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Robert K. Englund

Robert K. Englund

Texts from the Late Uruk Period

I. Preface

Whoever has spent an afternoon wandering about on ancient tell in Iraq knows all too well the compulsion to search the ground for remains of a civilization long lost to us. Here a colorful glazed shard, there a smoll pebble with possible incisions, all these artifacts are inspected, mentally sorted ond, dependent on the rigor of the archaeologist or Iraqi civil servant who might be in accompaniment, deposited in pockets for later cppraisol. So did certainly stocks of intriguing objects first form in the dwellings of local Arabs in Iraq, and so did too the first Mesopotamian artifacts in the bags of visitors and trade agents leave Iraq for Europe in the 17th century, to be followed in the 1 8th by more, until beginning seriously in the 19th century a full-scale plundering of uninhabited Near Eastern settlements took place. In a sense, early European excavators worked hand in hand with Iraqi natives to strip the land of its ancient fruits. Workers in the Assyrian centers of Nineveh, Khorsabad and Nimrud filled raft after raft with stone colossi, reliefs ond inscribed objects, destined for exhibition in the holls of the British Museum and the Louvre, while at the same time local robbers spent chilly nights ond hot summer days helping to satisfy the seme foreign calls for more objects from the distant past.

Colonial rule and impressionable Ottoman officials provided the opportunity for this plunder, and national rivalries among European states even stimulated a certain excitation among the early excavators to bring the largest and most impressive treasures home. Thus the lew dusty shards drawn from the pockets of wives of Mercedes dealers during the dull return to Baghdad bear no resemblance to the ten-Ion bull and lion, hewn from stone nearly three thousand years ago and set up in the palace of Ashurnasirpal, which now attract the awe of visitors in the British Museum. Still they represent manifestations of one and the same impulse: to


Texts from Ihe Late Umk Period


lake possession and thus share in the essence of a history of civilizolion reaching bock beyond the Renaissance, beyond the legions of Rome, and beyond the democratic stirrings in ancient Athens, into a pre-cbssical age marked in its earliest phoses by the lirsl development of cities and, toward the end of the fourth millenrium B.C., the emergence of writing. The Roman script we use loday has been in existence *or some two and a halt millennia. By the 26th century A.D., this form of writing will eclipse in length of uninterrupted use the period of documented Iransmission of cuneiform in Mesopotamia. That is no mean accomplishment, but of course Roman, and Greek script derived from earlier models in ihe Near East, and these owe certainly the impulse to graphically iep;esent language, if not the form of writing itself, to earlier scripts in the region, above all io hieroglyphics and to cuneiform, and of these two the development and use of the latter, in its earliest form generally known as 'proto-cuneiform', is much better documented.

The term 'archaic texts' refers generally to those documents inscribed on clay or stone tablets using the proto-cuneiform script, dating roughly lo the final stages of Ihe Late Uruk period, lhat is, Uruk IV and III, arid including the first levels of the succeeding Early Dynastic period. 'Ihe span of ca. 3200-2700 B.C. generally accepted for these archaeological levels covers an age in which the monumental center of Uruk in southern Babylonia seems to have been in decline, breaking into disarray about 2900 B.C., and following which new centers in the soulh began to form.

The first general introduction to the proto-cuneiform writing system and an overview of the text genres found in the archaic texts from Mesopotamia was offered in 1936 by the father of modem Sumerology in Germany, Adam Faikenstein. Since the appearance of that publication, the work of an ongoing research project directed by Hans J. Nissen, a studenl of the Heidelberg scholar and since 1971 professor of Near Eastern studies al the Free University of Berlin, has made substantial strides in the edition of the ca. 5000 archaic lexts and text fragments uncovered by German excavators of Uruk, the largest settlement on earth at the end of the fourth millennium B.C. Situated on the soulhern slretch of the ancient course of the Euphrates river, this city achieved a size of some AO hectares 5100 years ago, and, with the concomitant hierarchizalion of skilled labor and administrators, offered the most likely atmosphere at the time for the revolution in communication requisite lo an expanding bureaucracy forming in the city that was a system of writing.

Some scholars, among them most forcefully Nissen, have in recent years relativized ihe importance of writing in our cultural development. Since the great mass of the earliesl wrillen documents were economic and administrative records, and since ihese doiumer.ts had clear functional precursors in the form of cylinder seals, numerical tablets ond, still earlier, clay and stone calculi, writing could be considered little more thai an expansion and improvemenl of occounling mechanisms already in broad use. Yet the intellectual advance evident in the early use of symbols not only to qjantify and qualify objects and measures and persons, but also to identify more involved transaction stales, to designate probable phonetic approximations of elements of words and proper names which had hilherta not been signified in ihe early iconography, and possibly to represent spoken language, suggests an entirely new level of semiotic representation.

The publications of the Berlin research group, with which I have been associated since '. 989, have begun to lay the basis for o comprehensive examination of the archaic writing system and the adminislrolive forms il served. However, two receril developments in the decipherment of archaic writing in Mesopotamia - both only indirectly connected to research in Berlin - have had important consequences in the way we think about the exploitation of wrilinc, ard have implications for the contextual decipherment of archaic documents. The first is ihe work by Denise Schmandt-Besseral on the large numbers of small stone ond clay objects almost invaricbly found in excavation levels of Near Eastern sites predating those of the earliest writing stages. Despite occasionally heavy-handed criticism of her methodology, there can be ittie doubt that her general proposition of the derivation of proto-cuneiform writing from ihese early discrete symbols, called by her tokens, is correct, and that the discussion which her work hes provoked, not only of the role of ihese objects as object-qualifying counters but also of the sealed bullae which contained a large variety of 'tokens', and o" the so-called numerical tablets found in levels immediately before those of developed writing, has formed a vital part of our current understanding of the intellectual developments which preceded the emergence of writing in the Near East. The second is ihe breakthrough in the anolysis ol the numerical systems, represented in quantitative notations in archaic administrative texts, achieved by the historians of science joran Friberg and Peter Domeiow. Remembering lhal over 85% of all archaic texts ore administrative documents recording above all quantitative data, il is no! difficult lo imagine the significance lor decipherment of ihe texts a elect understanding oF accounting notations can hove, particularly for a period in which the diversity ond complexity of counting and measuring systems was still great. The present paper represenls an altempl to weave logelher some of the disparate material which Nissen, Damerow and I have published in the course of our cooperative efforts and which has nol always been easily accessible to interested readers. It is a pleosure to acknowledge thai without the professional assistance of Ihe edilors of this series, Pascal Aitinger and Markus Waller, ihe present study would no' have been written, and lo thank them for their greot patience.



Excavations and chronology

2. Excavations and chronologv1

It is nol surprising thai the first antiquities to arouse the interest of visitors to ancient rViesopolumia were those most recently buried. They were closest to ihe surface, and above all she great stone remains or the neo-Assyrian period were in many cases visible in the shifting sands ot northern Iraq, or al least known to local residents. These and other stone monuments which often bore inscriptions in cuneiform were retrievea and shipped back lo European capitals in the mid-nineteenth century, together with the day tablet archives of Ashurbanipal unearthed in Nineveh.

Below the archaeological strata which produced these finds were levels containing successively older artifacts, including ecriier cuneiform archives. Beginning in the 1 BBO's, British/American and French excavators opened the sires of Nippur ond Girsu in the south of modern Iraq, oncient Bobylonia. These two sites more than any others led archaeological, but above all philological research into the third millennium B.C. and into the developmental stages of early cuneiform.

The Nippur archives from the scribal school situated in the temple district of Enlil remain our most important source material br understanding the intellectual history of early Mesopotamia.

1 The conventions of lext transliteration used in this paper are those a1' the Berlin/Los Angeles re search project Archaische Texte ous Uruk and have been spelled out in same detail in previous publications (see, for example, MSVO 1,9-12, ond note thot the designations 'obverse' and 'reverse' of opposing inscribed tablet faces mcty be arbitrary; il is often not possible to determine where an accoun! on a damaged frogmen! might have begun). Generally, lexis are published here with as much al'enlion paid to norr-specialisls as possible. The readings of the signs in individual transliterations are based on those presented in the Uruk signlisl (ATU 2; 'unidentified' signs in this list ore assigned the code ZATUh number], incorporating however the further-reaching sign differentiations presently employed in our work in Berlin and Los Angeles on the archaic corpus (see my remorks in ATU 2, p. 347, Ic language identification JESHO 3 I [ 1988] 131 -1 33"). Text copies in the following are published ot 75% of original size unless otherwise noted, but are rotated 90' counter-clockwise of their position in ancient times, in accordance with standard ossyriologicol convention; ci. Ihe reasoning and justification for (his positioning in ATU 2, I481; P. Damerow and R.K. Englund, Tepe Yahya, 1 1-1 230, with reference lo ihe compelling work by F. Picchioni. There are very few exceptions ond contradictions (for example, W. Orth-nann, PKG 14 [1975], pi. XI; A. Archi, "Po5ilian of the Tablets of Eblo,' OrNS 57 [1988] 67-69) to ihe rule adhered to here that the 9fJ-shift occulted duting or just before the Kassite period. The terms 'scrip!' and wriling system' are used here interchangeably. Finally, I hove chosen lo continue c convention adhered lo previously in publications of our research project concerning the designation or proto-cuneiform'signs. We have dislingu'shed generally only numerical and ideographic signs (representing quantities ard qualities, respectiveV), fully aware ol ihe terminological imprecision both names imply; 'numerical signs' did not represent abstract numbers, and 'ideographic signs' in oil likelihood were often nol semographs bul rather referred lo specific words. Historians ol writing categorize developmental (and usually diacfronic) systems ol graphic communication into iconography (usualfy prehistoric art}, pictography (clear iconic referents in ihe eorliesi writing systems), looography (strict correspondence between a single sign ond one word), ideography (correspondence between a single sign and one semantic field!, syllabography (phonographic use af signs lo rep-esenl syllables) and alphabetography (phonographic use of signs -o represent phonemes), recognizing that no system excludes elemenls of systems preceding it chronologically. It will be obvious that many of the signs colled here 'ideograms' ore more precisely 'logograms', and some may be 'syllabograns', dependenl on whelher proto-cuneirorm is a mullrvalenl writing system. It is, in any case, a question of interpretation as la when such ambrvolent signs os U4, in ideographic meaning light', day', 'white', ond so on, assume concrete, i.e., togogrophlc roles in written longuage, remembering that even then cuneiform signs ore often only parlial representations of contextually implied grammatical forms of words.

Although dating to two centuries after the collapse of the last political stale whose administration was conductec in the Sumerian language, the literary and lexical texts from Old Babylonian Nippur7 certainly offet un on the whole genuine reflection of the writing system, Ihe language and the literary culture of third millennium Mesopotamia, and these texts form the core of the Sumerian dictionary project now underway ot the University of Pennsylvania. Less impressive fo: literary history, but all the more so for the history of writing, of archaic administration and of political formations, were Ihe French finds in Girsu, modern Telloh.3 The excavations were characterized by a feverish tempo, and despite the correspondingly sligh' attention paid to archaeological methodology and the agiloted demand for antiquities, however they were acquired, felt from abroad, some 60,000 texts dating to the third millennium were apparently recovered from administrative contexts.' A further 20,000exemplars, including nearly all nose deriving from the pre-Sargonic lagash period,5 were plundered between regular seasons.' These archives build the most complete and continuous record of administration, and necessarily of writing ond means of accounting, available to us from the second half of the third millennium. Their importance compared to the literary archives from Nipput may bee seen above all in their contemporaneity, in the fact that they contain tablets

he Tassive site was situated about holf-woy between Baghdod ond U'-l* on whet Stemkeller hes -erVred to as Ihe border between Sumerion south with a strong tradition of city-states, ond a Semilic norlhem Mesopotamia marked more by regiorol polities. This location may have played a role in the 'special status Nippur was apparently accorded throughout Ihe Ihtrd millennium. Even in Ihe orchaic periods, Uruk scribes included in ihe lexical list of city names the loponym ENo.KID0 (=NIBRU) in second place after thai representing soulhern Ui (see R j. Mathews, MSVO 2, 34-39), so that with high probability archaic levels in Nippur are merely still buried (for those remains recovered see K.L. Wilson, 'Nippur; the Definition of a Mesooolamian Gcmdal Ncsr Assemblage,' in: U. Finkbeiner ond W. Rollig feds.), Gomdal Nasr, 57-89). The unifying effect in Mesopotamia of the city god cf Nippur, Enlil, es the chief administrator of the Sumerion pan'heon, is a phenomenon wel documented in texts Irom folor third millennium archives, pointing lo the strong political mlluence the prieslly class in Nippur had on ihe south, withoul ilself serving as residence of the ruling families. The blessing of the Enlil priests seemed no less critical to Babylonian monarchs Ihan that ol ihe Holy See lo rulers in medieval Europe. Finally, the system of domeslic Irode (so-called 'bala'l inslilulecl by Shulgi toward the end of the ihird millennium, partly to service ihe Nippur culls, underscored the importance lhal city enjoyed e</en in times ol great centralization of power. See generally W.W. Hallo, "ASumerion Amphiclyony,'JCS 14)1960) 88-1 14; P. Sleinkeller,'The Administrative and Economic Organization of the U' III Stale: The Core and the Periphery', in: McG. Gibson and R. D. Biggs (eds.), the Organization ol Power: Aspects of Bureaucracy in ihe Ancient Neor East, 5AOC 46, Chica-go'19B7, 19-41 - !199l, 15-33; Th.Jocobsen, 'Eorfy Political Developmenl in Mesopotamia,' ZA 52 11957)91-140.

3 See generally A. Ponol, Tello. Vingl ccmpagnes de fouilles (l 877-1933) (Paris 1948).

* R.K. England, Organisolion und Verwallung der Ur lll-Fischerei, BBVO 10 (Berlin 1990) 3'J3; id., AtO

40-41 (1993-1994) 9B-103, 1 Early Dynastic 11 lb, documented odminislralively tor ihe period ca. 2400-2350. See J. Bouer in this


6 The rest were wilh few exceptions Irom lie Ur III period. About half of these texts were acquired by the British Museum, the majority of which remain, like ihe majority of the texts Irom regular excavations in the Arkeotoji Muzeleri, Istanbul, unpubl. A stent has been mode lo moke both collections accessible to specialists, however; sec mast recently M. Sigrisl, Messenger Texts from the British Museum (Potomcc, MD 1990) and 5urnerian Archival Texls I: Texts Irom ihe Brilish Museum (Bethesda, 1993), for the BM tablets, B. Lafonl, F. V|ldn, Tablet Ic 5 cunei formes de Tello ouMusee d'lstanbu I, Dolanl de lepoque de la IIPDynoslie d Ur, I (ITT 11/1. 617-1038), Uilgaven van hel Nederlands Histotisch-Archacologisch Insliluul te Istanbul 65 (leiden 1989), and II (ITT ll/l. 25Z.4-2819, 3158-4342,4703-471 3), Uitgovenvan hel Nederlands Hi star isch-Archoodogi sell Insliluul le Istanbul 77, (Leiden 1996) lor ihose in ihe Istanbul museum.



Texl5 (ion foe late Urjfc Period

Ew:ava:�Qns and chmndogy

Texts from tne lore Uru'x Period

Excavations and chronology

composed ond wrilten by scribes educated in aclive schools, who thus rellecled the historical moment, and not the olen legendary past, of the texls' contents. Indeed, beyond llie immediate administrative history recorded in the many thousands of documents from Girsu, the best examples of Classical Sumerian were found on statues and clay cylinders from ihe period just pi ior lo ihe Ur III dynasty, the Lagash II period with its temple-building reco'ds of Gudea Some twenty years after commencement of excavations cl Girsu, German archaeologists discovered an archive of texts in Fara, ancient Shuruppak, in the far soulh of Babylonia daling to the Early Dynastic Ilia Fara period/' The semi-pictographic nature of the script empbyed in these texts allowed of c paleographic daling of the period to o lime ol lees! several generations before the earliest pre-Sargonic lagash texts, the royal inscriplions of ihe founder king Ur-Nansfie from ca. 5500, and thus to about 26C0 B.C. This is, then, the state of our knowledge of early cuneiform at the turn of the 20th cenlury. And at just this time, finds not from Mesopotamia, but rather from Susa in western Persia, would enter ihe academic discussion with clear evidence of a stage of writing substantially earlier ihan anything then known from the Babylonian alluvium. The French Assyriologisl V. Scheil commenced publication of Hie first such documents in 1900 which had been senl to join the collections of the Louvre, then published Iwo hundred more in 1905.6 These so-called proto-Elamile accounts can now be doled with some security to ca. 3000-2900 B.C. Although ihe system of writing employed in the lexis seems a script isolate, i.e., there were apparently no graphic precursors (with the reasonably argued exception of several prolo-cuneiform signs)9, and no successors to the proto-Elamite writing system as was the cose with the earliest stages of cuneiform, and although the language presumably represented by the script remains undeciphered,'0 slill the numerical systems employed in the texts and in

3403 3303 3203 3)03 3C03 2903 2803 2703 2600 2500 2400 2300 2200 2100 2000


late Uruk

Jemdel New Eorty D/noslic I

Fnr y f>/nnvlřr I:

Ear'y Dynaslic 11 Dynasty of Akkod

Gudea of Lugash Ur III

Writing Phase

Clay bullae and numerical table's

Archoic texts fror-i Uruk: Writing ?hose Uruk IV, Wriling Phase Uruk III

Archaic lex's from Ur

Texts from Fota O d Sjme-mi 'exts 0'<J Akkadian texts

Neo-Sums nan lexis

Historical Developments

Beginning of large-scotc settlement of Babylonia

First urban cenleis

Age ol early civilization

Formation ol forge irrigation networks

Rival city-states

Firs! regional stale

Centralized stale of the 3rd Dynasty ol Ur

Figure 2: Third millennium chronology

7 Summarized by H.P. Martin, Fara: A Reconstruction of ihe Ancient Mesopotamien City of Shutuppak (Birmingham 1988). See M. Krebernik in this volume.

B V. Scheil, Textes �lamiles-s�mitiques. Premiere s�rie, MDP 2 (Paris 1903) and Textes �lamiles-s�miťquos Troisi�me S�rie, MDP 6 (Paris 1905). Some 1,450 proto-Elamile lablels from Susa hove been oublisiied since. See W.C. B.ice, The Wriling System of Ihe Prolo-Elamite Account Tablets of Susa," Bulletin of the John Rylands library 45 (1962-19o3| 15-39; P. Metiggi, "Allsumeri sehe und protc-elomische Bilder-schtift.' ZDMG Spi. 1 (1969) 156-1�3; id., la scriltura prota-elamica IUI [Rome 1971-1974); A.A. Vajmon, 'A Comparative Sludy of ihe Proto-Elamite and Prolo-Sumerian Scripts' (in Russian), VDI 1972/3. 124-133 (English summary p. 133; German iranslalion in BaM 20 �19B9] 101-114); J. Fribcrg, The Early Roots of Babylonian Mathematics 1-11 (G�teborg 1978-9); P. Damerow ond R.K Englund. Tepe Yohya. Some 100 unedited proto-elamile fragments currently housed in Ihe louvre ate being prepared lo-publication by M. Sotvini; of the smaller col'ections, I currently count twenty rrore unpublished tablets m the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of the University o" Sao Paolo (circumstances of acquisition unclear), seventeen from Joll-i Molyan (ancient Anshan; and possibly more From Susa) in the Teheran Museum, and nine in the Ecale biblique, Jerusalem (presumably deposited by V. Sch�l and thoielore from Susa).

9 See most recently P. Damerow and R.K. englund. Tepe Yahya, pp. 4-7 and 53-Ď0. We noied pp 71 -28 ihe clear evidence for a direct borrowing from Mesopotamia of numerical sign systems employed'in the proto-Elamile accounts.

10 p. Meriggi, "Der Stand der Erforschung des P.olo-Elcmischen,' JSAS 1975, 105, and la scriiiura ptolo-eJainica I [Rome 1971-1974) 172-1 84, isolated, and attempted to analys* as to frequency of initial or final position the signs most commonly used in presumable personal names in proto-Elamite lexis. P. Damerow and I have noted in Tepe Yohya, 4-5*u, lne reasons for skepticism in considering his results, including iho

several cases apparent pictograms of animals and in particular vessels, aided in the correct description o! ihe texls as ihe oldest then known from the Near East. The first Mesopotamion tablets dating lo the period generally called Uruk Ill/Jemdet Nasr (co. 31CO3000 B. C." ond so roughly contemporaneous with or shortly before the proto-Elamile texts uneatlhed in Susa) were believed lo hove been excavated by iPicit diggers of the north Bobylonion mound Jemdet Nasr'! and sold in Baghdad in a large lot to ihe

rolhei numerous exceptions to his imp'ied rule of standardized sign sequence and his unsupported assumptions that personal names were written syllabicolry and Ihot "proto-ebmile" was a precursor of Old Elomile dating lo the late Old Akkodion period, some 703 years after ihe period of the proto-Elomite archives I.J. Gelb, Methods of Decipherment,1JRAS 1975, 95-104, otters a sobering view of the prospecls loi furlhei decipherment, based on conventional cryptanolylical methods, of such scripts as the piolo-Elamile.

'1 The ehrono ogy ol these early texts is based p-imarity on o sometimes uncertain connection of tablet finds to Ihe late Jiuk archaeological levels found in the exenvafons of Uruk, specifically Uruk IV ond III. See below for deloils.

" The small mound co 30 km lo the no.rf.easl ol Kish derives its name l,0m the l.oqi Arabic 'hillock ol | Sheik. | Nasr.



Texte from the Laie Uruk Period

Excavations one chronology -Jemdel Nasr

German excavators of Fara in 1903, and in a smaller lot sometime before 19i5.13 The Former 'archaic,' or 'proto-cuneiform'14 tablets, 35 in number and at the time the oldest written documents available for study on earth,15 inexplicably disappeared in the collections of the Berliner Stoafsmuseen, to be recovered only thirty years later and published as an interesting appendix to the volume containing the first mass of archaic texts found in Uruk in the tale 1920's.

Somewhat better treatment was afforded the second lot. The Parisian dealer J, E. Gějou purchased these two dozen 'ablets sometime after 1915, and sold ihem in smaller groups, the first before 1920 lo the Parisian antiquities dealers Dum�ni Fr�res, the second and third in 1924 to representatives of the Brilish Museum and the Louvre, respectively. Nearly all were published in ihe years 1927-1929.16

2.1. Jemdet Nasr

In the March of 1925, a Hilla dealer offered among other antiquities a number of archaic tablets from Jemdet Nasr to the excavators of the large mound Kish, E. Mackay and S. langdon. Langdon, after himself traveling lo Jemdet Nasr to confirm the existence of more tablets,17 procured the necessary funding and undertook to excavate the site's largest mound (Mound B), The First campaign began in early January and ran trough mid March of 1926. This season proved to be by far the most successful, since within an archaeological level resulting from an apparent ancient conflagration, Langc'on with his troop of between 12 and

13 Cl. V. Seheil, RA 26 [ 1929) 15.

" The designation poto-cuneiForm has been chosen to replace tie miscoding 'pccto-Surr^rian' slili encountered in so™ publications, since it is ul present nol possible :o identify the creators of the earliest Mesopotamion system of writing; see my remarks in JESHO 31 (1988] 1 31 -1 33 ■'.

15 Some few stone inscriptions in eo/lier circulation have beer ascribed to the archaic period. Despile ihe Lole Uruk appearance of Ihe iconography on ihe noted Blau tablets of shcle, their inscriptions are Drobably to be dated to the ED I period (of. P. Damerow and R.K. Englund, BoM 20 [ 1989] 137, ond my remarks in ATU 5, 12*r, against the most recenl Uruk II! dating by I J. Gelb, P. Steinkeller ond R.M. Whiting, Eorliest Land Tenure Systems in the Nea- East: Ancienl Kudunus, Texl, OIP 104 [Chicago 1991 j 39-43; indeed, ihe apparency conventional dating by the authors of all of their kudurrus 1-11 lo Ihe Uruk III period is in each case questionable, lor which see my remarks loc.cil.).

16 The 17 Inuvre tablets were copied and published with limited commen'ary by F. Thureau-Dangin in RA 24 (1927} 20-29. Five of :he seven tablets bought by the British Museum were later included in ihe 1928 publication of ihe lexts excavaled at Jemdet Nasr by 5. Langdon, The Herbert Weld Collection in the Ashmolean Museum: Pictograph.ic Inscriplions fromjemdel Nasi [...]. OcCT 7 (Oxford 1928). All published and unpublished texls from the site have now been edited by R.K. Englund ond J.-P. Gregoire, MSVO 1 (Berlin 1991], All the British Museum and Louvre rablcls together wit'o live tablets at Duma™ Fr�res, Finally, seem to have been inspected and copied by V. Scheil sore time before they were dis'ribuled in Paris and London. The five tablets from the original lo! which came into ihe possession o� Dumani Fieios weie bought by James Breasted of the Oriental institute, Chicago, in 1920 (see MSVO 1, 7"), Sclinil published his copies olthese loiter tablets in RA 26 (1929| 15-17, including ihe lablel RA 26, 16, no. 3, which seems lo have been lost in or on its way to Chicago. See now MSVO t, pp. 34-35, to ihe tablets accessioned with the sigla A (Oriental Institute, Univers'ty of Chicago;, AO (Louvre! ond BM, (re-)cdiled there.

17 E Mockery, Report on Excavations al Jemdet Nasr, Iraq. Field Museum ol Natural History, Anthropology Memoirs 1/3 (Chicago 1931) 225.



