian amulet #2: 2.1 cm in height, takes the form of a rabbit with longish ears, and its body in profile. A small hole has been drilled from one side of the head to the other below the ears. The image appears to have been carved out of a pale green stone, possibly chlorite or soapstone.


In fact, it worked so well, we scanned the cuneiform tablet as well, and the results were so good we’re using these images for our posters (this is not the original image, its a much smaller jpg file). It will take a little while to finish editing the final image, so please check our Zazzle store early next week.




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Filed under Ceramics, Cuneiform, fundraising, Near Eastern, photography

Tablet Transliteration and Translation

Cuneiform Clay Tablet in the George T.H. Fuller Collection,

Dept. of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, UBC

Cuneiform tablet2 Cuneiform tablet1



Provenance: possibly Puzrish-Dagan (ancient Drehem, southern Iraq)

Date: Ur III period, c. 2100-2000 BCE

Subject: receipt for the delivery of livestock (and oil?).

cuneiform tablet

Cuneiform Tablet






TRANSLITERATION                                 TRANSLATION

Obverse                                                              Obverse

1. ? udu                                                                1. 3? sheep

2. 1 maš                                                               2. 1 goat

3. u4-30-kam                                                    3. the 30th day

4. ki ab-ba-ša6-x-x                                          4. from Abba-sha-? (place-name)

5. x i-x-u4-x-x                                                   5. …oil?…

Reverse                                                                Reverse

6. i-dab                                                                 6. he received

7. iti ezen?-x                                                       7. The month…

8. mu ša-x-ki ba-ḫul                                         8. The year the city…was destroyed

For other examples of cuneiform tablets found in the same area and dated to the same period, check out the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative at UCLA. They have 3 tablets from the region in their digital library that are housed at Charles University in Prague.

Further reading:

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago published the 499 tablets in their collection in 1998, and can be downloaded from their website.

Lluís Feliu and Adelina Millet published a paper titled “An Ur III Tablet from Drehem and Three Clay Cones of Lipit-Estar” in Aula Orientalis; the issue can be downloaded here.

Transliteration and translation by Dr. Lisa Cooper. 

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Filed under Cuneiform, Near Eastern, Pottery

Cuneiform Tablet

Cuneiform tablet1

This cuneiform tablet is dated to the Ur III period, circa 2100 – 2000 BCE. The tablet is small, measuring about 3.5 cm in height, 3 cm in width and about 1 cm in thickness. It is inscribed on both sides with the cuneiform script, which has been used to render Sumerian.

Cuneiform tablet2

The tablet itself is a receipt for the delivery of livestock and possibly oil. It almost certainly comes from the site of Purzis-Dagan, located in southern Iraq. Check back soon for the transliteration and translation of the tablet.

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Filed under Artifacts, Cuneiform, Near Eastern

Quick up date on the progress so far:

We met with Dr. Phillip Harding at the end of June, and he spoke to us about the history of the collection and epigraphy in general – look for a post on that soon.

Squeeze sample 

We’ve begun going through the squeeze collection to determine how many of them are legible and intact enough to scan for the website. So far, the majority of the collection is in very good condition, considering their age.


UBC graduate students Chelsea Gardner and David Assaf, who are excavating in Greece this summer, had an opportunity to make a squeeze. They have a short video of the process which will be posted soon.

And finally, we have dates set at the end of August to photograph our artifact collection with LoA, and look forward to having the translation and transliteration of our cuneiform tablet available soon.

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Filed under Artifacts, Cuneiform, Epigraphy, Project Planning, Squeeze Collection