Sumerian Cuneiform Tablet with a Messenger Text

Culture: Sumerian
Period: Ur-III-period, 2112-2004 B.C.
Material: Clay
Dimensions: 10 cm x 6.4 cm
Price: Sold
Ref: 6459
Provenance: From the collection of the British professor Geoffrey Wilson (1930-2015), acquired in the 1960s. Thence in a London gallery. Last in the collection of Dr D. G., acquired between 1990 and 2019.
Condition: Except for some minor encrustation in places, intact.
Description: Large Sumerian cuneiform tablet which is tightly and meticulously inscribed on both sides. The tablet, flat on one side, on the other side convex, belongs to the so-called messenger texts. These text tablets mention the names of the messengers who travelled between Mesopotamia and Iran, and specifically listed which food and beverages were handed over at the stations along the way. The messengers received, according to their ranks, a certain amount of litres of beer and bread, oil as well as onions. A messenger of noble rank who travelled under a diplomatic mission received a multiple of proviant than a regular messenger. See for the messenger texts the collection in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan, USA. See: Nicole Brisch “A Sumerian Messenger Text in the Kelsey Museum”, volume 15, 2003. Most of these cuneiform tablets, like the present one, originate from the cities Girsu and Umma, both in the south of present Iraq and along the travel route to Iran. Our cuneiform tablet with the messenger text is relatively large and lists numerous names. Unpublished until today.