Texts from (he Lata Uruk Period

Execrations ond chronolog/ - Jemdel Nasr

60 workmen discovered among other artifacts over 150 and possibly as many as : 80 proto-cuneiform tablets'8 in various rooms of a large building situoted in the northeast section of Mound B and described by htm and others as the oldest palace known from the ancient Near Easl (see figure 3"). Many of these tablets bore seal impressions.20 Unfortunately, the find spots of the individual tablets in the rooms of the large building were not recorded; the excavators merely marked with a T' those areas in which tablets were found. Earlier work in Kish led by Mackay resulted in the discovery there of a small number of prolo-cuneiform texts.21 All texts and seal impressions horn Jemdet Nasr and Kish nave in the meantime been re-edited byJ.-P. Gr�goire ond the outhor, in collaboration with RJ. Matthews.22 Langdon became gravely ill at the end of Ihe (irsl Jemdel Nasr campaign and was unable lo continue work there the following year. L.Ch. Watelin as Kish field director in 1928 led the excavation alJemdel Nasr in March of the same year and was able with some 120 workmen over a period of 10 days to recover but vey fesv tablets, of which nost oppear to have been from post-archaic periods.23

The archaic tablets from Jemdel Nasr date without apparent exception22 to the Uruk III period and are remarkable for the breadth of topics they cover, including accounts of field

18 165 tablets were first published inOECT7. All texts from the site have now appeared m R.K Englundand J.-P. G��gotre, MSVO 1. The discrepancy between the number 1 65 ond the 1 94 publication numbers in OECT 7 is explained there, pp. 11-12; see also p. 7.

" See the report by langdon, ■Ausgiubwigen in Babylonien seii 1918,' Der Alte Orient 26 (1927) 3-75. A new excavation cl lbe mound was begun in 1988 by the di rector oi iheBrilish Archaeological Expedition to Iraq, RJ. Matthews, with an eye to recovering he rest of Mound B, :e-exomining the confusing architecture of the buildirK^, and to researching itie poorly understood Ironsilicn l:orn Uruk III lo Early Dynastic I. The Iraqi invasion oF Kuwait, however, cut these efforts short. CI. R j. Matthews, 'Excavations oijemdet Nasr, 1988,-Iraq 5 I {1989) 225-248 +■ pits. 33-34 (especially pp. 228-231 with reference to J. Margueron, Recberches sur les palais m�sopolomiens de l�ge du Bronze jPoris 1982) 32); id., •Excavations ctjemdet Nasr, 1989,' Iraq 52 (1990) 25-39; id., Jemdet Nasi: the Site and ihe Period,' Biblical Aichaeo'ogist 55 {1992) 196-203; id., MSVO 2. Matthews is more caulious in his idenlilicatio-i of the function of this structure, referring simply to 'Langdon s large building'.

M Rj. Matthews, MSVO 2.

21 Definitely identified as from Kish are only the tablets MSVO 1, 205 (frogmen! of a damaged lablel wiih an account of small coule; from mound Z, possibly no! archaic); MSVO ', 207 (frogmenl will o groin occount); MSVC 1, 224 (nearly complete but damaged tablet with an accounl of sexagesimal^ cojnled objects, from the polcce; cf. OECT 7 to sign no. 128); MSVO 1, 241 (fragment with on account ol sexagesimalty counted objects; probably no: archaic, see L. Watelin and S. langdon, Excovations ol Kish IV 1925-1930 [Paris 1934] p. 37 [W 1929] found unnumbered 24.8.1912); MSVO 4, 74 j„ polished limestone tablet, first published by S. langdon. Excavations at Kish I [Paris 1924] 99, this 'able! has mistakenly been identified as an exomple of Uruk IV script found ou'side of Uruk, cf. my remarks in MSVO 4, p. 28).

2J M5VO 1-2 (Berlin 1991 and 1993, respectively).

� K Field, The Track ci Man [..] (Garde* City, NY, 1953) 177. According to exIanlAshmol eon museum records, at least two (MSVO 1, nos. �c and 150) of the tablets published by S. Langdon in JRAS 193 1, 837-841, and represented by him os having come from the Walelin excavation were in fact accessioned in the year 1924 and may have been part of the Parisian Gejou group discussed above. The only extant reference to ttvefind spots of the Watelin tablets is to be found in o sketch in a letter Irom the excavator lo langdon; see P.R.S. Moorey, Kish Excavations 1923-1933 (Oxford 1978) 149-150.

24 "[here were four questionable finds in this regard. The two texts MSVO 1, 236-7 were apparent examples of what is generally called 'numerical tablets'; however, neither lexl hod been impressed wi:h o cylinder

monogement, g-ain harvest, storage and distribution, mixed records of different kinds of commodities, lists of personnel, bul very few documents from the management of domestic animals, in contrast to the very numerous records of small and large caltle farming known from Uruk. The size of ihe fields recorded in the texts MSVO 1, 1-6, is such that their theoretical grain harvest could feed a populalion of 3000+, that is, a household larger ifian one would magine the size of the tell itself could hove supported. One, and possibly two school texts were uneorlhed in Jemdet Nasr, bearing evidence of the leaching of proto-cuneifcrm there.

2.2. Uqa/r

As stated above, nearly a quarter of a century before the first archaic tablets from Mesopotamia were uneorlhed during the 1926 excavations of Jemdel Nasr, some 35 archaic texts and lexl frag.merts from Babylonia found their way via the antiquities market into the possession of the Berliner Staatsmuseen. These for the most part fully preserved tablets were forgotten25 until A. Fa'kenstein began work in 1931 on the over 700 archaic documents uncovered in the three German campaigns at Uruk conducted between 192B and 193126 and was made aware of their exigence by P. Jensen.27

Primarily due to the 'appearance on one of the purchased tablets of a seal impression well attested on tablets recovered at Jemdet Nasr, Folkenstein assigned these texts to the same

seal, as was common proclice wrlh the many other numerical toblels found in Uruk and elsewhere. All oF these lexis would oppear lo derive from archaeological strata either wilheut further written issuance, or, in Ihe case of Uruk and Suso, immedialely preceding those levels containing ideogiophic tablets, lack of excovalion records makes a judgment ol Ihe moaning of such unsealed texts ol Jemdel Nasr impossible; ihey may represent idle praclice of o student. In like fashion, Ihe two texts MSVO i, 238-9, are both logs with holes through iheir long ax'S Indicating Ihol ihey had been hung on string. Although ihe signs imp-essed on these small lozenge-shaped tablets could dote from bolh the Uruk IV ond the Uruk III periods, the seeming numerical strokes impressed on bolh contrast to the practice ol similar lags known from the Uruk IV period in Uruk, which were in the farm of o pillow ond contained onfy ideograms (see ATU 5, p, 33 to W 6759, ond fig. 1 8 below; ihe only exception, W 14330, appears to be ol Uruk III date). 75 The ediloi of the Faro lexrs in ihe same museum, A. Deimei, was unaware of the existence of 'he archaic texts during his study ol the Fata material in 1920-19! 1. He included in the first volume of ihis Fata work, Lisle act archaischen Keilschriltzeichen, WVDOG 40 [Leipzig 1922) pp. 73-75, copies of all archaic inscriptions known lo him, including the only other proto-cuneifo'm text (now MSVO 4, 72} in the BerlIn collection besides Ihe 1903 archive which entered the museum orior to the influx of Uruk tablets aler 1928.

26 See below lo ATU 1 published in 1936.

17 Presumably, the news of the Uruk finds reminded Jensen of the existence of the archive of originally 36 pieces purchased in 1903 [two fragments published under the numbers ATU 1, 651 ond 653, were suspected by Falkensloin p 43 of joinirg 'ohne Anschlu�"; further inspection of the two pieces resulted in a physical join, reducing Ihe collection to 35), which ihe emeritus professor from Morburg hod likely inspected as a former sludent of E. Schroder and close friend of A. N�ldecke in Berlin. Jensen brought ihis lexl corpus to Folkenslein s attention, who decided lo include photographs of the texts in his planned publication of llie Uiuk texts. See ihe photos ATU 1, nos. 621-656, now copied and re-ediled os MSVO 4, nos. 1-35.



Texts from Ire la re Uruk Period

Excavations and chronology - Uqoir

site.28 Written evidence suggests, however, that the tablets in fact derive from lie site of Uqair some 30 miles south of Baghdad, to the northwest of Jemdet Nasr (see figure 1This site, excavated in the war years 1940-41 by S. Lloyd and F. Sa:ar, consisted also of two main mounds, of which Mound A contained a Late Uruk selt'ement surrounding a temple complex, the 'Painted Temple'. A sounding cut io the east of this temp'e opened a structure identified by the excavators as a chape! (figure d), in the debris of which three, and inside of which one tablet of Uruk III date were found.3" These occounts shared with the 1903 texts in Berlin the sign combination KU,o RAD0 UR,, presumably representing the ancient settlement Urum.31

The modest number of texts which can be ascribed to 'Uqair' do not offer a secure basis for a judgment of the economic nature of the archaic settlement.31 Accounts dealt with grain administration, small collie, fresh and dried fish, dried fruits aid products from animal husbandry, metal objects and textiles, laborers or slaves, and fields. All accounts record amounts of goods which seem consonant with the mixed economy of a single modest, self-sufficient household.

28 ATU 1, p 4, referring to no. 656 (now MSVO 4, 15).

20 J. Friberg, ER8MII. 10-11, tentatively ascribed the lexis to Uqair on ihe basis ol script and formal, a view repealed and exponded upon by M.W. Green in 'Urum and Uqoir,' ASJ8(19S6) 77-83, basea onsign combinations, in particular KU^ RA0a UR2, contained in the texts which were common wilh rotations on tabids deriving from regular excavations at Uqair, R.J- Matthews has most recently in MSVO 2, 30-31, reviewed this issue, which is complicated by the fact that an one of the tablets the seme seal impression is bund as that of a brge number of tablets from Jemdet Nasr, as had been ncted earlier by Falkenslein (preceding n.|, and I hove noted (ATU 5, 1 I6} that the occurence of tablets which hod been sealed in a city other than that in which they were found is exlremey rare in third millennium Mesopotamia. II thus remoins to be shown mat the 'Uqair' lexis are not in fact from Jemdet Nasr, as Falkenslein suspected, specifically from an administrative unit in lhal city associated through the pjla'ive city league la Uaair; moreover, since no further information about the provenience ot circumstances of purchase cf the 1903 texts is ol present available, it is important to remember that in Ine year of their acquisition only the excavations at ancient Shuruppak (and possibly those of Girsu following the death of E. He Sariec in 1902) woukJ have offered ready archaic levels for 'ablet theft.

30 See S. lloyd and F. Safar, Tell Uqoir. Excavations by the Iraq Government Directorate ol AnliquiFes in 1940 and 1941 ,'JNES 2 (1943) 131-58, in porticu'ar pp. 155-158 ^ plls. 30-31. Incidentally, lloyd op.cit. p. 135 wrote diplomatically thai work at Uqair, resumed on April 13, 194 1, 'was interrupted by political events in May of that year, but was agoin continued in June Tne political events referred Io were 'he British-Iraqi hostilities in May resulting from the attempt by the Rashid Ali government Io modify, in lovor ol ihe Axis powers, the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty terms of 1930 governing wartime conditions. In the short course of this period of unresl, A. falkenslein in June participated in the only German landing of lh0 war in Iraq, which was designed b aid in o general uprising against British presence in the country l>y nalionolists and fascist sympathizers; the Orient expert was able to escape Briiish capluro by furtively returning overland to Syria (see W. Kohlhaas, Hiller-Abenteuer im Irak [Freiburg 1989J). while ar ihe same time lloyd was on his way back to Uqair from Baghdad - openly.

31 P. SteinkeJIev, 'On the Reading and Location of the Toponyms URy.U.KI and A.HA.KI.'JCS 32 j 1980) 23-25.

" The texts have now been collected and republished as MSVO 4, nos. 1 -40.

t>eposit ol Jemdet Most potteiy ond tabids Sounding I sections

Figure 4: Toblel loci at Uqcir

Plan ol Ihe piesumablc cTOpel ca. 15 meters eosl of the "aimed Temple of Ucair below which \ pottery ard tablets d Urul. Ill dote letter 5. Llcyd end F. Solar, JN[S 2 [ 1943) pits. IV end Vl).

i found

2.3. Law?

The provenience of o group of 27" exceptionally well preserved tablets, all bought from antiquities dealers, can only be conjectuted, P.E. van derMeer purchased 17 of the tablets in this group while inspecting oriental collections in the vicinity during his work al ihe excavations of Kish in 1935.3" In his publication of the texts the following year,35 van der AAeer staled lhal the table's in oil likelihood came from a site close to Kish, probably Jemdet Nasr. The common underwriting officials PAo AN MARo ond NAM, BU3 PAP attested in these tablets and in texts Irom two other small collections, one bought by the Iraq Museum,

35 Now collected and 'epublished os MSVO 4. nos. 41-67.

3< from a paper lead by W Delsman, Katholieke Universileil, Nijmegen, delivered ot ihe occosion of ihe presontal,on ol Ihe.von do, Meer collec1.cn os o permanent loon to ihe Vrije Unive.siteil, Amsterdam on 71 February 1989. p. 2. '

" ^Mftabl^^mlP^raP,'^�.'RA 33 (1936) 185-190. Ollhe 17 texls published by von der Moer. 1m no 3 p. 190) apparently neve, entered the Nijmegen, ond so is not in the present Vriie Unrvors.to.1 collection; see F A.M. Wiggermann, Aan de wieo van he. schrilr Mesopolomische

Texts from the lole Uruk Pa-ioc

Excavolions and chrenfilngy - Lorso?

Baghdad, in 1933,36 the second by the Yale Babylonian Collection in 1934,37 suggest they were found together. The only information available from any of the individuals involved in the sale of these tablets was given officials of the liuq Museum at the time of their 1933 purchase by a dealer in Baghdcd, who stated that the tablets derived from (illicit! excavations at Senkere, ancient Larsa. Falkenstein discounted this information, however, and proposed instead that these texts as well as those published by P.E. van der Meer hod been stolen during regular excavations of Uruk, with which he was associated.36 Indeed, Uruk would at the time have been a likely target lor thieves interested in ready access to tablet levels and A. Falkenstein may have been privy to information he was for professional reasons unable to divulge - and dealers O'e notorious sources of bad information -, yet the reticence of Falkenstein and others lo ascribe tablet finds lo sites which had otherwise produced no comparable material may have been overdone. We know from the archaic list of Babylonian toponyms3' that Lcrsa assumed third place behind Ur and Nippur and before Uruk and so must have been a major center in the archaic period," we know that the sign combination U. AB/ARARMAj (=Larsa) is also attested in seven archaic administrative texts from Uruk, in at least two of which the geographical nature of the combination is clear,"1 and we know that the plundering of the site Senkere in the early 1930s was so annoying to its excavator A. Parrot that he was relieved to terminate his work there". Larsa, specifically a temple household within the settlement designated AN MAKg," can thus not be dismissed as a possible source of this archive, which deals almost exclusively with the administration of grain, in particular by the two officials named above and a small number of other officials apparently active in AN MAR,. The accounts in this group of rather substantial

34 A. Falkenstein, "Archaische Texte des Iraq-Museums in Bagdad,'OLZ40(1937) 401-410, The purchase was pesumably mode by ihe Uruk excavator J. Jordan, al the time direcloi general of the Iraqi antiquities department.

37 FJ. Stephens in G.G. Hackman, Sumerian and Akkadian Administrative Texts Irani Predynaslic Times r0 the End of the Akkad Dynasty, BIN" 8 (New Haven 1958) p. 4. The accession of iho lirst three archaic texts published in SIN 8 (nos. 3, 4 and 5) in ihe Collection of James B. Nies l^NBC), o1 Ihe last |no. 9) in the Yale Babylonian Collection (YBC), Implies they did not enter the United Stales in the some lot. The different subject matter (small cattle) and subscribing official (EN0 KU. RADj suggest that this tablet probably does nol derive from ihe some archive and is possibly nol from the same sile as ihe other lorsa' texts.

38 OLZ40(1937) 401. � See below, figs. 25-27.

*> The version of this list contained in the jemdet Nasr 'city seof places larsa before Nippur; see R.J. Matthews, MSVO 2, 36-38 (to ARARMA2).

ATU 5 pi 13 W 6705,g obv. i 1 (?; ihe identification at the sign is nol certain); W 17729,g obv. i 1 (unpublished), W 17729.Q obv. i 2 (see ATU 3. pi. BBl, W 20327,5 obv. i 2 (see ATU 2. pi. 32), W 20511 2 obv. v 2a5 and 4a (unoublished), W 24033,1 obv. i 3 [see A. Cavigneoux, BoM 27 11991] 1 17), and W 24004,3b i 2'(IN, ARARMAj/ 2N, SAl, following IN, URI5 / IN, SAl and before [col. ii] IN, BU0+BUn+NA2a / [ SAL], a list ol fe.Tia'e slaves donated to Uruk cults by mopr Babylonian towns?; see�A. Covigneaux, BaM 22, 78).

a A Porrol RA 30 (1933) 175. See also the comments of L. Goldstein end K. Kinligh. American Aniiquiiy 55 (1990) 585-591; C. Wile!�, FS Sjoberg 557-571.

* Allhough Ihe most common personal designation in the archive is the sign combination PA, AN MAR, AN MAR is attested in isolated contexts suggestive of a sponsoring inslilulion; see MSVO 4. pp. 14.19.

grain quantities" seem to support the contention that ihey reflect a household economy smarter than that of Uruk of the Late Uruk period/5 but still larger than that registered in the groin accounts both from the 'Uqair group,"4 and from the site Jemdet Nasr."7

2.4. Others

One small, and one large archive nearly complete the survey of those text groups from the archaic period which did nol derive from regular Uruk excavations. Two small texts come from excavations of Tell Asmar^, demonstrating that elites were active in the Diyala valley in the Late Uruk period. The second archive consists of 85 extraordinarily well preserved tablets from the former Erlenmeyer collection."* The archive deals above all with the administralion of an archaic brewery and related groin depot; although this activity is poorly attested in the Uruk texts, the archive was, based on the use of professional names highly reflective of (he Uruk professions lisrM ond on the common atteslotion of the brewery office "KU SIM"J\ presumably pilfered from either Jemdet Nasr or Uruk in the lole 1950s.52 There

Compere MSVO 4, nos. 44 (totals corresponding to 4N,. 2N„ 2N,g, corresponding to ca. 21,300

48'.BNli lNla 2N,, co. 36,203 liters), 59 (2N^ 2Nti 6N,„ 3N, 1 N30 + 2N37 !N,78N ■' [ . 2N.j 2N,"' 1 Nj,, ca. 24,1 30 liters) ui-.d 62 (three subtotals corresponding loco. 45,000



Campore W 17729,ca (notation corresponding to 4711+ N,, or ca. 118,000 lilers), W 20740,6 (two subtotals of botley and emmer wheal corresponding to 4764 N, or ca. II 9,000 lilers), VV 22123.c (a to'al co-responding to 54CO N, or co. 135,000 liters; all three texts unpublished), and the account W 19726a [a total corresponding to 36,032.2 N, or co. 900,800 lilers; see P. Dameiow, R.K. Englund and H.J. Nissen. Spektrum der Wisserisc ha fl, M�rz 3/1988, p. 47, and HJ. Nissen, P. Damerow ond S.K. Englund. Archaic Bookkeeping, pp. 32-34).

Compare MSVO 4, 1-2 [totals corresponding to just 660 N,, or approximately 16,500 liters). Compare r\ASVO i, 65 (notation co-responding lo 600 N, or approximately 15,003 liters); MSVO 1, 42 (somewhat more, but since it is from the ont quilies merket, its provenience remains uncertain). According to highly speculative models cl calculation used in MSVO 4, p. 17"6. ihe often cited field meosuiemcnl texts MSVO 1, 1-6, could represent a grain notalional range of from 14.350 to 172,800 N,, or ca. 360,000 to over 4 million liters far the lorgesl occounl (see MSVO 4 p 1744) M5VO 4, nos. 79-80; see fig, 1.

See H.J Nissen, P. Dametow ond R.K Englund. Fr�he Schrift und Techniken der Wirtschaftsverwaltung im allen Vorderen Orienl (2nd edition, Berlin 1991; now avai'oblc in English translation os id., Archaic Bookkeeping: Early Writing arid Techniques of Economic Administralion in the Ancient Near East [Chicago 1993)1, and P. Dameiow and R.K. Englund. The Praia-Cuneiform Texts of ihe Erlenmeyer Collection, MSVO 3 iBerlin, forthcoming!. The mojorily (80) of the texts fiom this archive enleied the onliquilies collection ol H. ond M.-l. Erlenmeyer in Ihe mid-fifties (only eight tablets were missed: ihe five texts from the Bibliotlieca Bodmeiiana. Genevo. published by E. Sollberger, 'Sumerico ' ZA 53 [ 19591 1 3 two tablets purchased in the 1960s p| by G. ligobue. Venice, and one boughl by M. TMeny ond published byJ.-P. Gregoire, MVN 10. 81). See figs. 32 and 35 below.

On on unpublished lablei from Uruk (unnumbered) in the Iraq Museum, but note also the attestation of the sign combination KU,,, SIM,, in the Jemdet Nasi text MSVO I, 216 obv. i 2. ond further Ihe peculiar form � '.:;.1in„EN' ,,W ™-nbinalion EN, SAl. wife of the EN', lound both in Erlenmeyer texls (for example 63 and 64; see below tig. 72) ond in those fiom Jemdel Nasr (especially in the " 1. 2. 3 ond 5; see below, fig 83)

in MSVO 3. nos. 61 held lexis MSVO 1.

It may be s-a.ed (a, rhe record thai the recently deceased], van Dijk in a peisonal communication reported thai 1� was shown the spot in Uruk wheie the tablets we.o removed, oppaienrty in connection with the



Texts From the lote Uruk Period

Excavctions and chronology - Uruk

is some evidence in the onliquities markets in Europe, in particular in London, that archaic levels of one or more sites hove been reached by recent irregular excavators; the extent of this post-Kuwait-war activity will only become apparent in the coming yeors.i3

2.5. UxtlK

Despite their often impressive state of preservation, an effect on the one hand ol ihc firing of thejemdet Nasr tablets which took place in antiquity, on the other of the sifting effect the antiquities markets have on tablets leaving Iraq and destined for a buying public in Europe and the United States, the sizes, and the temporal breadth of those archives pale in comparison with the numbers of tablets unearthed by the German excavations in Uruk. The data base of the Berlin-Los Angeles research project Archaische Texte aus Uruk currently comprises some 5410 numbers representing as many archaic texts ond fragments from the periods Uruk IV and III. Of this number, fully 5000 represent archaic documents from those levels in the district Eanna of Uruk.w

The early excavation and work on the objects from the southern Babylonian site ol Uru< are inextricably linked with the names of two German scholars. The archaeologist J. Jordan" and the philologist A. Falkenstein56 formed the early core of a group of Germans who have

removal in the same area of the Late Uruk srrake bowl' published in W. Nagel, 'Fr�he GroFiplasliL urd die Hochkulturkunst am Erylhr�ischen Meer,' Berliner Jahrbuch F�r Vor- und Fr�hgeschichte 6 (1966) 30-40 + pits. 2-8. While (his must be understood as hearsay once removed, von Dijk had broad experience in Iraq, in particular with the Uruk finds, and was a garrulous and inquisitive scholar. The dealer M. Kouloulokis, Geneva, who moved almost the entire Etlenmeyer collection into European hands, was unable or unwilling to make any ol the earlier circumstances ol the tablets known to me. 53 The conliscation by the Iraqi Department of Antiquities of hundreds of Ur III tablets pilfered in Umma has been widely, if informally reported: so too hos the depressed market in london and elsewhere lor lexis from Ihe same site due to ihe numbers ol pieces currently being offered and their obviously unclear legal status.

!J The archaic texts (torn Uruk are currently available for study in five Berlin publications- A Falkenslein ATU 1 (Berlin 1936); M.W. Green and H.J. Nissen, ATU 2 (Berlin 1987)- A Cavicneaux in: A. Covigneaux el al., TJruk 33/34," FJaM 2.2 (1991) 33-123 ('Die Texte der 33. Kampagne')'and 124-163 ("Die Texte der 34. Kampagne'] leopicsand catalogue of Ihe archoic texts from Ihe 33rd and 34lh campaigns); R.K. Englund ond HJ. Nissen, ATU 3 (Berlin 1993): R.K. Englund, ATU 5 (Berl'n 1994). A complete catalogue and four further volumes of archaic administrative documents are nsw ,n preparation, and a complete data base of all prclo-cuneiform sources will be mode availab'e via the internet (currently [December 1997] in preliminary form under ihe URL ht!p://eoriy.;uneiform humnet.ucla.edu/],

55 J.Jordan studied architecture at ihe University oF Dresden, and was introduced to Near Eastern archoeoloqy by W. Andrere. His first excavation experience was wilh R. Koldewey al Babylon in 1903, then tiam 1903 to 1912 wilh Andrae in Assur, and from 19) 2 as director of excovalions at Uruk

� A. Falkenstein studied under B. Landsberger in Icipzig and completed his dissertation deoling wilh Sumerian incantations in 1929 (Die Haupttypen der sumerischen Beschw�iung literarisch untersucht le.pzigei Semitische Studien, Neue Folge 1 [Leipzig 1931). One year later, he assumed a position as research assistant al the Orient-Fo.-schungs-lnstifut of ihe Max Freiherr von Oppenheim Foundation in Berlin. In Ihe Vorderasiatisches Museum of ihe Berliner Staatsmuseen, Falkenste�n further pursued his interes' in literary texts, seeing to a very rapid completion the exemplary edition of 133 of the 250 such table Is [Litera rise fie Keilschrifttexte aus Uruk [Berlin 1931]) discovered just two years ecrlier as pail of the approximately 6000 cuneiform texts ond text fragments from the 1928-29 German expedition to Uruk.

mounled yearly campaigns to Uruk since 1928, interrupted only, but often, by the effects of world and regional wars.57 The first German campaign look place in 1912,iB followed by a tang hiatus caused by World War I and the subsequent convulsions in both the German diplomatic relations requisite lo academic work in the British protectorate of Iraq and of course the financial capabilities of hard-pressed Weimar Germany to support and conduct large-scale excovalions abroad."

Excavations resumed in 192860 when wilh financing of the Noigemeinschaft der Deulschen Wissenschall, an organization created to secure short-lerm financing of projects which might olherwise have been irrevocably lost to German scholarship, Jordan began a large-scale attempt to recover the architectural remains of the major mound in the middle of the expansive remains, named, according to later identifications, Ecnna, 'House of heaven' [figures 5. 6). A great appeal for ihe architect Jordan by in the fact thai in ihis cenlral district archaic building levels were partially exposed, wilh out the often tedious layers of later settlements which had lo be removed and dulilully recorded. Nevertheless, the first campaign after the war was spen: surveying the mound and making some preliminary cuts in areas including Icter deposits. Among the greal numbers of neo-Babylonian economic documents from lhal campaign, only 4 archaic tablets were recovered, and these remained unidentified.01

" The campaigns through 1956 ore described in some detail by R. North, "Status of the Warka Excavation,' OrNS 26119571 135-256.

is See J. Jordon, MDOG 51 (April 1913) 47-76, MDOG 53 [April 1914) 9-17, and WVDOG 51 (leipr g 1928). In fact, Uruk had been the object of some historical interest sincej. Fraser's visit in 1835, reported ir his Travels in Kocrdislon, Mesopotamia, ic, [...], vol. 2 (london 1840) 139 (calling the mound 'Wartha); W.K. Lcflus conducted a short excavolion at ihe site in 1850 and again in archoic levels in the first months ol 1854, as the resull ol which one archoic tablet and some ether objects were sent to the 3iilish Museum. See J. Reode, 'An early Warka tablet,' FS Slrommenger (Munich 1992) 177-179 ■ pi. 79. The text BM 1851-1-1-21 7. a numerical tablet ol a type herelofo-e unknown in Uruk, bears o Strang resemblance lo a specific type of numerical texts from Susa, Tell Br�k ondjebel Aruda [a. A, le Brun and F. Vallal, Torigine de lecrilure � Suse,' CahDAFI 8 11978] 11-59, particularly p. 47-S.A. JosimandJ. Oates, 'Early tokens ond tablets in Mesopotamia [...],' Word Archaeology 17 [ 19B6] 358; G von Did. Tabids Iromjebel Arudo.' FS Kraus [Leiden 1982] 12-25], Loftus was also ihe first to publish o map oF Uruk [W.K. loflus. Travels ond Researches in Choldooa ond Susiona [...J [London 1857] bet*. 160-161), which he had drawn together wilh H. Churchill during his 1854 visit. E. Koldewey, in a survey expedition (together wilh ihe Berlin Orientalist E. Sachau) which resulted in his choice of Babylon as excovction site, exemined and presented a detailed report ol Uruk. On the 18lh of December 1902, final y, W. Andrae visited and drew up a rough rr.ap of Ihe ruin, and guthered some surface objects, including a Selcucid period cuneiform trogment from Ihe Irigal temple; see A. Kose, 'Waller And.ae's Besuch in Urut-Worko vom 18.12.1902,' FS Boehmer (Mainz 1995) 299-306. Thus both men with whom Jordan first worked in Iraq had included Uiuk omong Ihe possible sites of their own excavations.

15 British officials in loci authorized R.P. Dougherty of Yale lo assume control of the Uruk site in 1920; since Dougherty was unable to organize excava'ions in due lime after Ihe 1920 agreement, however, the drrectot of antiquities in Iraq. S, Smith, relumed excavolion rights lo Jordan.

00 The 1928 campaign was designated the first Uruk excavation in ihe official publications of the excavators.

ftl W 1872,1-2, 2134 and 2352, see ATU 5, pi. 1; see the report by J. Jordan, Uruk-Wotko noch den Ausgrabungen durch die Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, WVDOG 51 (Leipzig 1928); id., Erster vorl�ufiger Bericht �ber die von der Noigemeinschaft der Deulschen Wissenschaft in Uruk-Worko unternommenen Ausgrubungen [UVB I), APAW 1929/7 (Berlin 1930).




Texts from the bte Uiirk ?cnod

Over 200 archaic tablets ana fragments were unearthed in ihe folowino compaign of 1929-30," far which the Assyriologist W. von Soden acted as philologist as replacement for A. Falkenstein, who was completing work on his doctoral candidacy. From 1930 on a research assistant at the von Oppenheim Oriental Institute, Falkenstein was able to participate in the following Uruk campaign of 1930-3 ] ,63 in the course of which over 650 texts and text fragments were recovered. The imparlance of these finds was immediately apparent to the excavation team. Not only were a number of tablets of the Jemdet Nasr, that is, the Utuk III type among the recovered texts - Uruk III period labiets exactly like those published from Jemdet Nasr excavations conducted several years earlier and published by Langdon in 1928 - but the great majority of the archaic finds From the ear!y campaigns were, based above all on paleographic criteria," still older than thejemdel Nasr style texts and thus the oldest known texts from Mesopotamia altogether.

Unfortunately, the paleographic identification of archaic Uruk documents would come to play a ecding role in Late Uruk chronology, rather than the stratigraphy of the site," Generally speaking, eighteen slratigraphic layers, counting from top to bottom, were identified within Eanna for the time before the Ur III period. Layer I dates to the Early Dynastic, layer III lo the Jemdet Nasr period.66 The layers IV to VIII were ascribed to 'Laie Uruk'. Excavations have shown lhat the Uruk III level buildings were erected over the grounds of razed Uruk IV constructions, and that the leveling of the many pits formed in razing the old buildings resulted in substantial earth moving, including the transportation of fresh and already deposited debris from the prior administrative centers. Thus trash heaps of shards, bones and discarded tablets were mixed with ancient excavations of still alder debris and used lo fill in holes and pits. It is nol difficult lo imagine the impact this mixing and depositing hod on the original archival contexts of the tablets concerned.

The archaeological context of the tablets from the early campaigns is thus heavily conlam incled particularly so in ihe case of the difficult architectural and above all stialigraphic situation encountered by the excavators in the region, chosen lor digging in the 1930-31 campaign to the immediate southeast of the Ur-Nammu zigguraf in the central district, Eanna (figure 6) The superimposition of diverse building levels reaching from the Uruk III into the Uruk V strata in this area led the excavators first to assume they had uncovered there a homogeneous Uruk IV period monumental building, called by Jordan the "Red Temple".67 Subsequent work however, has weakened the case for a discrete architectural feature,68 leaving but remains of walls and floors which seem to be associated with one another in large part through contextual finds, including tablets. The confusing stratigraphic situation is vexing, since it

� J.Jordan, Zweiter vorl�ufiger Bericht)...](UVB 2}, APAW 1930/4 (Berlin 1931), in particular pp. 28-20

and 43-47 for a short description ol the finds. 63 Cf. J.Jordan, Dritter vorl�ufiger Bericht [..,] [UVB 3), APAW 1932/2 (Berlin 1932) pp. 11-1 2. M These will be discussed below,

65 Sec Ihe commentary ol Falkenstein's 'stratigraphic ideniificotions' by HJ. Nisser in ATI! 2. 26-28.

66 Layer II has as c defective identification been dropped from current terminology. a UVB 2, pp. 29-31 with pi. 4.

68 H.J. Lenzen, ZA 49 (1950) 12; HJ. Nissen, ATU 2, 28-34; R. Eichmann, Uruk: Die Slroliaiochlr. [ 1 AUWE 3 [Mainz 1989) pp. 30-31, pits. 1 -4 and plan 1.

Excavations end chronology - Jwk

Figure 5: Plan of Uruk

Each square imwcsenrs 1 OOx 100 meters. The district liom which most orchoic material wos excovoted is found in the rnidd'e of the mound. Its name Eanna. 'house of heaven,' derives from later identifications.

was precisely in this areo lhat ihe largesl groups of administrative tablets from the paleographic phase Uruk IV were unearthed.

The remains of the Red Temple and thus the tablets found there covered by a leveling ol the area carried out in ihe beginning Uruk III period (Uruk lllcj are now generally assigned to the building sub-phase Uruk IVo,65 dated lo ca. 3200 B.C. Large numbers of the piclographic tablets, however, are now ascribed by D. SuTenhagen to the straligrophic levels Uruk IVc-b, and a small number ol so-called numerical tablets (see below) to level Uruk V. Siirenhagen

v! Nissen, ATU 2. 29-30. following Lenien, e*plains the reasoning behind ihe correclion ol ihe original, poleographicclly determined dating oi the building comp'ex horn IVb to IVo.



Text from the lole Urult Period

Excavations and chrono'ocy - Uruk

Figure 6: Plan of trie central district Eanna

Each square represents 20x20 meters. The numbers of archaic texts found ore indicated in the respective nxco vation squares. The highest concentrations ol Uruk IV period texts came (ran in and around the area of the "Red Temple', that ol ihe Uruk HI period (ram in and around the area of Hie 'Great Court".




Probable firxrspnl cjl !he tablets W 6S81-6SB3


Figure 7: The so-called Red Temple

Wall eleven ions and ihe Imd spol ot important numerical tablets are indicated


Tests �rom the lote Uruk Period

Excavations and chronology - Uruk

bases this asctiplion on a review of the sltaligraphy and architecture of this area and of the seal impressions and pottery found in association with groups of in particular the numerical tablets,70 but above all based on his belief that the Red Temple through its association with the pillared terrace to the southwest is to be dated to Uruk IVb or.d (hot the niched woll shown in figure 7 obove was in fact the enclosure wall of a temple below the Red Temple complex, of which only the H-shaped base posfament was preserved. The tablets found in association with this wall will have thus been deposited at the lime of the construction of the Red Temple 01 even earlier. This theory, if correct, would have severe consequences (or the now conventionally accepted belief in an explosive development of prolo-cuneilorm curing the Uruk IVa period.7'

Toward the end of the third campaign, and again in the seventh, the Uruk excavators undertook to clear away and examine the remains of the White Temple 'figure 8)72 in the squares K XVII which exhibited architectural parallels to the larger temple complexes ol levels IV and V of neighboring Eanna, two hundred meters to the east. The gypsum tablets found in various rooms of this structure will be discussed in a later section; unfortunately, the straligraphical relationship of the building complex to the majo' architectural remains of Eanna cannot, despite the dating ttench dug between the two areas, ot present be clarified, nor is the relationship of ihe tablets themselves to the building obvious, as H.J. Nissen has pointed out.73

The publication of the archaic texts from the First three post-war Uruk campaigns oppeored in 1936 as the volume Archaische Texte aus Uruk.74 In this study, Falkenslein surveyed the malerial and techniques employed in the production of archaic cloy documents, the text formal of these tablets, and offered an outline of early cuneiform paleography, citing Ihe sources and studies of early tablet archives known at the time.73 The contents ol the archaic

70 For a preliminary summary of Surenhogen's arguments for this chronology, hopefully to be laid out in full with publication of his Hobilitotionsschrift, see his article "Relative Chronology of ihe Uruk Period '...]," Bulletin of The Canadian Society forMesopotamian Studies 25 (May 1993)57-70, in particular -lie fiqs 5-7,

71 The matter will be discussed by H.J. Nissen in Hie introduction to a complete catalogue of lire orchaic texts from Uruk to appear as Katalog der a-cnaischen Texte aus Uruk, ATU 4 (Berlin, for Incoming). Ii may bo noted here in advance of Nissan's catalogue that D. Siirenhagen includes among tablets with a terminus ante quern of Uruk IVb those from the squares PeXV),2 ond Pd-eXVI,3-4 assigned the excavation numbers W6150, 6216, 6611, 6705, 6748, 6759, 6782, 6860, 6881-4, 7204, 7227, 7881-4 R. Eichmann will in his forthcoming AUWE 14 volume on Uruk architecture ofler o de'ailed review of the original excavation plans ond an interpretation of the niclved wall conlrory to thatol Surenhagen [Eichmann believes this wa'l lay in the middle of and aver ihe ternp'e remains preserved at aboul 17.5 m obove plain; nole that the critical straligrophic relationship between the niched wall and the sou'heasl wall of Ihe 'Red Ternp'e' could not be clarified, since the section of the niched woll adjoining the Red Temple was completely missing).

72 So-called because of the while plasler used on its walls. See E. Heinrich, Die Tempel und Heiliqiumer im alien Mesopotamien (...) (Berlin 1982) 35-45 and 61-67, summarized in W, Orlhmann, PKG 14 (1975), 132-133, and R. Notth, Orls'S 26 (1957) 233-237 The temple was situated on the rap level o( the so-colled Anu Zrggurat.

� ATU 2, 49.

7i Now integrated into a series of the Berlin Uuk Pro|ect as ATU 1. " ATU 1, pp. 4-43.

Figure 8: The White Temple from square K XVII in Uruk

texts could be roughly divided into two major categories. The large majority of the texts from the early Uruk campaigns were shown lo be documents from the administrative sphere of activities, for example, lists of personnel, records of tations distributed toofficiols, lo workers ond to livestock, accounts of products deriving from agricultural households and from craftsmen. For fewer texts contained lists of signs and sign combinations which, the same as two comparable tablets already known from Jemdet Nasr,76 represented archaic lexical compendia probably forming part of the curriculum of early scribes/7

Tablets unearthed in subsequent campaigns were only very sporadically edited in preliminary reports of the Germon excavators. J. Jordan was named Director of Antiquities in Baghdad in 19317B: consequently, direction of fhe Uruk excavations was transferred to A. Noldecke,

71 MSVO 1, nos. 2d 2-7M, ongmolly published by S. longdon asOECT 7, nos. 194 ond 101, respectively.

See now R.K. Englund and H.J. Nissen. ATU 3, 66. 77 The lexical lisls ore Vealed below, section 5.

replacing Sydney Smilh in ihis posilion on ihe 21st of March ond conlinuirig as director ihrough to rnid-

Novembct of 193d. thoreallei as advisor lo Soti ol Hasri until 1939, when he wos replaced by S. lloyd.

His residency in BogWod was marked nol only by the highly successkil continuation of Germon excavations



Texts from the Ida Uruk Period

[xcuva'ions nrd chronology - L'ruk

who together with the architects E. Heinrich and HJ. Lenzen continued work ihere into the 11th campaign in 1939, when events in Europe would discontinue German accessibility to Iraq. Above all the architects Heinrich and Lenzen influenced the archaeological planning and execution of ihe Uruk campaigns throughout this period,79 laying free the foundations of the major presumable temples in ihe Eanna area, including Buildings]/Ternpies} C and D, the Pillar Hall and the Building with Four Halls, the intriguing Great Court', the function of which is entirely unclear (see figure 6J. Tablefs and other debris were used in ihe leveling and other architectural elements, including wall fill and the bricks ihemselves, of all of these buildings, in particular in and around the Great Court; however, none of the inscribed remains found could be shown to have been pail of the original inventories of 'he buildings with which they were associated, so that any tentative reconstruction of an archival context of the texts will have lo be proposed based on internal criteria.

H.J. Lenzen resumed excavations in Uruk after 'he Second World War in 1954 and continued work on archaic levels through the late 60s, with first A. Falkenstein, then H.J. Nissen, and final fy A. Covigneaux assuming responsibility fo - editing the arch arc epi graphic finds. Despite the steady discovery of tablets among 'he debris o' excavations subsequent to ihe early campaigns, no further syslemolic publication of the lexis was presented by the edilois following Falkenslein's ATU I in 1936 until Nissen and his collaborators in Berlin begcn to present the results of their cooperative effort to decipher the texts ir 1987.60

Unfortunately, ihe level of record keeping by the Uruk excavators on their archaeological, in particular inscribed finds, was, by current standards, inadequate in campaigns before and after the War. As a rule, all objects were recorded cccording to two criteria: first, the iocus

in ihe south ol ihe counhy, and by a particularly close relationship to the then d-recta of tile Vordcrasia-lisches Museum in Berlin, W. Androe, but also by the developments in Nazi Germany ar.d his own apparent anti-Semitism; see Agatha Christie: An Autobiography (London 1977) 561-562. Incidentally, Jordan had good contacts with representatives ol the German Reiclisau�ciministerium in the early wnr years (see S. Welding, 'Dia Altertums- und Orientwissenschaft im Dienst des deulschen Imperialismus,' Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Universit�t Halle XX/2 .1971] 90-91) and presumably assisted in the planning of the Deutsches Orienlkorps. The staled goal of ils Sondetstab Grobba wos. according lo a memo from the office olj. von Ribbenlrop from 6 November 1941, the 'Vorbereitung des deutschen Vormarsches in den arabischen Raum* (Documentation center of the Gerrran Democratic Republic no. 368142). A. Folkens'ein and H.J. Lenzen belonged lo the military amn of the Orientkotps, the Sonderslob Felmy. Jordan dfed in February 1945 in Berlin.

79 N�kJecke was himself an historian of Islamic art who en'oyed some archaeological training wi'h R. Koldewey in Babylon. Cf. lhe prelimhary excavation repo-ts published by N�ldecke, Heinrich, lenzen and oilier contributors beginning with UVB 4 (Berlin 1932) through UVB 1 1 (Berlin 1940), ond Ihe considerable number of articles and monographs dealing with specific topics in ihe Uruk work, including E. Heinrich Kleinfunde aus den archaischen Tempelichichten, ADFU 1 (Leipzig 1936); id., "Die Siel ung der Urukternpd in der Bcrugeschichte," ZA 49 (1950) 20-44; id., Die Tempel und Heiligt�mei im al'cn Mesopotamien [...] (Berlin 1982); HJ. lenzen, "Die Tempel der Schicht Archaisch IV in Uruk/ ZA 49 i 1950| 1-20; id., 'Mesopolamische Tempelanlagen von der Fr�'nzeit bis zum zweiten Jahrtausend,' ZA 5 1 (1955) | .3^' id.. Die Entwicklung der Zikurrat[...], ADFU 4 (Leipzig 1941); A. Falkenstein, ATU 1. The eaily monographs and reports on the archaeological work are currently being Ihemolicolly revised in the series Ausgrabungen in Uruk-Warka: Endberichle (AUWE).

80 M.W, Gieen and HJ. Nissen, ATU 2. See above, n, 54, for furlher references.

o- the object in excavation squares 20*20m was noted, and second a rough description of the relationship the object bore to some architecturally interesting feature was made. This method of recording often led to entirely horrific generalities about large agglomerotions of small finds.

Archival inforrnot on which might have been derived from lhe excavated Uruk lexis was in great pari lost, due both to lhe recording method of the excavators, but also and fundamentally lo the fact thai the archaic texts f'em Uruk (ormed - seemingly without exception - pari of the general debris of pottery shards, animal remains, etc., removed from administrative units of the central dislrict Eonna and either deposited in trash holes or used as fill in constructions of walls nrd floors, 'his find siluation is of course not only disruptive in any attempt lo reconstruct tablet orchives of specific periods, but moie seriously it exacerbates the difficulties of placing the texts in their chronological framework. Thus the construction levels capping this debtis serve as termini ante quern, that is, as chronological levels before which the lablets must have served their purpose as communication tools.81 These slratigraphic aids, with few uncertain exceptions,8^ huve al best been helpful in assigning rough chronological divisions in lhe inscribed finds, for instance, between texts of Late Uruk and Early Dynastic dale, but not between texts of Uruk III one Uruk IVa dote, lei alone among lexis cf the subdivisions a-c of lhe construction level Uruk III in Eanna. In these cases, Falkenslein, Nissen and others hove attempted lo define poleographical characteristics peculiar to specific subdivisions83 which might serve to define essentially slraligraphic sequences.

Despite these difficulties, cataloguing and research of the Uruk text corpus have shown that in many cases at least the taalets found in particular loci formed substantially coherent and discrele administrative and lexical crchives, that is, that oflen tablets from an individual accounting or school unit will have been gahered and directly deposited al a construction project, thus retaining some of the original integrity cf the writing units. Precise informalion concerning the find locus of lhe tablets might consequently be expected lo aid in lhe important analysis of archival relationships.

81 H.J Nissen has written on extensive commentary on lhe chronology of lhe archaic texts in ATU 2, pp. 21-51 (Datierung der archaischen Texte ous Uruk"), lo which I make general reference as the current standard o: our understanding cf slratigraphic queslions relating lo the archaic epigraphic finds Irom Uruk. See also R. Eichmann s detailed treolment of the entire slratigrcphy ond architecture of the site in his Uruk: Die StrotigtopS.e i ,.|,AUWE 3 liVoinz 1989) and Uruk: Die Architektur I [...], AUWE 14 [Mainz, forthcoming) Disregarding the gypsum rablets Irom the While Temple (see the discussion above), it appears Ihot only the group of lexis ascribed the excovation nos. W 21300 rnighl hove belonged lo the original inventory of the Uruk IV period Building C (lig. 6) where ihey were found. Excavation records place the tablets 'von Brandschult uberdecki auf dem obe'sten Estrich im T-f�rmigen inngioum des Tempels C der Schichl IVa, dicht neben der Ecke aus nord�s'lichem T-Arm und oberem Ende des Longraumes' (see ATU 2, pp. 39-

" HJ. Nisser,. Innere Dalieiungskrilenen," ATU 2, pp. 53-62. The divisions chosen by Nissen ore fotmolly indopondeil of the building levels Uiuk lllc-a, since ihere was no slratigraphic justification for ossigning representative lets lo the wrihng phases he designated Uiuk 111.3-1. See my discussion below.



Prehistoric Wrilirry - Seals

3. Prehistoric writing

Writing may be thought of as a set of commonly accepted graphic signs used to represent communication, historical writing a set of signs which represent a spoken language. There can be little debate about whether proto-cuneiform fulfills the criteria of the former definition. That writing syslem wos a set of symbols commonly accepted and indeed transmitted from one generation to the next, and with it pieces of information were graphically communicated from one partner to another - from the transmitter tc the receiver. Whether or not proto-cuneiform was used to represent a spoken language, for instance Sumerian, as many assume, or some other unknown language, is still o matter of debate. Certainly this was nol its initial, nor ever its primary purpose.

As an accounting system, proto-cuneiform served above all lo communicate and stare administrative data. However, there is some evidence thai despite its accounting role archaic writing could not but reflect elements of the early scribes language. Personal names and toponyms can scarcely have been entirely iconographic combinations in proto-cuneiform, particularly in light of the contact with foreign peoples implicit in the Uruk expansion of the late Uruk period. Further, ihe lexical lists from the 15% of proto-cuneiform documents nol classifiable as cccounts contain evidence of writing conventions which could reflect spoken language, ranging from some standardized sign sequences in combinations which rep'esented attribute - noun (see below, section 4) to a canonized composition which in ell likelihood represented our earliest example of literature (see below, section 5). Since the earliest ideographic syslem unearthed in Uruk, from the Uruk IV period, appears to have been highly developed and conventional zed, some historians have assumed that there must have been pictographic precursors before proto-cuneiform was in use in Uruk, which have either heretofore fallen prey to the vagaries of excavations and remain buried in Near Eastern tells, or were written on materials that could nol survive the millennia as did clay and stone.8'

This conservative argumentum ex silentio can, however, be disregarded, The precursors to Uruk IV period proto-cuneiform are clearly found in the archaeological record from Uruk itself, as well as from nearly every major Lale Uruk site excavated in the Near East. The increasingly involved administrative tools employed by accounling offices of emerging urban centers in the 4lh millennium B.C. included stamp and cylinder seals, counting devices and clay tablets, to name those devices which remained intact in Near Eastern ruins."

84 For instance, S.J. Liebermon, 'Of Clay Pebbles, Hollow Clay Balls, and Writing: A Sumerian Vrew ' AJA 84 (1980) 339-358, argues p. 35B that the level of standardization of the Uruk IVa tents "con only have resulted from a long development'. The more recent and concrete example of I.L Finkel, "Inscriptions from Tell Brak 1984,' Iroq 47 (1985) 187-189, is unsatisfactory for two reasons. Aside from the fact that rhe two purportedly pre-Uruk-IVa tablets discussed by the author derived from fill obove on appareir Old Akkadion level at Brok, the objects themselves cannot be shown lo contain texts; ralher, they may contain simple sketches of animals as ornamentation, and the 'numerals' (in bath coses one circular impression ot Ihe top center of the tablets, giving the appearance of an unsuccessful siring hole) might well serve some purpose unclear to the excavators.

85 HJ. Nissen has most forcefulty presented the view of o measured development ol controlling devices employed in the Uruk period, of which protocunoiform was merely the most obvious. See his comments in

3.1. Seals86

As Adams and Nissen have showr., the Uruk period saw a substantial peculation movement into the Bobylonian alluvial plain, obove all into the region surrounding the southern center of Uruk.67 At ihe same time, and well before ihe initial appearance of inscribed tablets, the first cylinder seals appear,83 replacing the earlier used stamp seals. These devices carried some rnolif - from simple geometric incisions to highly plaslic and natural islic representations of animals and humans - and were impressed on a malleable surface, in Mesopotamia clay. The day thus sealed migh' be a coil wrapped around a cord lying up a leather bag or fastening ihe door of a grain depot, it might also be a stopper pushed into the neck of a jar containing vauable dairy fal. The ve-y act of sealing represents on expression of the aulhorily of the person o: office lhal owned ihe seal. With his 'signature1, ihe sealing individual assumed responsibility for the correctness of a certain transaction and assured the integrity of the clay document' os long as it remained intact.

It has been noled that there were o large number of seals, based of course on the sealings ihey left, found in late Uruk assemblages (some few examples are depicted in figures 9-10), and that the larger the settlement the greater the number of motifs ottesled there.99 The jacket

Archaic Bookkeeping p. 1 1 See also his "Aspects of the Development of Early Cylinder Seals,' BiMes � (1977) 15-23; Grundz�ge einer Geschichte der Fr�hzeit des Vorderen Orients (Dormsladl 1983) 83-87; "The Context ol the Emergence of Writing in Mesopotonra and Iran,' in: J. Curtis (ed.). Early Mesopotamia and Iron: Coniac! ond Conflict 3500-1600 B.C. (londcn 1993) 54-71; lurther, M.A Powell, "Thrcs Problems in the History ol Cnneilorm Writing: Origins, Direction of Script, literacy,' Visible langauge 15 (1981) 419440. esp. 423-424 (remarking on the fad lhal the work of D. Schmondt-Besseret ottered ihe besl evidence of a conceptual deve'opmenl prioi to ihe emergence ot proto-cuneiform).

86 Beyond the standard seal books', see R.J. Matlhews, Clay Sealings in Early Dynastic Mesopotamia: a Funclionol and Conlextual App'ooch (unpublished Ph.D. thesis. University ot Cambridge, 19B9); id., MSVO 2; R. Ditlmonn, "Seals. Sealings and Tablets |...].' in: U. Finkbeinerand W. K�llig (eds.), Gomdal Nasr, 332-366; M.J. Shendge, "The use ol Seals ond the invention of Writing.'JESHO 26(1983) 1 13-1 36; D. Cotlon, First Impressions: Cylinder Seals in ihe Ancient Near Eosi (london 1987); VI. Zeltler, 'Sea'ings as Artifacts of Institutional Administration in Ancient Mesopotamia,'JCS 39 (1987) 197-240; end the general survey McG. Gibson or.d R.D. Biggs (eds.j. Sealsand Sealing in Ihe Ancient Near East, BiMes 6 (Malibu 1977). Early slamp seals have been recently studied in an exemplary publkrolion by A. von Wickede, Pr�historische Slenpelglyplik in Vorderosien, MVS 6 (Munich 1990).

8? R.McC AdamsandH.J. Nissen, The Uruk Countryside [..,] (Chicago 1972); R.McC. Adams, Heartland ol Ci'ies [...] (Chicago 1981). Adorns notes in ihe latter sludy, pp. 67-94, that the settlement patterns showed a decided movement of Middle Uruk inhabitants of the northern alluvium around Nippur and Adab to the south oraund Uruk in the Late Uruk period (compare his tobies on pp. 69 and 90); using the conventional assumption of a population of 125 persons per inhabited hectare, ihe population of his northern setllcmen! enclaves decreased from 38,500 in ihe Middie, lo 21,300 in the tale Uruk period, while in the south it ireteosed from 20,000 to 4 1,000.

18 As early as Uruk VI. See H.J. Nissen, The Developmenl of Writing ond Glyplic Art," in: U. Finkbeiner and W. K�llig (eds), Gamdot Nasr, 316-331.

" See, for example. R.J. Malihows, MSVO 2, 14. The motifs in fig. 9 were possibly not simply chosen at random to represent some characteristic of orchaic life, although Ihot is certainly also Ihe cose. The cult represented in ihe firsl scene, the mortiol ccltons of the second, or the represen'alion of domestic animals, including hunting dogs, in ihe next two, were dearly o common part of archaic existence well if indiiedfy documented in the written sources. R. Ditlmonn in his Ireolment ol ihe practice ot sealing in late Uruk and


Texts from the lole Uruk Pwiod

entwined [toru

Figure 9: Common archaic seel nolifs

of o cylinder seal offered space for a broad variation of forms, and we should assume thai each seal represented one, and possibly several officials from a single office in a household administration. The seals had to serve as irrefutable proof of authorship should a sealed transaction be in any way contested. The need for clear correspondences between sealing individuals or offices and seal impressions clso explains the large number ol figurotive seals - extrapolated from published settlings - in the Late Uruk period. At the same lime, the numbers of seals are indicative of an increasing control of economic movements, and the need to store over time information bearing on the authority of numerous offices charged with controlling those activities.

proto-Elomite Susa in: U. Finkbeiner and W. Rdllig (eds.), Gomdot Nasr, 332-366 (following M. Bron-des, FAOS 3 [ 1979]), has suggested that mere ihon containing-characlerislic scenes, the seals may have borne motifs directly related to the activities the sealing officials were controlling, thus, for instance, the How of sacrifices to a temple household in the case of the first scene (here from Uruk] in lig. 9. This will scarcely be true in the case of the many hunting scenes attested in 'he late Uruk period. Fig. 10 contains eight separate scenes of boar hunts alone. The boar was known os o very dangerous beast with phenomenal charging strength, ond hunting this animal will have boon a sign of particular courage, to which rhe several depictions attest in those scenes of the hunt led by on elite of the archoic period (evidenr for instance in scene c' in his beard, headdress ond his long spear; see also the second scene in lig, 9j, These scenes must have derived from seals representing the authority and the household ol a high-status official, presumably the ruler of the settlement in which the seals were used. See also ihr: important contributions oF P. Amiet, Glyptique susienne, des origines d I'epoque des Perses achemenides [.,.], vols. I-II MDP 43 (Paris 1 972); M-A. Brandes, Siegelab-ollungen aus den archaischen Bouschichlon in Uruk-Warko, FAOS 3 (Wiesbaden 1979); and M.J. Shendge. JESHO 26(1983) 113-136.

Prehistoric Writing - Seals

figure I 0: Archaic seals wirh scenes of wild pigs

Recons'rucied seol impressions depicting lions and boors (a), lions, boor and caprids (b), and apparent hunting scenes (boars being hunted in seals from Uruk, Susa and Hobubo Kabira, as a rule with dcgs| (c-h) (scole ca. 1:2).

Tti^ Ic-aT imp'easlons in she figmn- weic drawn olfei llie toltcwing pvbhections: ol R. Boehmo,, ,„■ It X FngW. ATI J 5. pi 121. no 7 (cl. E Scholl. UVB 5 (1934) 43. pi. 25b. ond P. Amfcn,

to gl/pliqufl mnjopotamienne oichd'que [Poris '961 [pi. 10. no 184). b) J Jordan, UVB 2 (1Q31) 42, to 32 to W 7229,a b. and Schorl, op at, 43, pi 24e Id Amiet, op tit., pi, 10.no, 1821, 0 Bwtimii.opu.pl 13P,no. 16 Id. ScM, cp.dl., 43, pi 25a, HJ lenzen, ZA 49 [1950] 11,%. 14, and AaM.

opci-.pl I0.no-, I B7-IBB |ane seal]) d) I Ingrain. MOM 6 11921) nl 16, no 243 [cl I Le Guten. Iraq 19 [ 1957) 100. Ira. 20, no. 22. end pi. 24. no. 6,

und Amiel, open , pt 39, no 604]. nj Ingram, op � . pi 16. no 245 (cl Ic Breton, op.ctt,, 106, lig 20. no 3. ond Amiet, op cil , pi. 39. no. 607). 1,1 [ SloH-n^ngi-i. HobulM Kabiio tine Srodlvor SCXXlJahjen (rVtainz 1980) 62. Iiq, 55|dj id Snommenaer A1A 84

!l9B0]4aS. lig 3) g) Amiel, ufjcit, pi 40, no CO?

I,i II) Nnrra, ' IWnlt K fcnglund, fr�he Sch.ifl und InWn der VU.rtscfffl'ljverwalnmg im siren Vorderen Oicnl i�ellm '1991} 43 |lne W Imnmuion on o tobte" Irom Ihn brmci trlenmrryrrf collection purchoied by the □wlnorjries of ll�- rVWrofldrkm rVWwi, to™ Yo.l„ wos onginolly drown by Abdoltoh M Kot.il; o cemrrenttjrv will be published bv H P.nmrmondJ Aru.-l ' r '



Text� from the Lote Uruk Period

Prehistoric Writing - Tokens

3.2. Tokens

Although ihe use of seals continued into the period of ideographic writing, it seems obvious that individuals and offices under whose authority goods and services were moving could identify themselves with use ol the new script; the seal impression imparled a personal verification lhal a transoclion was above-board and reconstructable. Bui the crilicc i n'o-rnaiioi, namely the objects and their numbers or measures that were being accounted for, wos stored using other accounting tools. Since her ear'y publications in the mid-1970s, D. Scfimnndi-Besseral has systematically gathered and studied smell, ollen quite unassuming clay and slone objects found in nearly all excavations of pre-lilernle sites in the Near East, ond bosed on he-understanding of the use o( these ob'ects as the earliest prese-ved accourling lools in the Near East has presented c theory of 'he emergence ol prolo-cuneifom which substantially undermines the presumption that the convenlionclizec Uruk IVa willing system presupposes earlier pidographic forms. Her research into the form and function of the objects she called 'tokens'"0 has provoked a healed discussion of their meaning, wilh occasionally harsh criticism of her methodology and conclusions.1"

In reviewing her work, it is importont to first note ihose elements which are, based on the archaeological and epigraphic material, currently generally understood 1o be valid. Undecoraled small geometric objects, Schmandl-Bcsscrat's plain lokens', were present already

Figure I 1: Examples of tokens from Uruk

�'J These small objects nod been collected in Near Eoslern excavations since the turn ol die century. Iiowevoi. they were invariably catalogued by the excavators 05 cull objects or gaming pieces A [. Oppenhcim. 'On an Operational Device in Mesopotamran Bureaucracy. JNES 16 (I959i 151-128. published a clay ball horn the middle erf the 2nd millennium B.C. which contained 48 pebbles in on inner cavity, unci bore on its ouler surface a list of small cattle, altogether 48 head It wos thus clear thai the jiebblei os counters represented, in a one-to-one correspondence, the individual ammcls. The director ol Ihe Oriental deportment of the Louvre Museum, P. Amiet, recogni7(vd ihe lonneclicn between the pebbe-, iclen',l,..d ry, counters by Oppenheim and similar cloy objects found v/ithin cloy envelopes vo~i Susrj tinting to "if .at,. Uiuk period I'll y a 5000 ans les Ebmites invcntoicnt I'ccrilurc,' Archeology I 7 1966. '6-23.. 'ji'l '1 ■, student Schmandt-Besserat, finally, connected these cloy pebbles with the innumerable small ol,|-.i-. Irorn pre-literate levels throughout the Near East which she had been studying in conjunction with work on the earliest examples ol ceramics. See her "The Use of Clay before Pottery in the Zuyoj. F/pedition 16 7 (1974; 1 1.17; 'An Archaic Recording System and the Origin ol Writing, SMS 1/2(1977; 31 -70, Tlie Envelopes that Bear Ihe First Writing," Technology and Culluie 21J19B0) 357-38 5; Rcferc Numerals. Visible Longuage 18 (1984) 48-60; The Origins of Writing [...],' Written Communication 3119861 31. 45; 'From Tokens to Tablets: A Re-evaluation of Ihe So-called "Numerical Tablets Visible kingixKH* 15 (1981) 32 1 -344. These sludies were merged in her recenl Before Wriling vols. Ill 'Austin 1992], which unfortunately due to a poor editorial eFfort did not offer a synthesis ol her cuircril understanding o! '*irly accounting anri piclcgraphy [an abridged edition of vol. I was published in 1996 under rh<- tide of Haw Writing Came About I. See the generally negative leviews by R.K. Fnglund. Science 260 [ I I June- 19^3; i 67a 1671; P. Michalowski, American Anthropologist 95 (1993J 996-999; I'. Daineiow, Re/hls hislorischesJournal 12 (1993) 9-35; J. Fribe-g, OJ. 89(1994; 477.502; P. ZimonsV.y, |ouiraiiof I Archaeology 20(1993) 513-517: and SC. Blown, C5MS Bulletin 3 I May 1996 . 35-43.

51 The lirsl slinging rebuke ol her work was mode by S.J. Liebermon, AjA 84 1980] 339.358, rw/e

criticism has come from G. Sampson, Writing Systems: A linguistic ntredtction ]Palo Alto '9H4 •>//,' S.A. Jasim ond J. Ootes, "early Tokens and Tablets in Mesopotamia; New Information Loir le'l Al ,-„)., and Tell Brak," World Archaeology 17 (1986; 349-350, ond most reccnlly by live leviewr, of |ie|.,i.. Wriling cited in the preceding footnote.

;n Near [astern excavation levels doling lo 8000 B.C. and continued lo be found in levels representing ihe centuries immediately before the appearance in ca. 3200 B.C. ol hue willing in Uruk. In the 4lh millennium, decorated (in Schmandl-Besscrat's terminology complex'; lokens, i.e., cloy lokens of plain ond complex lorm which had been punched through and so probably hung on a siring, or hod been decoialed with varying numbers of hatching incisions, ot bolli. begin lo appear. Many of ihese decotatod lokens beat a striking resemblance to signs bund on the eotliesl tablets, leading Schmandt-Besseral lo identify them as symljolic ihtee-dimensional precursors of two-dimensional prolo-cuneiform signs; ihese tokens, loo, generally ceased lo exist with the emeigence of writing. Archaeological context makes il very difficult lo evaluate the liuc function of these objects (see figure 1 1), they wuie found or at hast recordeo with no convincing administrative context, and in some cases derived (torn loci which would seem to undermine any adminisliative function, for inslnnce in Ihe nirivr.-s o! chi!dic-n.,;-'

Orv 11 ilvlev, successful drums ol Schmandl-Braeral's publications is that ihese catty iolien assemblages ii<| w-vttfvl a en; frit and conventionalized mteiicgionol occounling system, which is unsuppoiled by the nirlm)-nln;|ii ol reronl. >,., us stirtore improbable, and which led in many instances to ad hoc explanations el -,1111111 lirek lUit (,-Kilrl l.,jv.- leriminetl uiinxplginrtj without damage lo her basic ideos. Small clay

"'......'■'" '"'"■' 1 imiiť-r-�tnlfir-rers and iierderr. in coves of 8lh and 7th millennium Persia - really

" ' * 1 ^ 'l 'H'*1 �*��*�*■" tokens lound in mbbish - roolly 0 reflection of tlvc practice

"' '"' '""'""'t'"'-l'"bvl™>� upon completion of a transoclion'.! Small cloy objects found ....►luh-, -.moll ..|T-ef.... ;,.aver, o! rluld.en - roolly markets ol Ihe high status ol aichaic \,,H.,f,n >�i ne.iv I„„„| virarioi-, nlleruigs ol gram meant lo to for eternity on the other-


Texls from the Late Uruk Period

P'eltistcric Writing - Clay envelopes

figure 1 2: Cloy envelope with contents, horn Susa


More recenl excavations in Persian Suso seem lo demonstrate thai, in levels immediately prior to the Uruk IV period/" administrator enclosed plain tokens in clay envelopes and sealed the outer surfaces of these hollow balls with figurative seals. In numeious Laie Utuk settlements, including Persian Chogha Mish,™ soulhern Babylonian Uruk and Syrian Hcbuba Kabira, such clay balls have been found both opened and in contexl wilh enclosed tokens, and still intact, thus withholding from inspection token assemblages which could be heard moving loosely within the balls. These groups of tokens were thus the first conlexlually meaningful assemblages of accounting tools in the Uruk period, a reasonable first link in the very long use of simple geometrical shapes to represent discrete units or measuies of commodities transferring through accounting offices of the Late Uruk period. The tole of the tokens found within or at least in conlexl with clay balls as forerunners ol the hignly developed and convert Nona ii zed numerical signs o' the earliest Near Eastern tablets (see below, section 6.l) is now unquestioned, although the reticence particularly ol museum stall ond

�3 A le Brun, 'Recherche; slraligraphiques � l'Acropole de Suse, 1969-1971.' CohDAf 1 i 1971) 163-216 f Valla! 'Le materiel epigrophiaue des couches lo� 1 d de laaopoie." Poleoricm /. (1978! 193-. 195'; A. le Brun and F. Voll�l, CahD�FI 8 (197B) 11-59.

trpfM Alinal report ol excavalions has recently appealed: P. Delougazond H.J. Konlor loclilocl by A. Alizadef GrL^haMish vol. 1:1-2, OIP 101 (Chicago 1996); see 1:1, pp. 120133, 1:2, pit-., 3/1-/10. \ 2A.


excavation d:rectars lo open all clay envelopes, ostensibly to protect the integrity of the seal impressions on the surfaces, remains a vexing problem in our attempts to decipher their meaning.

It may come as a surprise that fully eighty of the total of ca. 130 excavated clay envelopes remoin completely ir-tacl." The prosoect of using tomographic analysis in the future is no excuse for this obstruction, especially giver the fact that the process is very expensive, time-consuming, and of limi'ed value even if conduced.w Yel Ihough limited, radiographic analyses of all clay envelopes would add some statistical evidence concerning the likely numerical systems employed in this early method of bookkeeping, and the particular signs within the systems. The current state of ou' understanding of the tokens does not allow us to postulate wilh confidence whether the best attested numerical systems in archaic Babylonia, namely, 'he sexagesimal and the grain capacity systems, are represented in the envelope groups and thus to make cn educated guess concerning the types of commodities being controlled with these devices, ana the quantities of those goods. Certainly the notion of an Uruk expansion driven by luxury demand in southern Babylonia would suffer if it could be shown thai lire cloy envelopes dorr reputed Late Uruk trcde colonies in Syria ono Pe'3 a corct nec without exception symbolic representa'ions of small numoers of animals and of grain measures consonant only with the burooucroltc needs of a local administration, as I suspect is the case based on the little material currently available.

D. Schnandt-Besserat, Before Wriling I, 117, pub at jusl live, ct less than 3% of the total, the number of envelopes whose contents are known with certainly: lour specimens from 5usa opened with a knife, one from Tepe Yahya sowed open tlhe loner statement, however, has been questioned by the Yahya excavator C. C. Lcrnberg-Kurlovsky; sec P. Dorrerowond H.-P. rV.e.rzer, Computeriomogrophische Untersuchung unge�Pneior archaischer Tonkgetn cus Uruk W ?0987 9 W 20987,1 1 und W 20987,12," BoM 7b ;I995). p 283-i.

Two analyses ct lomogicphically inspected envelopes have been published, both resulling (torn lite generous permission of officiols to misuse' Ihe radiological deportments o( mojor medical centers. The fi'st, F. Drilhon, Pi to. lavo-Jecnlel, ond A. lahn-.i, 'Elude en bboroloire de seize bulles mesopotamiennes apparlenart au Dcpailenient des Ar.tiquites Orieritales,' in: PrehistoiiedebAtesopalarnie. La Afesopotamic prehistoiiquc cl lexploialion reccnle du djebel Harrain, Poris 17-18-19 decernbre 1984 (Paris 1987] 335-3/1/1, deall wiln sixteen enve'opes ftom Suso housed in the collection of the louvre. The second, P. Dcmetow end H.-P. Memzer, Cornpuluilomogiapliische Untersuchung unge�ffneter archaischer Tonkugeln aus Uruk W 20967,9, W 20967,11 und W 20987,12,' BoM 26 (1995) 7-33 + oils. 1-4, examined three- u-opened envelopes from Uruk in the Uruk-Worko collection ol the German Archaeological Inslilule (DAI), currenlly housed in the University of Heidelberg. Despite the high resolution afforded by the choice o' 0,3mm scanning cuts of the envelopes in the former study, and ihe dilleting density of Ihe fited lokens as ogoinst the unlired envelopes in the second, neither publication could claim to have sufficient'// idontilied all of the lokens within the analyzed envelopes. Objecls in the louvre collection were often only summarily noted ond described according lo o typology of forms employed by the museum curator P. Amiel; lltose in ihe DAI collection were in some cases possibly Iraclured ports of original tokens. In both studies, the resolution was such thai eventual incisions on ihe surfaces of ihe lokens would not have been ond were not iKagnizaWc, so lhai ihe queslion ol whelhet decorated lokens were enclosed in ihese discrete assemblages could not be answered. Howevei, even in the cose ol ihe descent idenlified wilhin the envelope Sb i931 iOnlhon et al., pp. 339-340; that noled lot Sb 1937 on p. 339 is not obvious in the images on pp. 3/10-3/11;. st.ol.es ocioss its suiloce would not necessarily identify ihe token as complex' ond so lor Schmandt Bosseiol plastic ideograms; instead, these could represent early fotms ol decoraled numerical '.inns, for winch soe below, srrction 6.1.


Tcx's froT ihe late Uruk ^enod

3.4. Numerical tablets

Al the same time or possibly somewhat later than the occurrence of sealed clay envelopes, two types of accounting devices clearly related to them came into use. In the first case, on the surface of some clay balls shapes were impressed which reflected in form and number the tokens enclosed within the bails (figure 121.07 These impressions were evidently mode with the tokens themselves, with other objects, presumaby including styluses, mimicking in form the enclosed tokens, and even simply with fingertips. The ordering of these impressions gives us the first opportunity to speculate about the possible numerical structure, if any, of the system of counting ot measuring which the tokens might have reflected. In the second case, clay lumps were pressed flat and, apparently dispensing with the enclosing of tokens, similar impressions were made on the surfaces of these 'tablets', and the whole sealed. The numerical tablets', obviously part of the accounting repertoire from archaic Uruk which entered settlements to the northeast, north and east o' Babylonia (for primitive Syrian examples see figure 1 3)DS quickly assumed the farm of Uruk IV pictographic tablets" and ore generally considered the immediate antecedent of the earliesl true writing.

"7 A. le Brunand F. Valid, CahDA'l 6 i'978) 13-18, 45, 54-56; E. Stiommengnr, Habuba Kabira. fine Stadlvor 5000Jahren (Mainz 1980] 64, fig. 58.

*8 In addition to the Inose unearthed al Habuba Kabira (D. Schmondi-Besseral, Befo-e Wtiling I. 1 36) and Jebei Aruda (G. van Driel, FS Kraus, 1 2-25), numerical tablets of a mote primitive form were found ot Tell Brok (S.A. Jasim and J. Oales, World Archaeology 17 [1986] 358). Mori (A. Parrot. Lcslouiiles de Mori. Quolorzieme compogne (Priilemps 19641," Syria 42 [1965] 12), Nineveh (D. Gallon and J. Reode, 'Archaic Nineveh,' BaM 14 [1983] 34), Khafoje (H. Frankfort, OIC 20 11965] 25), Godin TepeJH. Weiss and T.C. Young, 'The Merchants of Suso [...]," Iran 13 [1975] 5.10; ca. 30 numerical tablets from Godin Tepe remain unpublished), Chogha Mish (E. Po-ada. 'Iranian Art and Archaeology: A Report of the Fifth International Congress, 1968,' Archaeology 22 (1969] 58, number 432 A, and P. Delougazond HJ. Konlor, Chogha Mish vol. 1:1, p. 120, l;2, pi. 33BG), and of course Susa (A. Le Brurr and F. Vulkil, CahDAFI 8 [197BJ 18-20, 47, 57; D. Schmandt-Bessorat, Before Writing I. I 34-136; o number of numerical tablets presumably from Susa, are in ihe collection of Ihe University ol Sao Paolo [71/5.36-37, 72/4.44-45]). Apparenrly, none were found at Tall-i Molyan. Until all tablets ate published, and more examples from the north ore unearthed, it wili be difficult to stale with confidence whether a preliminary categorization of these texts into early and late formats is justified. As 0 working hypothesis, il seems that the numerical tablets from Syria and northern Mesopotamia were of a more primitive form than most exemplars from Susiana and Uruk. This primitive Form, attested ol oil sites (including an exact parallel to the Syrian documents from Uruk recenlly published by J. Reode, 'An Early Warka Tablet," FS Srommenger [Munich 1992] 177-179 + pi. 79 [and ATU 5, pi. 121; see there p. \7-*>% is characterized by a more rounded formal, earlier seal motifs, and often numerical notations impressed along the edge of the tablets; nore olso the fact that theeorfy tablets liomjebel Atuda in tig. 13 contained notations which were not in accordance wilh bundling rules attested both in later numerical lablels from Susa and Uruk, ond in Uruk IVa period tablets from Uruk. The later lab'els were flal'er, cushion-shaped, contained more structured numerical notations aid later seol motifs. This diachronic typology suggests thol Late Uruk influence from soulhem Babylonia broke off earlier in the north ihon in Persia.

^ The text In fig. 14 derives from o group of gypsum tabets excovated Irom the While Temple m Uruk (see above, section 2). All contained seol impressions and ihe circular impressons of round objects al varying diameters. The function of these, in some cases quite large and heavy lablels. i.e., whether ihey roa'ly contain numerical (grain measure) notations ar are decorated stands of some kind, is not obvious to me.

Preh;sloric Writing - Numerical lablels

Figure 13: Early numerical tablets Two preliterate rumerical tablets fromjebel Aruda (after G, var Driel, FS Krcus, 14 fig. la, 6, ond 2} docurrenr The repetil on cf signs exceedir-g the limit known ftom la'er lex's.

Figure 14: The gypsum tablet W 10133,a

The gypsum toblets were p'aoed cn reed mols while still wet, leaving impressions of the molting on their bottom surfaces. The seol impressions have been dealt wilh most recenlly by R. Boc timer, ATU 5, 26 and 28. Scale of W 10133,0 co. 1:2.

The Uruk tablets in figures 15-16 contain interesting examples of features peculiar to this stage of wriling and common to both Uruk and Susa. A stylus with □ rounded end was used in both centers to impress numerical signs, in contrast to the use of a flat-ended stylus in the following ideographic phases, and only ct this lime, and again in both centers, was the shank of ihe stylus used to impress dividing lines between discrete notations, instead of the sharp edge of the 'ideographic' stylus.


The most intriguing sign of contact between Uruk and the Susiana up to the very time of their respective development of separate ideographic scripts is evident in a number of numero-ideogrophic' toblets Irom both regions (fig. 16), These tablets share with the numerical tablets the characteristics of simple numerical notations, seal impressions, but the inclusion of one, al most two of a group of ideograms, common to both regions, which represent discrete



Texts from the late Uruk Peirbd

Prelrstor,c Writing - .Xuniero-rdeogrophic tablets

Figure 15: Three numerical 'ablets

The loblet to the upper left oppenrs la be a numerical tablet recording a large sexagesimal number (corresponding to I 185 onilsl; lhat lo ihe upper right a field of ca 120 ocres The reverse faces of belli lexis urn uninscribed. W6245,c exhibits numerical signs created by Ihe rojnded butt ed(jQ of a stylus; this drome-terislic and Ihe use of Ihe stylus shark in drawing lines cf case separation ate common features of such Pablo Is from Uruk ond Susa of the pie-ideogrophic period.

ob;ects (sheep, jugs of beer ond dairy fats, strings of dried fruits, textile products).'03 Such object designations are in my opinion the missing link between numerical rotations which according to context imply an ideogrophic meaning, for instance o grain notation, and the mixed notclions of numerical signs and ideograms which mark the inception of proto-cuneiform. That the immediate influence of Uruk on its surrounding territories waned at this time is demonstrated by the fact lhat in the north no development into an ideographic script occurred until Babylonian cuneiform wos imported in the Early Dynastic III period, end thct to the east a writing system was introduced, conventionally called 'proto-Elamite', which, although having borrowed some conceptual elements from the Uruk sign reoe-tory, employed entirely different s'gns.

The presumption that decorated tokens appearing from approximately the middle of the 5th millennium B.C. in Uruk (but only from ca. 3500 B.C. in Iran and Syria) led directly lo pictographic script is the elemen' of Schmor.dt-Besserot's work which has been most debated. Comparing Ihe graphic forms, she was able to propose the correspondence of a large number o: decorated tokens wilh ater ideograms, ond these identifications are now moving through the sec on dory li'erature as if I hey hod been justified or even in part accepted by exper's. The basic argument agcinst such fecile identi'icotions is that we know graphic similarity, in the absence of contextual proof, can be notoriously misleading, placing as it has Sumeriar. scribes as far af'eid as Rumania and China, This is the more dangerous when not even the objects being analyzed can be shown lo hove been included in meaningful token assemblages, i.e., when complex tokens are nol found within, or at leasl in context wilh clay balls. Of ihese, there are few; in (act, only the so-called oil token (presumed to correspond to the proto-cuneiform sign Nlo, (L>} was clearly enclosed in clay envelopes,101 and it may be questioned whether this key evidence is nol simply a derived numerical sign

lou SeeR. Dirmann, in: U. Finkbeiner ond W. %'lig (eds.j, Gomdal IMasr, 344-345; R.K. Snglund, ATU 5, p. 33, to W 6762,0. The upper two tablets in fig. 16 contain ideograms which based on Uruk IV and ioter Irodilion reoresenl textiles or poss:b'y apporati employed in ihe lexlile manufactories (see below, section 6.3.2 and Ihe signs ZATJ644 ond ZATU662-663 see 1Le conventions listed above, n. l]). W 6881 .d Ic the lower left contains a clear piecuisoi form ot ihe Uruk 111 sign DUG,, Iran 13, 9:2, lo the lower light a possible early form of Ihe sign DUG^, both signs repiesenling containers ot doiry oils (R.K. Englurd, 'Archaic Dairy Metrology," Iraq 53 [1991 ] 101-104]. All objects were apparently qualified with numerical notations derived "ram ihe sexagesimal system.

151 The 'crescent' noted above is the second deal candidate lot a complex Token in discrete administrative context. Irdeed, the refeienl prolocuneiloim sign, KU^, has been translated by some, based on later cuneiform tradition, wilh 'silver', or more generally, 'precious melal', so that a successful identification might even be usee' in an o.'gu-nent about the use of In s Lale Uruk accounting device in controlling the movement of such metals into Babylonia. However, the simple form of ihis token, without incised strokes, is likely o simple numerical sign, and even if a decorated example of Ihis token were in luture found within one of the many unopened cloy em/ebpes, it could represent either a numerical sign from one of the derived (incised) numerical systems, ot -eolly ihe sign KU3l> in its meaning of 'one-half (container of dairy fat;, as I hove discussed in an ea'lioi article |"late Uruk Period Cattle and Dairy Products: Evidence from Prolo-Cuneifoim Sources,' BSA 8 j 1995. 42''-�). A thud candidate far o complex token Irodilion can be seen in lite group ol tokens found associated wi'h Uruk clay envelopes and labeled W 20987 27 (P Domerow and H.-P. Meirzer, 3aM 26 j 1995] pi. 4). Among ihe plain tokens in thol collection a.e nol only the oil token, but also th'ee exenp'ors ol who! Sehmandl-Bosserai fancifully inletprels to be 'trussed poultry' (closer la the sign �>, "Ml.



Texte �rom the late Urut Period

Prehistoric: Wriling — Numero-idcogrophrc [oblet�

Iron l3,0:3j(�d,r.Teps!

Figure 16: Examples of nurnercvideographic tablets from Uruk and Susiona

much like the sexagesimal signs impressed wilh a single stroke and used, lor example, to qualify o particular contoiner of dairy oil in the archaic texts from Uruk, Certainly on the basis of this token, found in Uruk and in the Syrian site Habuba Kabira, no judgment is possible about the ultimate role of the myriad of decorated tokens from this period. One might rather wonder why other products of the archaic economies - beer, wool, etc. - were not so represented.

Further, a possible connection of some of these complex tokens wilh corresponding signs in the proto-Elamite scripl, which evolved after the emergence of proto-cuneiform in Mesopotamia, has gone unmentioned, despite the fact that the majority of contexlually determined tokens derive from Elamite Susa. And proto-Elamite texts would seem to offer the best evidence for a limited transfer of decorated tokens into late Uruk writing systems. Signs for small cattle - in both cases so-called abstract signs of the type often mentioned in

Schmandt-Eesserat's work - are nol only graphically, but also semantically related in the two archaic scripts, for example, ihe proto Elamite -|- seems clearly related to proto-cuneiform QiJ, meaning collectively "sheep and goats".102

A corollary development in the discussion put in motion by Schmandt-Besserat is the currently espoused belief that the evolutionary view of the origin ol writing from c primitive stage o( pictography through revels of abstraction, best stated by I J. Gelb in his famous A Study of Writing in i 952, 03 has been discredited.104 It has not. The basis ol ihe argument put forward by Schmandt-Besserct ond others is that the archaic repertory consisted of a large number or abstract signs, indeed that there were but relatively few pictographic signs in ihe earliest stages. However, once the proponents of or abstracl sign system - and we need to remember that Schmandt-Besserat is realy speaking of a two-dimensional representation of plastic complex counters - have cited the sign UDUo [the sign Q3), repiesenling both sheep ond goats, as evidence of this archaic abstraclion, there is little more discussion of further evidence.105 Thai is understandable, since among the Uruk IV period signs few, if any others can be demonstrated to be non-pictographic, given the fact that we often cannot judge whal the real referents behind difficjlt graphemes might be.,a-

lo? The most cu-rent Treatment of the pro'u-Ebrnite texts is found in P. Durneruw und R.K. Enylurid, Tepe Yahya; to ihe question ol signs representing smoll coltle, see pp. 53-55, ond compare the earlier works cf J. Friberg, ERBM HI, ond A.A. Vajman, 'Uber die Beziehung der protoelamischen zur piotosumerischen SchritV BoM 20(1989) 101-1 14 (IronsUon of his Russton article from VDI 1972/3, 124-133).

'm In ihe second edition of his A Study o: Writing (Chicago 1963), p. 201, Gelb slates that 'writing must hove possed through the stages of logogrcphy, syllabogrophy and alphobefography in this, ond no other, order.'

,w See for instance J. friberg, OL7. 89 (1994; 478; P. Damercw, Rechtshislorisches journal 12(1993) 27-29 and 32-35. P. AAichalowski, 'Writing and literacy in Early States: A Mesopaiomionist Perspective," in: D. Keller-Cohen (ed.k literacy: Interdisciplinary Conversolions (Cresskill, NJ, 1994)49-58, goes so far as to oorodize an evolutonary concepl; however, the author seems himself a victim of traditionalist views when he stales p. 55 that earliest Mesopotamion writings include phonetic [he means Sumerian] elements, so one cannot conclude that this was o lo'ei development,' theieofter citing vorious scholars who also believe this ra be true. This radicalism of conviclon in specialists, who then ore cited by general historians of writing, cannot be welcomed. More general treatments ol the history of wriling hove been kinder bofh ro Gelb's releological view of the evolution ol writing ond to Schmandt-Besserot's hondling ol her dcla: see for instance M. Kuckcnburg, Die Entslehung von Sproche und Schrift. Ein kulliirgeschichtli-cher Ube'blick (Cologne 1989), and H.M. Rbhr, Wriling: ils evolution ond relation kj speech {Bochum 1994).

105 It is nol even obvious whol ihese critics of the pictographic theory understand abstract signs to be, wholly artificial constructs or signs including abstracted representations ol original pictograms. Friberg, loc.cil., has validly mentioned the numerical signs themselves as abstract signs in this connection; there has, however, been little controversy in ceding the paint that contextual charged numerical symbols hod a long hlslcry in prelirerate societies such os those of the 4th millennium Near East.

104 Indeed, oil ol Itiese signs seem lo be picrogrom; representing eilhei complete or, according to ihe common graphic practice cf pars pro tola, partiol objects. Since, moreover, it Is nol possible to isolate and identify any phonetic use of signs in the archaic period, we connol presume thai ihe oiiginal use ol proto-cuneiform signs was nol simpk/ as referents ol the objects they represented, presumably wilh the rapid development of mullivalency in sign usage. Thus particularly the very many phonetic values (reodings') ol cuneiform signs in late' periods could point towards precisely the graphic development Gelb hod in mind, whereby 'Sumerian' reodings of signs con be ob|ecl names derived from the longuoge of those who created pictographic pioto-cuneiform.



The Nclure of Pforo-Cur.eibrm ond lire Sumerion Question - Tobler formats

4. The nature of proto-cuneiorm and the Sumerian question107

Unfortunately, the 'numerical tablets' unearthed in archaic levels of Uruk were found in secondary locations among debris ond other, Lc'e Uruk tablets,103 making it impossible to archaeo logically ascribe those texts loa level preceding that of ideographic texts. This may be inferred, however, from comparable finds from Suso, where in the levels Acropolis I 19 through 17B-A both clay envelopes and numerical tablets are found, in some coses bearing the same seal impressions.,m 'Numero-ideographic' tablets have been tentatively ascribed to the level 17A 'contact' or 17Ax,110 immediately before tne level 16 from which ihe earliest prolc-Elamite tablets derive.

4. 1. Tablet rarawus

Even something as seemingly unassuming as tablet formal is a good indication of chronological development of writing during the archaic period. It may be reasonably speculated thai the clay envelopes and their contents, as well as the sealed numerical tablels, and at the end of this prelilerale development ihe numero-ideographic tablets, each represented one discrete transaction within a complex administration. For instance, the tablet tan 13, 9:2, in figure 16 above, might hove contained the record of the teceipl by an official of a temple household - the person who sealed that tablet - of thirty-three jors of dairy oil from a represenlalive of Godin herders. This documentation was presumably only of importance during a short accounting period, so that a precise dating was not included, ar was recorded in some other fashion invisible to us."1

107 For an excellent recent summary of the major characteristics or the cuneiform writing system, seeM. Kiebernik and HJ. Nissen, "Die sumerisch-akkadische Keilschrift,' in: H. G�n'her ond O. lud wig (eds.). Sc fir if I und Schriftlichkeit (Berlin 1994) 274-288, with literature. Jenold Cooper kindly discussed ihe fallowing section of this poper with me; the mistakes and misconceptions that remain ore my own.

108 See ATU 5, nos, W 6245, 661 3, 6881, 6883, etc. Even in these cases which oppeo- to represent a modicum of archival deposition, lor instance, ihe unifotmly numerical or rumnro-idecgrophic apfwarance of the tablets wilh ihe excavation numbers W 6881 and 688 3, there are grounds for dears suspicion lhot these 'archives' were eonstrucied by the Uruk excavators. All tablels W 6881-6883 were fojnd in ihe square Pd XVI, 3 (sec fig. 7 above) 'agoinst the northern edge of the niched woll belonging b level IV, 1-2 m northwest of the door, pailly in a depot in the wall recess 1.5 m northwest of the door' (ATU 5, p. 34), including those numbered 6882, a group of sixteen wilh a somewhat irregulai labial forma', but without exception of Uiuk IVa period sign lorms.

'� A. Le Brun ond F. Vallal, CohDAFI 8 (1978) 1 1-59. In line wilh this sequence is ihe foci lhal inscribed material in Syria (Habuba Kabira, Jebel Aruda, poss'bly Mari) and norlhern Wesooolomia (Nineveh) ceases after lbe occurrence there of numerical labels, that is, that sealed numerical tablels at ihose silos derived from distinct strata prior to the appearance of ideographic writing

"� R. Ditlmann, BBV0 4/1 |1986) 296-297 and 458, tab. I59e, following A. Le Brun, discussed level 17Ax or 17X. The "conlacl 16-17" proposed by le Brun, CohDAFI 1 (1971) 210, is derived from unslralified material from earlier de Meequenen excava'ions; tablets edited by F, Vallal. CahDAFI 1 (1971) 237 as "contact 17A-I6" were apparently equally unslralified (cf. Dillmann, in: U. Pinlbeinoi and W. R�llig [eds.], Gamdot Nas', 171'). See also D. Sehmandt-Besseral, 'Tokens ol Suso ' OiAnl 25 (1986) 93-125 + plls. 4-10; A. Le Brun and F. Vallal, CahDAFI 8 (1978) 11-59- R, bysen BAS international Series 379 (Oxford 1987) 648-649.

111 In fad, mut^ inloi triu I ion which we con irol see vra^

Essertt ally the same format is found in the lecsl complex, and the oldesl tablets from Mesopotamia, those texts doling lo the Uruk IV period (ca. 32CO B.C.) and, bosed on current excavation records and on our best understanding of objects dealt through the antiquities markets, without exception From the Eonna district in Uruk. Only the obverse of ihese texts is inscribed, and only with one entry jan entry will usually consist of ether a numerical notation, or one or a combination of ideographic signs, or, most frequently, both'17). Each tablet was meant lo carry one concise unit of information (see figures 17:1 and 19, W 19592,n)."J

One subtype of ihese single-entry accounts known as tags [figure 18,1 is charactenzed by a peculiar cushion shaped formal, by a perforation through the long axis of ihe tablels certainly used lo hang the tablets on a siring,114 and by the absence of any numerical notations. While a number of the ideographic notations on these texts contain no obvious object designations and so probably represent proper nouns, either personal or official names, but not, it appears, lopor.yms,'15 several do consist of signs which denote presumable beverages and dried Fruils and so mighl indicote their use to tag shipments or stored amounts of these commodities.116

The more common sirgle-entry tablets correspond fully to the sealed numera-ideographic accoun's in iheir use of numerical notations and object designating ideograms lo qualify the

taolets und envelopes, the inclusion of these documents in boskets lagged with global qualifications, to name arte example, would odd much specificity to this and accompanying texts, lo name onolher, we have no way ol knowing whether Further qualifications lo simple accounts were kept cn perishoble mo'eiiols or were signaled simply by the holder ol these accounts.

112 There is some, if not slrict, organization evident in the position of signs within individual enlries. The first and thus most prominent position in the entry is assumed by the numericol notation, always found al ihe head of □ singk^-entry, or of an individual case of o multiple entry text. Mumerical signs within a numerical nola'ion 'o low a stricl sequential pattern diclated by ihe value of individual signs within ihe numericol system Ihe notal on reflects. As o general rule, signs representing counted objects are situated closcsl lo ihe numerical notation, inscribed, insofar cs this is discer.nibe due to the existence of sign distortions caused by subsequent inscription, immediately aFer ihe rumericol notation and before the impression of the occompuriyirig ideograms.

1,3 For on overview o' archaic text For ma's see M.W, Green, "The Construction and Implementation of Ihe CuneiForm Wrilirg Syslem," Visible language 15 (1981) 345-372, esp. 349-356; further, A.A. Vojman, 'Formale Besonderheiten der proto-sumerischen Texte," BoM 21 (1990) 103-113 (translation of his Russian article in VDI 1972/1, 124-131). u This transve'scl pe-forarion, like that of cylinder seals, suggests lhat the strings holding Ihe tablets were knotted al one end such that the tab ets hung like pendants from the objects - or persons - ihey qualified. 15 In contrast To the pib'ished opinion of 'he German excovolors o! ihe predynoslic Egyptian sile Abydos lhat the tags found in ihe grove complex Uj there documented (he place names of ihose settlements From which the logged goods (occorcirg lo the excavators bolts of cloth) derived (see G. Dreyer, Umm e!-Qoab I: Das pr�dynaslische K�nigscrob U-j und seine fr�hen Schriltzeugnisse, AV 86, [forthcoming]), These tags contained the earliest known examples of writing in Egypl.

'"' The sign DIN in the lexis W 20883 and 21 183 in fig. 18 is conventionally understood lo represent a lypeol wire; the sign combination DUG0 lA/v^ on ihe tag W9656,n! mighl loo represent a type of wine, cens-de'ing the foe' thai Ihe simplified form of '.AM,., KURQ, is known to qualify a type of DIN (see ATU 2, pi. 6, wilh photo o1 W 20907,2) and lhat DUG0 represents a jar with a spout, used lo state liquids, in particular beer. The texl W 7000, finaly. consists only ol the sign 'rlASHUR, a slringed fiuil, in later texts a type o1 apple (see I. J. Gelb, "Sumerion ond AlAodion Wolds For "String of Fruit'" FS Kraus [leiden 1932 i 67-82; ATU 2, 150"; R.K. Englund, Ur lll-Fischerei, 38-39, with Footnotes).'



Tex:s from the Late UlIc Period

The Nature df ^roto-Cuneiio-m and the Sumerer Question - Tablet ioimots


1 i

1 c la ■\ ih

2 la

3 3a 3S>

4 4a 4b

lo h -


jb is -i:)

V 4:: 1;

ib lo \ lb

2o 2b �o 2b

3a 3b 3a Jb

4b 4i 4t /



bi 2� 1__

\ r



� —



Axij cf Rolat či


Axis ol Rolaiicn


la Ib2 Ic2





Direction of Script

Figure 17: Tablel formats found in the archaic texts


Texts Frcjr-i [he Lore Uruk Period

The Nature of Prclc^CuiKjjfurm and the Sumerian Qyesiion -Tablet fofmals

W 9579,byr2

f-HO ( 1


III// ( e

W2 1183


W Vů56.cn 1


W 1 5o5B

1 3

W 14758

W 9570.br MSVO 4. 75 |Cor�l TotH

Figure 18: Archaic 'lags'

Small tablets characterized by o lack of numerical signs and by perlcralion through their lenglli, and sumabty strung, mighl represent rags altached to commodities. The inscriptions seem to quolity either or offices, or in some cases the commodities themselves, including beve'oges and died fruits.

so pro-persons

object of the recorded transactions, and of a further ideographic no'ation qualifying the person(s) or office responsible for the correctness of the data. Such accounts probably represented receipts and formed the lowest order in a hierarchy of texts leading into large, consolidated accounts (figures 17:2-6 and 19, W 20368,2, 2004d,38, and 20044,58) More complex lexts are characterized by llie division o( the tablet surface inlo columns and cases, each case containing a single entry and so corresponding to one of ihe single-entry lexis discussed above. Thus Uruk IV period accounts could consist of two or more entries


recording numbers and measures of objects together with an accounting official, and ihese single entries could themselves be further divided 'o attach lo the main unit of information such qualifications as were deemed necessary to fully identify a given Iransaclion (figure 17:2"7); still more single en'ries were entered into o single account by dividing the length of •he tablet into two or more columns, eoch column consisting of one or more individual entries"8. Tne relationship of these single-entries lo each other in an administrative sense is obvious when wilh smaller lexis two or more enlries consisting of only numerical notations and ideograms representing objec's ore globally qualified by an ideographic nolalion ohysically distinct from ihe numerical notations (figure 19, W 20368,2); wilh larger accounts, •he scribes will offer induce, as a rule or the reverse face of the tablet, summations of numerical notations included in individual entries. Both types of information correspond to 'he colophons of later cuneiform tradition. These totals consolidate multiple entries into a single notation, thus documenting ihe fact that the individual entries represent intrinsically comparable goods, and that they all fell under the responsibility of a single accounting office. Ideographic notations accompanying numerical totals act as global qualifications of objects recorded in ihe accounts, of the responsible offices or officials, and of ihe type of transactions recorded This accounting lypology became substantially more complex, just as ihe qualities of goods became substantially greater, in the Uruk III period, that is, in the period of purported decline after 'he great building activities, ond the presumable colonizations of the Uruk expansion1 ending in the Uruk IV period.1"

The two account types in figure 17:6-7 lepiesenl high levels of occounting, found only in the Uruk III period. Multiple entries filling ihree obverse columns in the former lexl are consolidated in three steps on the account s reverse surface. A concrete example of this involved procedure is shown in figure 20 in a (reconstrue'edi summation of the Jemdet Nasr account MSVO 1, 185.120 Various summonda ore here totaled through three levels of commonality. This reconstruction of the reverse side of tie text implies that, as is obvious (torn the entries on the tablet's obverse, the lex! consists of the accounts of three years (l-3N17+Uj and that the counted objects 'DURt' (meaning unknown) are qualified either as BA or Gl. The tablet is then rotoled around its horizontal axis and each yearly account individually itemized in the right-hand column of the reverse face. The first summations consist of the addition of BA DUSa and Gl DURb for eoch year; secondly, all ihe BA DURb ond all ihe Gl DURb are totaled, ond finally the two sub-totals of BA and Gl are subsumed in a general total of all DURb.

'17 Tire numeration within ihe text fa-mats indicates the entry sequence, counting the cases 1 ff. from the lop,

and la, I b etc. w thin particular cases. 118 Fig. 17:3; ihe columns are in corventional transliterations qualified with the use of Roman numerals i, ii,

etc. Note that this simple multiple-entry formal was lhat ol the so-called lexical lexis discussed below,

section 5.

1:5 1 he apparent economic expansion documented in the occounts in o lime of seeming decline - note also that ihe commodities represented in pto'o-Elamite occojnts far eclipse in economic value any goods documented in such prel terate accounts as clay envelopes o-d numerical tablets, insofar os we can understand their mooning (see P. Damerow and R.K. fjnglund, Tepe Yahyai - should ocl as warning lo proponents of an expanding southern Babylonian administration in the late Uruk period, followed by dec'ino ond withdrawal from regions bordering Mesopotamia in the Jemdet Nasi/Uruk III phase

r'� See also 'he example MSVO 1, 95, in fig. 21 below.


Tcxfs �rom ihe Late LJruk 5eriod

The Nature of Prolo-C jneifoim and the Sumerion Question - Tobiel Formofs

lable* wilh enly ens er.-t -y. 21 �-ŕ unite ľ f a grain ptodvel in a b sexoges • mal" notation (revetse un-rnseribeaf

Tcbtel with fvvo entries (fiisl column) ď�d o s'g-nature [aeccod column): 120 grnin retens and 30 jars of 'beer' (re/veise

i.: ľ : • • i

Table! wilh rim entliei �i�.T one ■o fan uni's of sun-dry grain produds (reverse unnv vrribŕd)

W 20044,56

W 20044,38 Obvefje Reve-se TaUe�vvrth four entries on the obveMo, o rotation ai ihe edgs and pa�ib<yo double summation (?] on the reverie jdomoged|: The cWise contains uiťrres concerning various grain products, collectively designated ^ (NINDA), i e., "grain lotions,' on the icverse. A second notation ol the lower <ighl of :he reve-se mighj rep-esenl the amount of giain used in the grain producb.

signs \ct grain product*:

(=0? (Wrl

numerical signs o( Ire hi!ie�oge-lirrol syjletn:

o - l

• - 10

Figure 10: Tablets with varying degrees of complexity



tjSr�� wTcp eD

•i J

Totals ol DUR in Tctelsof DUR each o! Mm years qualified by BA 0"d Q, by year


Three year Grand toxjl o� DUR rclois ot DUR in three years quolJied by A BAondGI

Figure 20: Complex summations

The totals coniomed on ihe reverse lace of rhe Jemdel Nosr tablet MSVO 1, 165, could be confidently reconstructed based on preserved numerical notations. The sign DUG has not been deciphered.

In those cases in which the obverse did not offer enough space lo complete all separate entries - represented by ihe latter text - , the tablet was first rotated around its vertrco/axis, the entries completed, and ihen, before ihe summalions were written, the tablet was either turned 180'or, os seems more likely, was turned over lo begin tallying the numerical notations, alter which it was again tote ted around, this time, its horizont�lam ta use the normal space lor totals. A second Jemdet Nosr account, MSVO 1, 99, in figure 21, presents an example of such on accounting procedure. This is a phenomenon noted also in the Jemdet Nasr period prolo-Elomile texts from Persia.151

With one or two possible exceptions, we have in the archaic text corpus no clear examples of the early use of proto-cuneiform lo reproduce in writing a spoken language (see the discussion below of the so-called Sumerian question). Rather, the formal division of the administrative tablets reflects the 'grammor of the archaic accountants' syntax. Roughfy speaking, assuming that the accounts available to us are the records of distribution, of which receipts are the simplest lor nr., then numerical nolations and object designations of individual cases or receipls represent direct objects, attached personal designations indirect objects of verbal actions explicit or implicit in global qualifications of text colopnons. Divisions of individual cases into two or more sub-cases correspond to the adjectival, divisions of colophons to adverbial qualifications in more advanced syntax.

m Cf. P. Damerow and R.K, Englund, Tepe Yohya, 11-13 + fig. 6.


Taxis �rom ihc Lote Uruk Period

Thy Natu:� o' Piolo-Cunailorm ond rhe Sumerian Question - Research of prolo-cuneiform

4.2. Research of pso'o-cuneiform

Our basis for judging the characteristics of the pioto-cuneiform writing system is not small. Some 532C archaic texts and fragments containing close to 35,000 individual entries (cases) and 42,000 Tidividual occurrences o( ideograms'22 are currently crjlaloguud and translilarufed according to values assigned the signs in the sign list A1U 2. 73 Despite the impressive amount of material, it has not been possible to positively identify the language of those scribes who developed and used prolo-cuneiform in the periods Uruk IV-III, so that when we speak of advances that have been made in the decipherment of the writing system, we mean formal advances in our understanding of the context of the archaic texts and in ihe meaning of individual signs, and not a classical decipherment ol on unknown language. Beyond our own limitations, several factors act to homper work, be it systematic or intuitive, to effect this classical decipherment. In the first place, it may well be that the language of the archaic scribes no longer existed following Ihe Late Uruk period, given the fact that major upheavals apparently disrupted Babylonia following Uruk III and before Early Dynastic I, upheavals which might themselves hove led Sumerians into the southern alluvium.m Second, the script was not used to represent a spoken language in a large majority of texts available lo us. Approximately 85% of oil archaic texts are administrative accounts; the conciseness o' such texts is known to anyone who has tried to reconstruct the history of a transaction using (hem - and such difficulties are, one might say luckily, more pronounced for the auditor than the laxed citizen, who has some background knowledge of the circumstances surrounding particular receipts. Further, even the non-administrative records, the so-called lexico! lists (see belcw, section 5), ere with one exception comprised ol simple lists of semanticolly related words, such as lists ol domestic animals, of professional names,

,2' Thai is. excluding numerical s;gns, wheh ore individually llie most numerous. Counting iterative notations of one numerical sign in discrete notations as one attestation of that sign (e.g., counting a notation 7-N, [-■a'7' in numericol systems used lo qualify discrete objects| as a single notation ol die sign N (), the total number ol sign atleslations reaches over 52,000.

133 Ol Ihe 5820 texls, fully 5000 represent archoic documents from the levels Uruk IV and III in the district Eanno of Uruk. The remaining 820 texts derive from regular ond irregular excavations of orchaic levels of Bcbylonicn settlements, including the approximately 245 Uruk III period texts from the small noiltiern Be byl on i on mound cf Jemder Nasr, 85 extraordinarily well preserved tablets from ihe former Erlenmeyer colleeliev and 410 texts from Early Dynastic l-ll levels fror Ur (publistiec by E. Burrows, UET2 [London 1935], 17 clay documents from Early Dynastic levels ol Uruk nay now be included in this writing slage, as well as most if not all of the inscriptions on stone tablets recently edited and erroneously doted lo the lo'e Uruk period by IJ. Gelb. P. Steinkeller and R.M. Whiling, OIP 104 [1991] 39-43; see ATU 5, 127). Also included in this otter group ore 80 tab'ets today found in various small collections and deriving mostly From Ihc antiquities market, now collected in AA5VO 4.

,M This is o view held by lew in the tied; see, for instance, C.H. Gordon, The Ancienl Near East (New Yoik 3I965) 3d. A, L. Oppcnhoim, Ancienl Mesopotamia [...), (Chicago 1964) 49, recognized the incongruences ol piolo-cuneiform in writing Sumerian; he believed, however, lhal ihe creators of the script, and their writings, dated lo a period bclorc Uruk IV: It is quite likely thai the Sumerions had adaplcd (or ihcir own use on already existing system and technique of writing. This seems lo hove been I lie creo'ion ol a lost and earl e', eilhor native or alien, civilization, which may or may not hove hod some relation lo the foreign elements in ihe Sumerian vocabulary the topcgraphicol names of the region, ond possibly, the names of the gods worshipped there".



Texts from the Lute Uruk Period

The Nature of Proto-C unciform ard the Su morion Question - Research of piolo-cuneilorm

and so on, with no syntactical interrelaledness such as is oHered in the shortest of royal inscriptions; the exceptional 'Tribute List' (see below, section 5, under literature, has unfortunately also led to no successful decipherment attempts, and was apparently not understood even by successive redactors in the Fara, and even into the Old Babylonian period. TVie formal advances in understanding the context of the archoic lexis are really no small accomplishment, since a detailed description of the archaic script as found in the archoic levels Uruk IV-IH is a rewarding endeavor in terms of the light it sheds on the administrative and scholarly world of late 4th millennium Babylonia, and will be helpful in defining the contours of the decipherment possibilities the script holds; it may, however, be disappointing to those who have Found in secondary literature evidence for identifying Sumerian as the language of the creators of writing.

A. Falkenstein's archaic signlist ATU I was in its time, following just three excavation campaigns in the Eanna district of Uruk, a substantial achievement. The Sumerologist was able, in ihis publication of the first 600 tablets unearthed in Uruk, to catalogue a total of 50 numerical'" and 890 ideographic signs. The latter signs were categorized and numbered according to graphic form. Falkenstein recognized early forms of loler cuneiform signs in many of his entries, but was on the whole-reticent to ascribe these values to the archaic material. The work of HJ. Nissen and M.W. Green on the subsequent finds from Uruk, above all on the great numbers of witnesses to o growing compendium of lexical lists attested in the archaic period, represented a substantial advance in the means to identify meaningful correspondences between the archaic sign repertory and that of following periods, from which line for line copies of the lexical lis's were known. The comparisons of those signs which assumed the same positions in respective lists made possible o large number of formal identifications of the archaic signs with later counterparts. The belief of both editors of the revised archaic sign list, ATU 2, that there was sufficient evidence to identify Sumerian as the language of the archaic scribes, and of M.W. Green that the some scribes frequently used graphic variants to represent specific signs, resulted in the decision to publish ihe list in a particular form. In the firs' place, nearly oil graphically similar signs were, often regardless of contextual usage, grouped together under one 'lexeme'. This polio/ led to a substantial reduction of signlist entries to 770, plus nearly 60 numerical signs. "'In the second, Sumerian readings (i.e., phonetic realizations) were assigned to all those archaic signs found to hove counterparts from Fora period and later lexical list witnesses, (or which reodings could be inferred, as well as to those no! lexically attested but presumed to be cleat giaphic precursors of later signs.

The second decision is perhaps most easily excused, although there is precious little, if any evidence for any Sumerian readings of atchaic signs. We have in subsequeni work and publications of ihe archaic material used these readings, always wilh the understanding lha! they are entirely conven'ional. There is even a certain mnemonic advantage in the

125 See below, section 6.1.

154 The editors, moreover, felt charged to limit their efforts to the archaic lexis from Uiuk, leaving aside all evidence from ihe lexl corpus from Jemdet Nasi and from olher collections.

tianslilerational system these readings offer us, since il is often easier to make note of the sign denoted AMAR than its correspondence from the Falkenstein list ATU 1, 458. However, the , graphically similar groups formed by Green are more difficult lo excuse, not only because

following the publication of ATU 2 laige numbers of 'varianls' gathered in this way under a single entry have proven lo be distinct signs, but because this likelihood should have been evident based on a simple consideration; all graphemes which do not share very close ! forms with those signs identif'ed through the lexical lists os precursors of idenlified cuneiform

signs can only be assigned the same 'readings' if their contextual usage can be shown lo be lite same.117 If that is not the case - and it is nol ihe case in many sign identifications in ATU 2 - it would be imperative to assign such signs olher 'readings', or at least codes which would serve to preliminarily differentiate them from ihe sign of comparison. As a result of this error of judgment, the signs identified in A~U 2 were retroactively differentiated using a series of indces adapted to the indices already used in ihe signlist.126 j In fact, following this supplemental differentiation, 'he current list of orchaic signs gives us 60

numerical signs, and neorly 1900 ideograms, This more than doubling of ihe total published in ATU 2 in all likelihood errs an the side of caution, assigning separate codes to all signs whose contextual usage cannot be shown to detions'rcte an cllomorphic relationship lo o \ sign whose identification is supported by lexcal attestations. Thus until it can be shown that

signs rotated to the right or left, so-called tertu-forms, have no meaning which differentiates hem from the same signs in a conventional orientation - sign rotation in a number of cases can be shown lo fulfill simple space needs, that is, rather than distorting to fit it into a ' prescribed space, scribes are known to rotate a sign - such forms receive distinct names (for

example. Tln and TlJ. These types of rather obvious variations are numerous in the earlier archaic period Uruk IV (see, for instance, the signs EN and SANGA in figure 22] and can lead to an inflation of identified signs. Another example of p-obable overcoutiousness are the many sign identifications resulting from the more or less piclographic renderings of animals' heads in the Uruk IV period. In ihese cases, sign name differentiations were chosen as a slop-gap measure to keep some control of Uruk IV as opposed lo Uruk III forms, remembering just the same that il is precisely the series of animol heads from ihe Fara signlisl

,J? This is also the major crilicism of the reviewers cited below, r,. 130.

™ 'he index ng of suspect signs was already undeiwcy at the time of publication of the signlist |see ATU 2, pp. 347-350). New sign forms ore for the moment being assigned consecutive numbers following the lost attested number in ATU 2, ZATU783. We have attempted to make ihis informolion ovoilable lo inleiesled scholars in two ways. In the first, all ol our perlinenl fifes current ol ihe lime of publication were included on diskelle with ihe volume ATU 5; those relolionol files, in ASCII format but prepared for loading into a common daia base orogram, included a complete catalogue of all orchaic lexis, a signlisl ond o texl file with ali trons'ileiations, corrected (i.e., published) and uncorrected (unpublished; these latter transliterations, and thus the entries ihey bring inlo Ihe piojecl g'ossary, are unevenly collated, wilh a high leliobility in those texts from European collections, and for obvious reasons o relatively lowei reliability in those fiom ihe Iraq Museum). In Ihe second, we are amenity p'eparing for internet publicolicn a dala base wilh digitized images of all accessible lablets (photos or originals), published copies end -ndviducl sign forms linked lo text transliterations and catalogue entries. The WWW address oi ihis dola base is "http;\\earh/-cuneiform.humnet.ucla.edu', wilh European mirror on the server of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Boilin.




Tfi*^ fr�:n :hft ia'fi Uruk Feriod

Tfw? Nature cf Prolo-C unciform ond the Surnsjiun Queslion - Seserjrch of prolcmuneifoTm

which remains a major stumbling block in any attempt to write □ paleography of cuneiform for ihe period 2500-2000 B.C.m Unnecessary differentiations con, moreover, be much more easily dismissed at a loter date than necessary differeniialions retroactively introduced.1:0

While compared with a bgagraphic script such as classical Chinese with ils 50,000-60,000 signs131 the currenl archaic sign list appears rather modest, is should be naied that like the Chinese script our protocuneibrm is a very productive writing system. The two best-known means of creating new signs in cuneiform are by graphically changing a discrete sign, and by forming sign combinations. Graphic changes or discrete signs include rotations \tenii, inversion, and in the Uruk IV period of*en mirror images132) and decorations with added strokes and dots [gunS, sessig133}. Signs were, moreover, combined in o variety of ways, the most popular being the insertion of a qualifying sign into a free space offered by another sign. For instance, the majority of the long series of signs inscribed within 'he sign DUGb representing o jor found in the lexical list "Vessels'1 (see figure 29 below) are nowhere else attested and might represent the paradigmatic 'fullness' left in many iexical lists of the third millennium, resulting in such improbable designations as 'old calves' not because scribes considered this a reasonable entry, but because it satisfied an appeti'e For completeness and symmetry in the lists. Thus all commodities which one might have imagined within a pot were included, even I not practically feasible.

II the current sign list is cleansed of combinations and of those sign derivations which seem least likely to be meaningful, the number of ideograms remaining is just under 900, and there is little"doubt (hot this will decrease ever, mare with further work on the archaic texts. This total, while ogain comparable with those of both Falkenslein (ATU l) ond Gteen and Nissen (ATU 2), must be considered a more valid basis for judging the sign repertory of the archaic period, which at this complexity might slilI assume the role of a reduced logograpltic, and not an ideographic writing system.13"

™ Specifically, LAK 239-264,

130 The need for these diffWentiolions has been made clear in a number of reviews cf AT'J 2. including mas' forcefully those oFD.O. Edzard, ZA 83 (1993) 136141, M. Krcbcrnik, OLZ89(1�9ri) 3BO-385, ana P. Steinkelier, BiOr 52 (1995) 6B9-713.

131 V. Mair, "Modern Chinese Writing,-' in; P.T. Daniels and W. Bright (eds.), The World's Writing Systems [New York, Oxford 1996) 200, notes ihcl dictionaries starting ot the end af ihe 1 it century A.D. wenl from co. 9350 to 12,BO0 logograms in 400 A.D., to 26,900 in 753, to 33,200 in 1615. The moil recent dictionary of single graphs lists aboul 60,000. At the same time, studies have shown liial 90% 0' all text occurrences in China are covered by 1000 signs, 99% hy 2400, Similarly. 625 o! the extended pfoto-cuneilorm sign repertory of 195C ore attested just once, 239 twice, and 134 three limes; this means that more than hall of the listed graphs represent [ust 2.5% of the two1 sign occurences ol ca. 62,000 (ideograms and numerical signs).

132 See fig. 22, signs EN, 5ANGA, and MUS3.

133 The addition of one or mora impressions of ihe blunl enc" of a 'numerical' stylus might included ho:e, inexplicably called '+TAR' in ATU 2 (see, for example, fig, 22. sign GURUS, but oho NUN).

134 This [udgmenl rnusl await a better undemanding ol the functions af the signs, bul we need la remember that the classical bgogrophy of Chinese reduces to just 500 discrete graphs in a myriad ol combinations, and that Babylonian ideograms introduced in later periods were rarefy nnw, bui merely combinations ol old elemenls.

Uruk IV 3UG3 C=(^>








3> -

Uruk III






Snakes >0*-


TUR Jl" Children V=_

Figure 22: Paleographic differences The lable dc'ncnsiralei iorne of the graphic development brylwren the Uruk IV ond IN periods. 1: ■sliaignl-cmng of oblique linei, 2: ob^'OCHcr. of piJogtOn^, 3; siinpli'icalion of ckmtin.s. siandardizoiron o! sign or enlalionr A; voTta


Uruk IV



Uruk III

Chief ^ Admini- j= stralors

Exchequers | | fcj


lllltr '







Nirjhls L^= = AN 0 Stars





fexts from ihe Laie Itruk Period

Tlie Mulure uf Prulu-Curitf:fuirn und iSie 5u-nericn Question - Research of pralo-cuneiforrri

Counting signs might seem an effete exercise, yet we know that such efforts can tell us much about the purpose of the texts these signs cppear in. The list presented below indicates those non-numerical signs of greatest frequency (from 1000 down to 100 attestations; translations are for the most pail hypothetical} in the administrative text corpus doting to the periods Uruk IV-III, beginning with ENo, which seems to represent the highest official in archaic administration.,3J This sign is attested more than twice as often as the next-most numerous sign, SE 'barley'. The sign BA of about the same frequency as SEa represents an administrative function, presumably 'distribution' or 'inspection'. AN and NUN= are both likely designations of deities (possibly An and Enki, respectively; notice that MUS^ = Inanna is quite bw in this list!). The object designations with the highest frequency are, not unexpectedly,

se^, followed by SAL - 'female s'ave', and UDU a - 'small calf

sigr. meaning frequency sign meaning frequency

EN 'chief administrator" 996 ME, "a textile8" 223

SE0 'barley' 496 GU� "ration" 220

3 A 'distribution" 495 MUS,, Inanna?" ? I g

AN "An?" 4b5 GAR 'grain ration" 212

NUN a "Enki?" 456 NAMj "official qualification" 209

PAPo overseer?" 409 AB, "cow" 202

SAL� "female slave" 388 TUR "small (person)' 197

Gl "delivery? 368 DUG C 'dairy oil jug" ' 96

SANGAa "accountant" 365 "household?" 195

GAL "large (person)" 353 UNUG 'Uiuk* 190

� "household" 335 NEC "red?" 186

UDUo "small cattle" 330 SI "? (horn)" 183

su "hand, receipt" 298 DUG. 'beer jug" IB)

u, "day' 286 HI "egg2' IB0

TUG& "bolt of cloth' 268 SUHUR "dried fish" 179

BAR ■8' 265 "fresh fish" 176

BU0 "? (snake)- 265 TE "on official" 162

SITA, "an official" 252 G\ "milk bucket' 155

A "water" 250 ERIMc "prisoner3- 163

A3. 'large household" 242 MA � "string (of fruit)- 151

SU, "cap?" 233 KUfa 'half measure ol Oil" 146

J.J "? (feet) 237 ZATU753 132

PA "supervisor?" 226 su, "leather" 131

iq. "place" 229 APIN 'plow' 1 15

SAG "human" 72A mas" 'male kid" 1 15

135 This is to be noted to the curious fad thai EN is nol listed in Ihe lexical professions list lu, A, lor which see below, section 5. This might sugges" that the term is a general designation ol household administrators (compare bebw, section 5 [with n. 227-228], to II. 14-22 of the lexical list UKKIN). or thai Ihe profession list merely included those members of the administration who onswered to ihe EN.


GAN, 'fie'd' 114

KURo "male slave" 113

DAo '?" Ill

MUSEN "bird' 110

Gl J. ox" 108

SUBUR 'pig' 106

ZATU752 "seal?" 106

SE3 'dung?" 105

Nlo "dairy oil container" 104

SIG„, "wool" 104

Another form of 'sign-crunching which might have been used lo derive statistics from the texts helpful in establishing statistically s;gnificanl sign sequences is the frequency of signs in first and last position of isolated sign combinations, the frequency of signs in a 1-2 and 1-2-3 sequence, and so on. The same grapholactic characteristics of prolo-cuneiform which moke an identification of lenguoge elements difficult, however, also hamper a necessary further e'eansing of valiants. For although sign notations follow a strict sequence insofar as numerical and object designating signs are concerned, ideograms which represent persons and administrative functions are notoriously fluid in their case positioning. This phenomenon has been noted throughout the ED II and Ilia (Fara) periods; a standardized sign sequence reflecting spoken Sumerian seems first attested in the early pre-Sargonic Lagosh period around 2500 B.C. Certain types of combinations do, nonetheless, seem to follow a prescribed sequence, at least in the Uruk III period. For instance, professional designations attested in the ED Lu2 A lis! (see below, section 5, and figure 32) invariably exhibit the sequence NAM./GAL/ENntqualifier, whereas other lists suggest that qualifiers precede inanimate object designations.136

4.3. Characteristics of the script

The physical characteristics of prolo-cuneilorm signs have been discussed in earlier publications.13* 1 have staled above my conviction that with few exceptions oil proto-cuneiform signs are pictographic representations of real things. Such piclograms either took the form of a complete rendition of some object, or, using the metnod of pars pro tolo, a part of an object, most often the head of an animal or human. It seems likely that with such piclograms as SU, hand', ideographic meanings are implied which would reflect actions related lo the pictogram. The original meaning of the Sumerian composite verb su—ti, 'hand-approach' will have had no mare impact an its understanding by native speakers than the pedantic references in German middle schools lo the literal meaning of be-greilen have on students today. Thus such administrative uses of SU in archaic accounts snould be understood lo represent actions of giving and receiving; o reduplication of the sign as a global qualification of an account in such texts as MSVO 1,11 and 36, is even more suggestive of its ideographic use.

134 See , for example, the combinal ons with TUG2 ond GA'AR in ihe list 'Vessels' bebw, fig. 29, and note the consistent sequences GAlrt i JAR and JAR h TUR in the text MSVO 3, 1 1, below lig. 76.

137 See still Ihe admirable study of A. Fol ken stein, ATI! 1, 22-29, All general histories of writing hove included descriptions ol archaic signs, including recently M. Kuckenburg, Die Entslehuna von Sp-oche und Schrift. Ein kulturgeschichtlicher Uberblick (Cologne 1989); A. Robinson, The St�ry of Writing (...) (london 1995), P.T. Daniels ond W. Bright (eds), The Worlds Writing Systems (New York Oxford 1996) (ond see D.O. Edzard s coniribulions '(Die) Keilschrill' in: U. Housmann [ed.], Allgemeine Grundlagen der Arch�ologie [...](Munich 1969) 214-221, ond in RIA 5 [Berlm 1976-80] 544-568).

Texts from the lole Drill Period

The Nature ol "roto-Cu'ieiform and the SLRlerion Question - The Sumerian question

Remembering that to achieve the original orientation of proto-cuneiform texts we would need to rotate all figures in this contribution 90 degrees clockwise, it is not difficult to find a strong tendency on the part of the scribes to achieve a symmetrical design through the vertical (conventionally, our horizontal) ax's of most pictogroms, including the abstracted numerical signs. This is not a fortuitous development but rather is grounded in cognitive experience of the world, and may have payed a role in the entire process of abstraction which can be shown io have boon at work between the Uruk IV and III periods in Utuk. The physicol constraints on sign forms of writing on a clay surfoco using a carved stylus of wood or reed seem overemphasized, since we cannot say with certainty how scribes held either tablet or stylus. But is does seem likely that the natural tendency io inctease the speed of writing in an administrative, and not a literary context, influenced the form of pictocrcms and gave archaic cuneiform the same 'flow' in :he direction of writing - ogain, along a vertical axis - known from later cursive forms.139 Thus a simple count of heads' and 'tails' of archaic wedges will show that those impressions drawn against the flow of writing in the U'uk IV period are dropped, and often replaced in favor cf those drawn with the flow.'3' Figure 22 attempts to demonstrate some of ihe common graphic elemen's evident in the Uruk IV period which in a process of abstracting and presumably more rapid writing were altered in the following script phase. These changes range from the most obvious of, in the interest of writing economy, straightening those oblique and curved strokes which belter represented the form of pictographic referents, to simplifying physical elements in ihe heads of animals ond humans, including deleting facial contouring and eliminating eyes. Gunificcttan and cross-hatching can be standardized to a series of parallel strokes. For example, the imp-essed dots in the Uruk IV per'ad sign KASa, probably borrowed from the numerical system used to qualify barley groats (below, figure 41), fo'med parallel lines in the Uruk III period sign (see figure 22: l). Cross-halching in the Uruk IV period sign GAo, representing the matting of teed baskets, was in the Uruk III period made to conform to a vertical/horizontal pcllern (figure 22:4). Further, by the Uruk III period, sign orientation was so far standardized that variant orientalions were no longer used, including, for instance, the mirrored forms of the signs EN and MUSr Attempts by Falkenstein and Nissen to assign, using less objective criteria, certain texts to palecgrapiic subdivisions of the Uruk III period have by and large been unconvincing.1,10

I3B H.E. Brekle, 'Konventionsbosiorlo Krilerien der Buchstobenstruktur am Beispiel der Enlwicklung der kanaondisch-phoniiiscfien zur altgriechischen Schrifl," Kodikas/Code Ais Seme olica 10 {19871 229-246, hes emphasized the historicci and cognitive ifnpo'tance of vertical symmetry in early alphabetic scripts. In 'Some Thoughts on a Historico-Genetic Theo-y of the Leltershapes of our Alphabet," in: W.C. Wat: led.}. Writing Systems and Cognition [...', Neuropsychology and Cognition 6 (Dorareclit, Boston, London 1994) 129 139, the same author reminds us of the tendency of letters in the Phoenician-Greek-Raman line of script development to'look' in the direction of writing, i.e., that the ideal letter consists ol on initial vertical Followed by one or two additions in the direction of writing.

135 A. Falkenstein, ATU 1, p. 9 (with tig. 2).

UD See ATU 2, 53-62, and Archaic Bookkeeping, 21-23 + figs. 24-25, with a division into Uruk 111.3-1. reflecting, but not employing the archaeological subdivisions Uruk lllc-o. The subdivisions wore Ixjsoc on few texts and on a presumed mixing in those texls of sign forms from both phases Uruk IV and III.

4.4. The Sumerian question

It seems an inherently reasonable assumption that prolo cuneiform should have been invented and developed by Sumerian administrators. Despite the discontinuities obvious in the archaeological and epigraphic record of the third millennium, major architectural, artistic and administrative remains suggest thai in fact o homogeneous culture reigned in southern Mesopotamia,"11 which was transmitted to the east, Ihe north,1" and, il seems, to the south.'i3 The great preponderance of Sumerian readings of signs, both as logograms ond os syllabograms in the writing of Semitic names in the Fara period, of entire Semitic texts beginning in the Old Sumer an period (Ebb), makes it appear that the cuneiform of this period was borrowed by East Semilic Akkadians from Sumerians ond consequently that the Akkadians, os the second dominant cultural element in the Fara period, are not candidates to have been the inventors ol prclo-cuneiform.l'u

Attention should also be drawn Io some tew apparent elements in archaic Drlhogrnphy which moy or may not have grammatical relevance. First, os an agglutinating language Sumerian also forms duratives and iteralives, as well as marks plurality of subject or object, by repetition of ideograms, "here are some instances of this practice in archaic accounts, including a doubling ol the signs SU and Gl, both of which according to their position in

T-is is most clear with respect Io Ihe major cultural dagnostics of the lole Uruk period, namely in the conception ond realization of community buildings, in ceramic design and typology, in the production and odmimslrolive use of the cylinder seal, and in the exploitation of writing. Pbns of temples and other monumental ouildings shew a progressive development beginning in the Uboid period and continuing rhoughoul the third millennium. The same opplies lot arlistic representation in sculpture and relief, as well os in depictions on seals. Most important appears to be the continuous use of the same script as a general administrative tool, mo-eover of specific text formats, of specific numerical and mettologicol systems, and cf specific signs and sign combina'ions os stable representative devices throughout this period of over a thousand years.

w Thus the long-laslmg discussion of a Sumerian expansion' in the lole Uruk period. See, lor example, G. Algaze, The Uruk Expansion: Cross-cultural Exchange in Ear'y AAesopotamiori Civilizotion," Current AnthroDology 30 J1989) 571-608: id., The Uruk World Sys'em: Trie Dynamics of Expansion of Early Mesooolamian Civilization (Chicago 1993); P. Michalowski, 'Memory ond Deed: The Historiography of Ihe Polil.cai Expansion ol the Akkod Stole," in: M. Liveroni led], Akkod, The First World Empire: Sliucture, Ideology. Traditions, HANE/S 5 [Paduo 19931 69-90, esp. 72.

M. Tasi, 'Fatly maritime cultures o' the Arabian Gu'l and the Indian Ocean,' in: S. Al Khalifa and M. Rice leds.j, Bahrain llnough Ihe ages: ihe Archaeology {london 19861 103; H. Mynors, 'An Examination ol Mesopolornion Ceramics Using Pedographs and Neulron Aclivolicn Analysis,' in: A. Aspinall and S. Warren (eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd Symposium on Archaeometry, School a! Physics ond Archaeological Sciences (Biodford 1983) 377-387. u" Note also that R.D. Biggs. OrN5 36 ■ 1967; 55-66, refutes D.O. Edzard s suggestion, Geneva n.s. 8 i I9601, 243"1, thol some nomes Itom the arclioic lexis Irom Ur, primarily of Ihe so-called 'Banana' type, con have been Semitic; they probably retlecl a non-Semitic element in the populolion. See also ihe comments of l.M. Diakonoll. VD1 84/ 2 (19631 168�. Given iho high unreliability of ascribing Sumerian values to prolo-cuneilorm signs. P. Sleinkcller s p-o posed Akkadian inlerpretolions of the sign combinations rViAS.GAN, [for maslami. tins was also ihe feeling of M.W. Green, who included ihis sign combinalion os a ligolur in it.e npnlisi AIU 2| and BA DAR [for pafarru; disregarding the speculation concerning t.OUR, to. e-. duruv ol possible Semitic etymology) in BiOr 52 (1995) 695. can, based cn ihe conlexl ol the available administrative attestations [BA.DAR ,s. in (act, only lound on Ihe ED I Blau tablet OIP 104 no. 11). 1� disregarded - a simple sorting prog.om would generate hundreds of equally probable

AkkcicJitm irXKWK]:,


Texts from (tie Lote Uruk �eriod

The k'oture o- ProtoCuneilcrm and ihe Sumerian Question - The Sumerion question

texts ond to their later cuneiform t-adition would seem to represent administrative functions, and specifically probably verbal actions. The counterpart to Gl mentioned above, BA, however, is never reduplicated in administrative context.

A certain Sumerian bias might explain the early identification of a presumed example of Sumerian mulfivalency in the archaic scipt by the Assyriologist and Archaeologist S. Long-don.145 As excavator and epigraphis' of the first large group of archaic texts unearthed in Mesopotamia, those found at the northern mound of Jemdel Nasr, Langdon isolated among the many apparent personal designations of the Jemdel Nasr lexis the sign combinations EN E2 Tl, which he analyzed as a common Sumerian form (dJEn.lil2.ti, 'May Enlil give life'. This personal designation would share two characteristics with Sumerian prosopogrophical practice. In the first place, the name would exhibit devotion to members of the Sumerian pantheon, in which the god Enlil played the leading role. In the second, it would exhibit the feature that many Sumerian names consist of sentences with subject and predicate, or of other recognizably grammatical elements."4 A correct analysis En.lilj.ti would, moreover, provide us with clear evidence for the multivalent use of the sign ARROW in proto-cuneiform,uy namely, in that the word for 'arrow' should be a homophone of the word for 'life', 'to live'. As has been noted to distraction, this homophone construction is known onh/ in the Sumerian language.

A closer look at the combination EN E2 Tl, however, makes this analysis of the name unclear, if not improbable. Of the ca. 50 attestations of the sign, Tl is found in no other cose in the archaic corpus together with a presumable divine name and in only one case of a tablet from Uruk together with EN E2 (W 17729,ee rev. i 3b)."18 This posited divine name

ui Langdon was, in foot, so fixated on the Sumerian origins of Mesopotamion culture as lo venture in 'A New Factor in the Problem of Sumerian Origins," JRAS 1931. 593-596, that planoconvex builders [of the Early Dynastic I period] were a 'recrudescence of trie culturally retrograde indigenous inhabitants of South Mesopotamia," although, to the contrary, plonoconvex bricks may have been the earliest contribution of Surnerians la Mesopotamia!

Ui See the introduction to H. timet, L'Anlhroponymie sumertenne [...] [Paris 1968) 61-1 12, and mate recently W. Heimpel, "Sumerische und akkadische Personennomen in Sume: und Akkod," AfO 25 11974-77) 171-174, and R.A. di Vito, Studies in Third Millennium Sumerian and Akkadian Personal Names SlPahlSM 16 (Rome 1993) 18-122.

K7 The sign itself is a pictogrom o'an arrow and a bow. This would more precisely be called a paronomastic use of pictographs, since muftivalerKy is defined OS the use of o graph paronomoslicol'y and paraseman'ically (the same graph represents variable, phonetically distinct words). Only after a growing ambiguity -resulting from increased multivalency - has led fo confusion will the use of semantic and phonetic 'determinatives' be introduced, as these ore posited for the archoic writing system by some scholars (see below n. 158).

,ie A.A. Vajman, 'Die Zeichen E und LJL in den proto-sumerischen Texlen aus Djemdet Nasr," (3oM 21 (1990) 1 14-1 15 (translation of the article which appeared in Peredneazialskij sbornik 1979/3, 57-59), thus analyzed the combination EN E3 Tl either as e} en.li, "house of the god Enti,' or os e7 ebih, 'house of Ebikh'. The hypothetical divinity En.ti could be analyzed as lord (Bow and) Arrow* or os 'Lord life', Dependent on Ihe proclivity of the philologist concerned. Some support of this interpretation may be derived from a comparison of in particular entries AB ENa.TI0 in ihe Uruk III period text W 1A 355 olw. i 3 ond Em, EN0.TIo in Uruk 11 period texts from Uruk (vV 17729,ee rev. i 3b) ond Irom Jemdel Nosr ond elsewhereffor example, MSVO 1, 196obv. I 2, 212 rev. i 3a, 4o, ond MSVOa, 13 obv. ii 2, 36obv iii 6). Both ABa (later reading esj ond E2 represented households nominally headed by gods. Ebikh was 0 settlement in the northern Diyala region, thus probably in at least commercial contact with ihe region

EN E, is on the other hand represented in about 30 archaic attestations, however only in texts from the northern settlement of Jemdet Nasr together with Tl.1'"

MSVO 1, 196 obv. i 2 IN, EN, EJo \

MSVO 1, 212 obv. ii la IN, rKURoENJIo Ej

MSVO 1, 212 rev. 3a 1N2 EJoENoTI�

MSVO 1, 212 tev. i 4a IN, SAL E3VENo

MSVO 1,213 obv. ii 2a IN, SAL+KUR� llu EN, Tlo

MSVO 1, 213 obv. ii 3a IN, SAL+KUR" ENnTI�E,�

MSVO 1, 213 obv. ii 4a IN, SAL+KUR� EN� E� Tl�

MSVO 4, 13 obv. ;l 1 E,, EN Tl

MSVO 4, 36 obv. iii 6 IN, EN E,. Tl 150

While it may be thai EN E3 reoresents something other lhan Ihe expected 'administrator ol the household', ils ascription to the god Enlil would appear to be excluded by the only clear lexical attestation of the sign combinalion. The Uruk III period text W 21126, the only witness containing the initial lines of the archoic city lis! (fig. 24 below),151 attests in ils

around Jemder Nos-. The presumable Jemdel Nasr geographical list MSVO 1, 243 (tablet purchased by ihe trustees of Ihe Brilish Museum in 1924 Irom the Parisian deoler J.E. Gejou; see MSVO 1, p. 7) contains cbv, iii 4 an opporent reference to ihis settlement with the etitry A.A EN.TI, and the Uruk IV period acminisl-ative text W 9579,oo obv. r I contains the enlry 1NU ; PAPn Tln EN0 IDK3NA GAl0 UNUG^ with a possible ossociat on between ENTI and the Tigris IDIGNA. Note the presumable attestation of the same ploce-nome in the Abu Salabikh lisl Ol? 99, 39-43 (see 39 vi 4 // 43 vi 5). Note that ihe texl MSVO 1, 213, rep:esenls o copy ol a section of 21 2, thus reducing the number ol real olles'aliors in Jemdet Nasr to four. It is not cleor to me whethe' the use in the two MSVO 4 texts of the b-variont ol the sign E3 in this sign combinalion rellecls a scribal or regional vuiialion. See the fo lowing foo'note.

150 MSVO <5. I 3 and 36, certainty the latter ond pobably both deriving from Uqoir excavations, write the com.binoiion with the variant lotm E^ |more than two horizontal strokes inscribed in the sign). The cose belore ofcv. iii 6 of ihe later text contains the notation IN,; EN0 DARA Tl0, the sign DARA^, parallel la EJb, was used lo qualify oxen/bulls ond calves in ihe lexical lisl oTdomeslicaled animob and is believed lo represent o color designalon. See J. Krecher, "Eire unorthographische sumerische Wortliste oris Ebb,' OrAir 22 [1983) 179-189, esp. 184-185, ard note the combinations dor a,, ti ab, in line 14 oh he composition, understood by Krecher as "cow wilh dark, coo red) rib (oreo)". 5 The text was first discussed in M.W. Green, 'A Nolo on on Archaic Period Geographical List from Worko.'JNES 3611977) 293-294, wilho reading -bosed on excovotion photographs -of the second entry ol EN E?; ihis reading termed ihe basis of HJ. Nissen's short discussion of the sign combinations EN Ej /KID m "Orlsnamen in den orchoijehen Tex'en aus Uruk," OrNS 54 (1985) 228. My subsequent collation of the tob'et in the Iraq Museum, Boghdod, ()ESHO 31 [ 1988) 131 -132', and see R.J. Matthews, MSVO 2, 34,40. ondR.K, Englundand HJ. Nissen, ATU 3, 34-35, 145). showed thot the second entry consisled of ihe signs EN KID0. This correction is to be noted lo the recent comments of Th. Jacobsen, "The lil7 ol ^En-lilj,' FS Sjoberg, 267-276, to whose paleogrophical table on p. 267 the archaic form of KID0 may be appended [note thai the variant KID,, should represent some type of comestible, in parliculor os attested in the Jemdet Nosr lexis, for which see R.K. Englund ond J.-P. Gregoire, MSVO 1 S.V.; P. Slcinkcllcr's discussion ol this matter in BiOr 52 [1995] 700, is uninstruclive). Jacobsen in ihis article (p. 270. ciling the eorly opinion of A. Deimel, Pantheon 356.1b) incidentally analyzes the name Enlil again os lord wind', ogoinst current opinion thai the name represents o poputot Sumerion etymotog/ of o substrate name Ellil/lllil. whence the Akkadian ellilu, ellilulu, derived (lacobsen presumes an assimilation ol n and I took place). Note iino'ly ihot os Matthews has clreody staled in M5V0 2, 34, the elemenl KID was in Ihe Jemdel Nasr city seal imptession replaced by the sign NUN, and thai the leading of Enlil in on



Texts from the late Unjfc Period

"he Nalire of Pioto-Cuneiiorm nrd 'he Sumerian Question - The Sumerian quest on

second case the sign combination representing the city Nippur, which according to later tradition was written with the same signs as those representing the tutelar/ god oF that city, Enlil.152 In this and in one other probable lexical lex! dealing with opparent geographical designations,153 the second element of the sign combination was not E, but KiD , thai is, the same sign which in its later Early Dynaslic form was reserved for the position ol /lil/ in the writing of the consort of Enlil in the Sumerian pantheon, Ninlil.'5'1 A review of the attestations of this sign combination in the archaic text corpus exhibits its consistent usage h colophons and summations in a position which would make sense if it represented a geographical designation; it is attested only in texts from the northern settlement of Jemdet Ncsr, ond in these cases together with opparent designations of high officials, including a PAa KALAM (overseer of the land' ?; MSVO 1. 94 rev. i lbl), a SANGA ('exchequer' ?; AASVO I, 185 obv. i 4), and an ENo (chief administrator', corresponding to the head of administration EN of Jemdet Nasr, for which see below, sections.3.5 MSVO 1 107).'"

These considerations lead me to believe that the combination ENo E!o Tlo should provisionally be left untranslated; considering that the designation seems to be of an official who stands in some relationship to counted slaves in Jemdet Nasr lexis, and -hat the pictcgram Tl represented a counted object registered also in baskets and, ol least in prolo-Elamite texts, in very large numbers, it would not be unreasonable to anticipate a meaning household ol the bows and arrows', armory' of the term.

Another candidate which might represent a Sumerian rebus writing in the archaic corpus is the sign Gl. A.A. Vajman first drew attention to the fact that the sign Gl was found often in archaic texts in a context which excluded its interpretation os o representation of o reed stalk,156 but rather in which the sign must represent an administrative oclior concerned with

oppcrenlfycryptrjgraphicMtfK^raphy from ihe Fara AN/dingir, GAL - EN, and NUN = e3/lil3 and, in the writing ol Ninlil, KID [M. Krebernik, Die Beschworungen aui Fara und Ebb [...], TSO 2 fHildeshcim, Zurich, New York 1 984] 279i. Whether the value /lil/ of KID, adduced by K.D. Biggs, OP 99(1974) I 1 ]' (and seejocobsen, op.cil, p. 267'| for ihe Ui III period also obtains for the Eorfy Dynaslic texts is unclear.

152 This list of city designations was copied into the Old Babylonian period, attested by Ihe text UET 7. 80 from Ur, transliterated in MSL 11,62 (the reverse face of the toblet contains o list of gods). O! the three Early Dynaslic witnesses of the same list, SF 23 and Ol' 99, 21-22, ihe fiisl text is damaged ond commences wilh ihe 5th line of the city Irs', the latfer two - both from Abu Salabikh - preserve only ifie sign E2 of the second entry, suggesting that the city name was misrepresented or reinterpreted during the preceding, ED I period.

153 The text W 20921, an unidentified list with entries containing for the most port the sign ENn together with other signs or sign combinations; obv. i 5 consists of the entry ENn KIDo, and is followed by on entry reading EN0 SURJPPAfCo. Ihis biter entry would seem to indicale on interpretation of EN_ in ihe preceding enlry os o separate logogrom - and ol KI0o as O ploce name - and may serve as a warning to remain suspicious of all readings of archoic sign eombinolions based on later tradition.

,s4 ThesignE2/lil,wci5in ihis period found In Ihe writings of En,lil, and Nippur (EN.Ill/'}, Sec R D Bioras

JCS 20 (1966) 84 85, ond OIP 99 (1974) 1113, and Th. Jocobsen, FS Sjoberg, 267-276. ,i5 See also MSVO 1, 95 rev. ii 1, with a possible lime notation (3N,7 SU0 GIRT!) and a notation lepresenlinn

o chief cook(ENGIZ SAGAN) Jihis text was discussed by ihe author in J. Hnyrup and P. Doineiow feds. J.

Changing Views on Ancient Near Eastern Malhernolics [Berlin, forthcoming]], and MSVO 1,115 rev.

ii 1, with EN KIDa in similar context. '� 'Uber die protosumerische Schrift,' AdAnlH 22 (1974| 16.

the control of goods and agricultural lend. The naluial choice of interpretation would seem to be that Gl = /gi/ and thus ihe homophone of the Sumerian administrative term gii( 'to (cause to| return'. It is, however, difficult to explain the qualification with Gl and BA ol two quontities which are subsumed in a common total, since o Sumerian identification of BA as 'distribute' would result in the consolidation of entries qualified 'income' and 'expendilures'. Moreover, Gl and BA can qualify porcels of land in archaic accounts, suggesting thai both interpretations may need to be revised. Qher attempts to identify within the proto-cuneiform sign repertory phonetic elements,157 in particular phonetic indicators (signs added to indicate one -eading of an ideogram which presumably had several) derived from Sumerian have, in the aggregate, been unsuccessful.155

A soohisticoted attempt to locate Sumerian in archaic Mesopotamia derived from an analysis of oncienl numerical systems. In 1972, M. Powell first stated his conviction that since the

li? J. v. Dijk, tin spdtaltbabylonischer Karalog einer Sommlung sumerisctrer Briefe,' GrNS 58 (1989) 446, suggests a reoc'-.ng po:nom,rju /soj, interpreted further as narrij-s^-po - nam sipa(d), of ihe professional designation PA.NAMj.RAD/ZA known in the herding texts edited by M.W. Green 'Animol Husbcndry at Uruk in the Arctoic Period," JNES 39 (1980] 1-35, to qualify a person responsible for accounted animals, su is believed lo be a pfousible Sumerian reading of the sign RAO (derived from sudjl.vorianl saj [ZaJ. ZA is however a different sign INUNUZ, ZA7), the author meant'a", a simplified form of RAD PA is likely the designation ol ihe administrative function of Ihe persons involved, NAM,.RAD Ihe designation of tfiei' charces.

159 M.W. Green suggested in ATU 2, p. 174, thol the sign MA together with the sign DARA3 or PIRfG represented a Sumerian phonelic determinative. Aside from the fact that 'MA' is only secondarily a Sumerian value ol the sign (reading peij, o type of fruit; o meaning ol mo' is not known), we have good reoson to believe that MA represented o noose with which the animals DARA., or PIRIG were led into captivity. The same use cf MA (the sign seems pictographically to represent the cord on which fruits were driedl is found in the sign SAG • MA lour.d in only one Uruk texl. but in a number of Jemdet Nasr occounts (MSVO 1, 212-217|. Whether the sign NA attached to URI3 represents the Sumerian moon god NANNA (p. 252, NA sirnp'ilied lo Kl in later Ircdilion'i is provisio-al on or- understanding of the meaning ol ihe sign NA. M Krebernik in OiZ B9 [1994| 3B3-384, and P. Sleinkellcr in BiOt 52 (1995) 694-695, have listed o number of other possible phonetic usages ol prolocuneilorm signs which would indicate a spoken Sumeiion at the time of earliest script development. Unfortunately, the corrtexl and continuity of cpplicalion of ihe signs ciled by both have not been suiliciently documented lo lead to ony firm conclusions cbout rheii phonetic realizations. The reading ol /am/ for AN, as a presumable phonetic indicator ol ihe sign AMA. is itsell o construe! of grammarians ol Old Sumerian texts, ond we cannot soy whether this sign mean 'mother' in the archaic lexis (nothing speoksfor this interpretation, and only Ihe form AMA^GIS + AN] survives into the ED I texts from Ur), or whether, for instance, the sign AN was rather o semantic delermi-na'ive. The same weakness applies lo the sign MEN cons-sling of EN written within GA2; heie, we should expect that if EN wos a phonelic indicator, the sign MEN should have had a leading which ol least conlaired the full form ol EN, namely /emen/. since ovei-lull phonelicisms are unlikely (cp. J. Bauer, AfO 36-3711989-90) 78) ond neither the leading emer, of MEN, nor men of EN, is attested. Of ihe long list ol certain or foirry certain phonetic indicotors given by Sleinkeller. loc.cit,, only NA in NANNA ond ZA in AZ ore not evidently ad hoc. Neither, however, would moke a cose lor Sumerian writings in ihe archaic peiiod !if I coriectly understand such statements as 'the fact that this sign [ESGAR] appears lo be o logogrom for 'female kid' is nol sufficient grounds for assigning lo it a phonetic value ..." in BiOr 52 11995| 700 to no. 149 [ond compare p. 701 lo no. 184; IAK �90 is indeed related to go.ARjl], 5leinkellci believes the majority of the Sumerian values oscribed by Greon to the proto-cuneiform sign ■cperlory m ATU 2 ara proven). I hove indicaled above (n. 147) ihol the use of semonlic and phonelic indicators shou'd follow on o lengthy development ol mullivalency. It ntoy be noted in passing thai a hornophorious relationship appears lo exist between ihe signs Zl ond Sl4 in ATU 5. pi, 35, W 9123,al.



Texts from ihe Lote Uruk Period

The Na'ure of Froto-Cuneifo'rn and the Sumerian Question - The Sumerion question

sexagesimal system of counting was found amply documented in the earliest texts Itom Mesopotamia, and since this numerical system was only known in Sutr.erion texts and documented as Sumerian-bound in lexical attestations of number words, the archaic script must have been invented by Sumerian-speaking scribes.15' This theory seems disclaimed both by the historical facts and by Sumerian numeracy. On the one hand, it is more likely that the Sumerian number word series originated in the inscribed sexagesimal system rather than the other way around;1*0 on the other, there is greater evidence for a vigesimal rather than a sexagesimal basis ta those Sumerian number words attested in the third millennium. 61 The strength of the assumption that Sumerians developed proto-cuneiform and that the script was used to write texts in Sumerian141 seems so imbedded that it even hampers discussions of the inadequacy of cuneiform in representing the phonetic structure of Sumerion words. Both CP. Boisson143 and, following him, M. Schrelter,w, have in recent publications

'� ZA 62(1972), 172.

100 See P. Damerow and R.K. Englund, ATU 2, 150". The ollestatiors of Sumcon number words ol the series of multiples of 60, lhal is, ol 2*60 - gešj.min, 3x60 = gešjjjš, and so on. o( 10-60 - ges'u, ord of 60��O = šařj, are with the exception ol attestations of the lost sign, derived not Itom third millennium, but rather horn First millennium scholastic texts, shot is, from texts posl-catina the end of the spoken Sumerian by some 1500 years. Such paradigmatic wore lists need not be unreliable, given the cxlrcmcly conservative lexical tradition in Mesopotamia, but the - understandable - lack of phonetic representations of numbers from pe'iods oi spoken Sumerion mus� serve as o warning lo judge later representations with some skepticism. Even 'f the late lexical tradition were lo present a Irue reflection of Sumerian number words, those would not in and of themselves offer ony mere than passing support of the Sumerian involvement in the invention of proto-cuneifom since the a Nested word sequences could equally have arisen from the borrowing of ihe sexagesimal system from o precursor culture and ihe simple assigning of a descriptive terminology to these signs.

141 As Powell and others have slated, ihe rather well attested Sumerian number wo'd sequence befow 60 exhibits a vigesimal structure, in which u = ' 10", niš = '20', usu = 30�ušu possib'y derived from n is^ u, twenty + ten', with loss of initial n and vowel harmony of o short i with a long u; firsl proposed by A.P. Riflin in 1927, for which see \M. Diokonoff, "Some Reflections on Numerals in Sumerion [...],' JAOS 103 [1983] 85*"), nimin -- 40|*niš.min, 'two twenties1', ninnu - 50 (*nis.min.u, 'two twenties, ten], gešj = 60(possibh/ derived fromniš+eš, 'three twenties', with haplo'ogicol reduction; this term, incidentally, may have boon on early 'infinity' in Sumerian, sirce it would at the same time stand lor many twenties , the number ward ei, 'three', being a plural marker of this language. M.A. Powell, Visible language 6 [1972] 17-18s has noted, however, 'he lol'owing complications in this idenlilicolion: 1) a syncope ol /$/ is poorly attested in Sumerian orthography, and 2) lexical attestations of the number word for 20 write Nl-iš, and Nl is never used for the /a/ phoneme [some grammarians do believe Nl might be a nasalized vocalic/i/; note fvther thot it would be difficult in the proposed etymology to explain the /si/ Auslaut of the word for 60, mosl recently discussed by P. Slehkeller, 'Alleged GUR.DA - ugula-ges-da and the Reading of the Sumerian Numeral 60," ZA 69 [ 1979] 176-1 87). This vigesimal structure seems, however, entirely missing in the numerical system, in which, for instance, Ihe quantity '20' is nol represented by an independent s gn, bul rather by the simp'e ode'ition of two signs, each representing 10'.

:ů2 5eealso A. Falkenstein ATU I, 37-43, and F.R. Kraus, Sumerer und Akkoder [...] (Amsterdam 1970� 55. A. Ccrvigneaux, T�criture el la reflexion linguistique en M�sopotcm�e,* in: Auroux, S,. Mordago, P. [eds.l, Histotre des Id�es Linguisliques. Vol. I: la naissance des m�lalangages en Orient of en Occident [liege-Brussels 1989) 100, identifies a "good orgumenl for cllribuling lo Sumerian the edition of lexis for the period immediately following [Uruk IV) fcolled Uruk III or Jemdei Nosr, circa -3000): Iwcause they contain lisrs of words which are without doubt Sumerian, [my Ironsiotion, my emphasis].

143 "Conlrcintes typologiques sur le sysi�me phonologique du Sumerien,' Bulletin de la Societě de Linguistique de Paris 84 (1989) 201-233; Topics in Sumerian Phonology," unpublished manuscript Itom 1991 cired by M. Schretter (see the following footnote).

!4i •Sumerische Phono'ogie: Zu Konsononlenve'bindungen und Silbensttuklur,' Ada OrentoLa 54 (1993) 7-30.

underscored he difficult phonological situation with respeel to the graphic realization of possible consonant clusters in inilial or final position in Sumerian words.145 We have mentioned above the major factors complicating the determination of a possible subslrale language in the archaic texts, be that Sumerian or some other language, namely, lhat bookkeeping is not language oriented, and that there appears to be no adherence to a language-bound sign sequence. Yet this apparent laxness con be demonstrated only to a cerlain extent. Number sign sequences within discrete notations ore, as might be expected, very rigid and so follow a defined numerical 'syntax'. Within text entries, moreover, ihe position of numerical notations relative to ideographic notations is (airly rigid. The remaining ideograms are presumed to represent proper nouns, above all personal designations (names and professions] and piace names or. tne one hand, one1 adminislrative functions, for instance GU? = 'rations', on the other. The need to represent personal names, and the known pattern of grammatical syntax within Sumerian names, would seem lo invest these isolatable sign combinations with particular importance. Such texts as W 23999,1 ond W 20274,2 in figure 65 below, as well as the series of lexis MSVO 1,212-214, present us with incontestable lists of personal designations, and yet the sign combinations in those text entries appear to be incompatible with Sumerian syntax and lexicon, regcrdless of the sign sequences chosen. Il may seem improbable thai a script comprising close to 900 discrete signs, used in a highly eclectic fashion, should not have included elements of multivalency comparable lo those bund in eorly Chinese ond Mayan, but more importantly in the approximately contemporaneous dacu mentation from Egypt.144 Candidates for o determinalion of a Sumerian

155 Insiead ol considering Ihe reasonable possibility thai protc-cuneifoim might hove been borrowed and nol developed by Sumerians, a hypothesis which would morn S'mply exploin the many incongruities found in the representation of Iheir language through the use of lhat wtiling system, however, Schrelter writes ihol 'Baissen counters one poss:ble argument against the assumption of consonant clusters in Sumerian, nomely that cuneiform wos developed for 5umetion and so must have been titled to the lo-.guoge, with ihe case ot the Luvan sylbbic scrip', o-d indicates lurthet thai ihe Sumerion vowels ore ceJoinly inadequately represented ..,'. Such clusters are in current grammars considered anathema lo Sumerion phonology, o v.ew based, however, largely on a non-critical analysis of a lexical Irodition founded in Old Babylonian Nippur scholoslicism. M. Civil has often, lor example, in 'Studie! on Early DyrcVic le�icos:go!iy,'OrAil 21 (19821 lOfdiscussmg /Igudr/; seealso his important survey of the presumed Sumerian syllabary in'From Enki's Headaches to Phonology,'JNES 32 [1973] 57-6!, ond "The Sumerian Wriling System; Some Problems," OrNS 42 [1973] 21-34), emphasized the very preliminary nature of our understanding of Sumerian phonology. See also G.J. Selz, AS) 17 (1995) 255n, to /dri/ etc., who presents further evidence for consonant clusters in inilial and final position in Sumerian (and cp. id., OIZ 87 ]l992] 140'�; M. Yoshikawa, BiOr45[1988| 50i;J.A. Black, RA 84 [1990] 107-1 18).

,c� The inscribed labels found in tombs in the Nile del'a settlement of Abydosond recently edited byG. Dreyer, Umrr. el-Qacb I; Das prddynaslische K�nigsgrab U-j und seine fr�hen Schriflzeugnisse, AV 86, (forthcoming), demonstrate the o'ready developed nature of this scripl. The finds have been doled lo a period of from 3350-3ICO B.C., roughly correspondir-.g to ihe Lote Uruk period IVb-a in Mesopotamia. I find the presumption of Dreyei and others of the multivalent nature of this scripl convincing, yet I must draw attention too possible chronological connection lo late Uruk developments. Il has been shown lhat many ol Ihe products togged by Ihese labels wete impotls from Palestine and Syrio, of which ot least ports were in this period m'luenced by liode ond possibly colonial contacts with southern Bobylonio, Among the cultural elements brought into Syrio during the late Uruk period wete both sealed clay envelopes and numerical tablets, indisputable adminislrative tools serving os precursors of wriling in Mesopolamio. Such so-called bills ol lading will have been understood and exploited by native Syrian traders, who in turn may have been the source of some ol the exports into Egypt.


exls from the Lole Uruk Period

component in the earliest inscriptions must be characterized as imposing. There is no need to burden the comparatively well underslood Sumerian syllabary of the lat-er 3rd millennium lo build a list of sign combinations from the archaic material amenable to mullivolenl analysis. Texts from succeeding settlement periods in southern Mesopotamia dated lo before the inception of the Old Sumerian period of pre-Sargonic Lagash, during which a grammatically, syntactically and phonetically developed Sumerian was written, contain ample evidence of the use of cuneiform to write Sumerian.

The Fara period doles some three to four hundred years after the collapse in southern Babylonia of Uruk HI. Texls from this period excavated primarily in Faro, ancient Shuruppak, and in Abu Salabtkh, exhibit the homophonic use of Sumerian words in personal names and 05 grammatical elements in verbal forms.'67 The most obvious example of the latter phenomenon is the use of ihe sign MU, Sumerian /mu/, "name", to denote a prefix mu- in finite verbs, for example, the sign combination MU DU, literally "NAME FOOT", con be demonstrated to represent the verbal chain mu.gen, "I wenl". The sign GA, Sumerian /ga/, "milk (container)", lo cile another example, is found often in Fara period lexis together wilh the sign KA, *moulh"; the combination must be understood as the verbal form du,,.ga, in which the latter phonetic element represents the syllable-final consonant oF the verb dujaj, 'to speak', combined wilh ihe independent element wilh nominating force, lhal is, /dug/ + /a/, "the spoken (thing)1. Such writings prove the use of the early script lo write Sumerian both front a phonetic as well as from a grammatical standpoint.145 A consideration of some readings of signs, finally, cou'd present alternative, but very obscure candidates for ihe language behind the archaic texts. Doubtless most Sumerobgisls have paused at such readings as /bi/ of the sign KAS and any number of oilier readings roted in Ihe course of sign acculturation . If it is unlikely that such readings reflect entirely arbitrary decisions of early scribes or scribal schools, then /bi/ should represent some object or actions related to ihe production of beer (Sumerian kas/s). The most plausible explanaiion would seem to be lhal such readings represent loans from on unknown language; put another way, bi might be the word for beer in archaic Uruk, In the same vein, we might wonder why Sumerian 'foot' is written with the sign giri3, a pidogram of an equid, and not with du, the pictogram of a foot. One possibility: /giri/ or /gri/ might be the name of an animal in a lost language, ond its pictographic representation was chosen as a rebus by ED Sumerian intruders.,(W

,t7 See the early treatment of the verbal forms from Fara by R. Jeslin, Tabletles sume.-iennes de Suruppck i... (Paris 1937) 9-14, and the current revew byM. Krebernik in In is volume.

!6C h fad the period succeeding the Uruk III period alter an opparenl gap ol same 200 ynars, lepresented epigraaliically by texts an tablets found both in Urjk and, in much larger numbers, in archaic levels of Ur, seems lo contain substantial numbers of sign combinations which can be so interpre'ed. See preliminarily R.A. di Vila, Sludies in Third Millennium Sumerion and Akkadian Personal Names |... ], SlPohl SM 16 (Rome 1993) 23-24, and odd such examples as MES.PA,. DA (UET 2, p. 35, no 529, //UM.PA,.DA] MES.KUR.RA (p. 38, no. 710, sub UM.KUR.RA). I hove profitably discussed Ihe ED 1 lexis will', K. Abrohornson in Berlin.

140 Such writings as ab.sin,, 'Furrow', might represent deep loans' In'o Sumerian From o consonantally inflected archaic language, whose word for plow wos 'apin', as has been suggesied elsewhere (B. Londsberger, 'The Beginnings oF Civilization in Mesopotamia," in Three Essoys on ifie Sumerion:, SANE 1/2 [Los Angeles 1974] 10).

TIih Nature of P-oto-Cuneilorm ond the Sumerian Question - The Suineiian question

While these explanations mighl appear all too ad hoc, there ore a number of concrete examples from the archaic texts of signs whose pictographic referents cannot have represented the objects they denote, and so might present us with evidence for a vocabulary o) the language 'Archaic 170 The sign AB in Ms Uruk IV form (Figure 22) can scarcely represent a temple built on a high lerrace; ralher ifs graphic form seems more easiry connected to the Sumerian referent of AB, 'sea', perhaps the depiction of the Persian gulf and the large swamp of southern Babylonia. However, thejemdel Nosr texts'71 give very strong evidence for interpreting the sign to represent c [temple) household, consonant with the reading /es/ of the sign and thus explaining the confused io'entifica-ion of the pictogram. Again, the archaic sign GURUS is a clear depiction o) a sled, and appeors in ihe Uruk IV period pictogrophicolly supported by apparent wheels or al least logs. Vel the large cereal field account MSVO 1, 1 (below, figure 87) places ihis sign in clear context together with SAL, 'female s:ove, such that its interpretation as 'male slave'172 seems binding, consonant with the reading /gurus/ of the sign. I would suggest that /es/ and /gurus/ or /grus/ were homophonic words for 'sea' and 'household', ond for 'sled' and 'worker', respectively, in the posited language 'Archaic', and thai ihe rebus use of the signs (es/household, gums/ worker) was borrowed into later Sumerian. Accordingly, it would be reasonable to assume that, since only in the ED I texts (of the SIS 4-8 levels in Ur, with some further texts from Uruk and other sites) da we fird apparent evidence o' Sumerian phonetic determinatives, and [here al once in some nurtibets, the Sumeriars entered ihe southern alluvium shortly before the period represented by those levels, bringing with ihem 'he diagnoslic planoconvex brick .<■'*

"� In avoidance oi the term'proto-Euphrolic', which B. Landsberger coined lo describe on important substrate language in existence prior lo the invention of wriling by Sumerians (Three Essays on ihe Sumeiians, SANE 1/2, 9-12). Another straightforward element which should enler considerations of ollernative cfoices in longuage decipherment of Ihe aichoic 'exls is cropnolactics in those sources which ofer an apparently static sequence of two ot more signs. For instance, lexical lisls discussed below, section 5, include entries of obects quolif.ed ir various ways. As a rule, when signs representing objects and athbules (colors, origins, forms, etc.) are clear, the ollribulive sign precedes ihe noun (see below, n. 349-350, lor some exomples), in contrail lo the sequence noun - attribute in Sumerion. While ihis may be orthographic convention, the regularity ol the sign sequence, which by the way olso conlrodicls lhal of the proto-Elamite lexis (see P. Damerow ond R.K. Englund, Tepe Yohyo, pp. 13-15 wilh fig. 7), is striking, and may be languege-bound.

'7I SeeMSVC 1, 26, 79, etc., ond the o'leslalions logethei wilh NI.+RU (compare the exomples MSVO 1, 108, below, fig 79, and MSVO 1, 2, fig. 83). which I have posited mighl represenl the ancient name of lhol settlement,

'ri And so parallel lo KURn; see below, section 6.3.3.

173 J. Hcyiup's understanding of Sumerion os a Creole type language would be consonant wilh this view. See his 'Sumerion: the descendant of a prolo-histatical Creole? An alternative approach lo ihe 'Sumerian P'oblem",' Annoli dellTsliluto Orientale di Napok Annali del Seminorio di studi del nundo classico Sezione linguis'ico 14 (1992) 21-72.


Lexical Texts end Archaic Schon's - Format of Ihe lexical ists


Approximately 670 of the 5820 archaic texts and text fragments unearthed in Babylonia share specific Features identifying them as lexical lists.17'' Such lists are above all recognizable by the strict and simple format of separate cases arranged inlo text columns; each cose contains an inscribed notation consisting of a sign or sign combination preceded by the numerical sign which represents the basic unit in the sexagesimal system (i.e., the sign i ,'7i according to the signlist ATU 2 = N,),174 in contrast to the great majority of administrative texts, whose individual entries contain, as a rule, numerical notations representing varying quantities of goods or measures. Further, the texts we identify as lists contain entries which with few exceptions folbw a standard sequence such that copies of the same text can be compared and fitted together to form so-called scores (German PaiUtvh. Finally, these texts from Uruk are merely the earliest witnesses of a very long scholarly tradition of copying lexical lists, apparently as part of the school curriculum of scribes. Their slavish adherence to tradition was of great importance for the reconstruction of the Uruk lexical material, since even very small tablet fragments containing some lines or even just some signs ol a particular list could be included in an archaic text score based on the correspondence of these sign sequences with those found in canonized lis1 copies from later periods in the third millennium.


The rigid format of tablets containing archaic lexical lists as a rule presents sufficient evidence for their categorization as such. The tablets are usually larger than administrative texts - and

l7d For a discussion of the secondary find situation of nearly all archaic texts 'torn Uruk, and to my knowledge of all school texts, see above section 2 and H.J. Nissen, ATU 2, 21-51; R.K, Englund and H.J. Nissen, ATU 3, 10. See below for a discussion of the relationship between list witnesses dated lo the earliest, Uruk IV writing level, and those doled to the lokowirg Uruk III period.

175 The substonliol number of text colophons including, os a total of the tablet entries, numerical notations with two or more of the signs N34 (D>) representing "60' prove that the sign N, was understood as the basic unit'l' of ihe sexagesimal system. For a general review of the lexical tradition of the early third mil'ennium see HJ. Nissen, "Bemerkungen sur Lislenliteratur Vorda.-asiens fm 3. Jahrlausend [.,.],' in: L. Cagni (ed.), ta lingua di Ebla (Naples 1981) 90-108; id., 'Remarks on the Uruk IVa and III Forerunners." in: M. Civil (ed.|. The Series lu - so and Related Texts, MSL 12 (Rome I960) 4-9; A. Covigneau*, 'Lexrkalische Listen/ KIA 611980-83] 6C9-641 ;and most recently R.K. Englund and H.J. Nissen, ATU 3,9-37 (cl. iho comprehensive review of this volume by N. Veldhuis, BiOr 52 '1995J 433-440),

176 Only two such texts from the late Uruk period have been found outside of Uruk. L.Ch. Walelin s 1928 Jemdet Nasr campaign unearthed the fragment MSVO 1, 242 |- S. langdon, OECT 7, 194 and JSAS 1931, 842, no. 6; see OECT 7, p. Vlllfwilh a copy of ihe orchaic Itsl "Vessels'. The tablet MSVO 1, 243 (-OECT 7, 101; for both texts, see also ATU 3,66 and pits. 67,79, ondX), wilh a list of toponymy was purchased in 1924 from the Parisian antiquities deobrj.E. Gejou, who hod himself bought a group of archaic tablets including this text from the dealers Dumani Freres. This group of documents was said lo hove derived from illicit excavations in Ircq conducted befo-e 1915; see R.K. Englund ond J,-P. Gregoire, AASVO 1, p. 7. The Vessels witness is of patlicu'ar importance as our only incontrovertible evidence ol the use ol such school texts outside of Uruk, indeed well to the north close lo the large settlement Kish, from which o number of archaic administrative texts were also recovered. There con be little doubt lhal, beyond all the othar key text archives which have been suspected lo exist in unexcarated levels of Kish, large numbers of archoic texts, both administrative and lexical, remain buried.

this size is also demonstrable in the case of badly damaged fragments, since therr thickness and the curvature of their preserved surfaces help to deduce their original size - and ore divided by lines drawn the length or the tablets into columns of regular size. The columns, inscribed from left to righl, are further divided into regular coses nscribed from top to bottom. An inspection of preserved tablets demonstrates that the dividing lines closing cases were drawn after completion of the individual entry. The upper dividing line of such an entry could, but need not necessarily be used as a line of orientation for the physical impression of signs, just as in later periods signs generolly 'hung' from this rafter.177 Composition of signs within cases seems for the most port, however, to have been up lo the scribe, although some effort was made to center signs or sign combinations on a vertical axis through the case. Care was taken lo justify the co'umns by inscribing one or more signs of 'he entry to the right of the case.

The reverse feces of list witnesses are seldom inscribed with list entries, but rather if inscribed then usually only with a colophon which indicates wilh a sexagesimal notation the number of entries recorded on the tablet obverse, and with ideograms possibly the scribe or office responsible for the inscription. In some Few cases, tne list found on the obverse of a tablet is continued on its reverse; here, scribes followed the bookkeeping practice of administrators and turned the tablet around on its vertical axis (see figures 17 and 21 above) and continued the list in columns from left lo right.I-'B I am aware of no exception in the archaic lexical material to this rule.

The individual entries of all archaic lists generally began with the sign N,, representing the basic unit" 1" of the sexagesimal numerical system.179 The actual entry consisted of one or a number ol ideographic or numerical signs representing an enclosed concept. Dependent on the nature of the list, such entries might consist of signs standing for substantives, i.e., logograms, os a rule a designation of on object; of signs standing for qualifiers, for example, definitions of physical composition referring lo colors, lo age, to size, and so on; signs presumably standing for abstracta and other specific language concepts like kin relationships, justice, piety, etc. The relative position to each other of signs in multiple sign entries-re-. membering that the numerical sign introducing the entry is alwoys the first sign in the case-

is generally rigid. Fo* instance, the first nine entries of the list Lu; A all consist of a numerical

i 177 See, for example, ATU 3. pi. 4. W 15895.S: pi. 47. W 15895,p+; pi. 51. W 21208,2.

178 See. lor example, ATU 3, pi. 4, W 11986,a (L, A on the obverse. Metal on the reverse foce of the tablet; in both cases, columns reading from lefl to right); pi. 23, W 9656,h (Uruk IV!); pi. 36, W 12139; pi. 39, W 21075,3; pi. 43, W 22090,2+ (note that, in accordance with administrative proclice. Ihe tablet was initially rotated around its i/erticcl oxis fo continue inscription ol individual entries, then returned to its original obverse position to be rotated around its horizontal axis lot ihe inscription of a tobfet

: colophon); pi. 79, 8: MSVO 1, 243.

170 t may be noted lhal Ihe corresponding entry idenlifier in the Fara lists was Ihe sign Nu(!".') representing '60", that is, ihe same oblique impression, bul mode wilh a rounded end of a lorge stylus. Both signs correspond lo the vertical wedge 1 representing "I" in enliies ol ihe lexical lists of Ihe second ond first millennium, ond were in all cases simply visual and memory oids in counting ihe number of lines inscribed on tablets so as lo be able to collate line totals on original and copies. The same means of rechecking line numbers ore often found on table's containing literary texts, wilh, fot example, o check mork impressed before every tenth line.



Texts from the Late Uruk Period

■exicrjl Tex's and Archaic Schools - Use nf later lists

sign representing " I", followed by two ideograms representing the designation of a profession in the archaic Uruk administration.180 The first of these ideograms, either GALa ot NAM,,131 seems to represent a qualifier of the second sign cesignaiing an office. No Uruk III period writing of ihese lines - on average over twenty witnesses per line - devioted from the sequence NAM, SIGN,182 suggesting either that writing conventions dictated specific sign sequences in defined environments, or that the signs represent the sequence of words or concepts in a spoken language.

It was above all ihe lablel formats and the evident copying of these texts which led A. Dei me I in his initial publication of the Fara texts to identify ihem as 'school texts,"'83 akin to the writing exercises and text copies well attested in later periods. Practice exercises ore found among the archaic texts (figure 23); they are, however, rare. The large majority of lexical list witnesses appear to be ihe result of a practiced hand, and few examples are know of sections of lists either or small tablets, or inscribed together on larger tablets.


figure 23: Arcaic scribal exercises

The 1e*' to the left seems to contain otempls ot o student to copy various signs, the text to the right doodles based on ihe sign T1Q j—<J—<).

5.2. Ust Of LATER iists

A very conseivolive view of knowledge and organization of concepts is obvious in the transmission of school curricula in Mesopotamia. The possible gap of ore or at most several centuries between the latest archaic lexical witnesses from the Early Dynastic I period represented by the SIS 4-8 level texts from Ur184 and the highly conventionalized and in many cases nearly completely preserved list witnesses from the Early Dynastic Ilia period in Fara and Abu Salabikh may seem imposing in modern terms. But ihe absolutely cleor correspondence of texts from both periods allows af no doubl as lo the uninterrupted use of these lists in scribal schools. We mjsl imagine the movement and expansion of schools from

180 See below, fig, 32. The First enlry is only an apparent exception lo this rule: NAMESDA is simply the convenlional name given the combination SITA+GIS NAM,. II is to be noted, however, lhal the common sign NAM, otherwise always assumes first posilion in the sign sequence ol a professional name.

,B1 The sign might be a piclogrom and represent some soil of pedestal or "seat of office', and so boat graphic

and semantic relationship to the sign KU^/DUR,. There has been same speculation aboul whether this j

sign might have assumed ihe function ot a true abslracl-builder and so borre a linear relationship lo ihe

sign NAM in laSer, Sumerian practice. The etymology of this alter word is slill debaled but most seem to

assume that it is to be analyzed as either ana-am or no-am. in balh cases Sumerian slalive phrases

meaning 'what is it' or 'it is indeed", respectively; it need not hove o Sumerian etymology at all. however.

assuming lhal ihe original sign NAMj represented a discrete object ot an abstract concept in o non.

Sumerian language, phonetically realized as /nam/, end lhal this phoneme assumed ihe some function

as, for example, -ut- in Akkadian or -htm in German. That the sign NAM, luncrioned as a qualifier in the

list UJ) A seems best supported by the (act thai in the Uruk IV period wilness W 9206,k the sign was

omilted in the first entries.

'8? The Uruk IV period wilnesses W 9656,h and W 20421,1 (ATU 3, pi, 23) arc less consisted, as arc Uruk IV period administrative texts, for example, W 66i 1 obv. i 1 and W 9579,dc obv. i 1 (SU? KAB NAM,) compored lo W 6738,c obv. i 1 o (with SU, NAM, KAB), W 9656,g obv. i 2, W 21060 2 rev. i 1 (both KAB NAMj); W 9656,ar (with Dl? NAM,), and W 8274 (with ERIN NAM,|.

183 A. Deimel, Die InschriFten von Fara II; Schultesle airs Faro, WVDOG 43 (leipzig 1923)2 -6",

184 Trie texls E. Burrows, UET 2. Archaic Texts ('London 1935) nos. 14, 264, 299-301, oil comained copies of the professions list(Lu2 A); no. 234 represents the only subs'antial archaic witness of llie lish list. The SIS 4-8 texls con be pbced in the ED Ml period ond so on!y roughly dated lo ca. 2700 B.C.

one political or economic center 'o another, bringing wilh them much the same lexica and lists of exercises. Documentation of these schools is in the tells of Iraq - as yet undiscovered. Bold administrative and school" texts from the Fara period remain extremely difficult to interpret; yet it can be shown lhat the Fara archives form pari of a long tradition of writing in Mesopotamia. Texts from the Fora period demonstrably contain evidence of ihe phonetic use of signs lo represent both the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. Further, comparison o: the Fara period sign repertory wilh that of the pre-Sargonic Lagash archives excavated earlier than those of Fara allowed the editor of the Fara material, A. Deimel, lo identify wilh some confidence a large number of the logograms, i.e., signs representing obove all discrete objects, as well as designations of persons and divinities, toponyms, ond verbal stems. This level of understanding made il possible to identify in ihe Fara lists organizing principals, encompassing concepts such as designations of professions, of domestic animals, fish and ceramic pots. In these isolated semantic fields, specific examples were listed, organized according to rules which were in many cases clear. Large collie, for example, were divided according lo sex and age, then further into colegories of color, use, and so on. These conceptual structures evident in the Fara lexis led to the use of the term "lexical lists' to define ihis text genre.

Yet ihe slavish copying of archaic lists in the Faro period should also not be over-valued. For many concepts represented by ptclo-cuneiform ideograms had, so far as we can judge from ihe use of those ideograms, lillle or no meaning in post-archaic periods, yet those ideograms were copied lime and time again throughout the third millennium. For example, the list now conventionally called ED lu, A or Lisl of Professions, based on the number of wilnesses found during excavations of archaic Uruk levels certainly ihe most popular list of the archaic period, contains large numbers of sign combinations which ore attested in the contemporary archaic administrative text corpus, bul which are absent in Fara accounts.



Texts from the late Uruk Period

lexicui Texls and Archaic Schools - Development of lists during the lore Uruk Period

5.3. Development of lists during I he Late Uruk Perioo 'see figure 24)

Instruction in the use o' proto-cuneiform took place in all likelihood within the confines of the central district Eanna. With but one exception,185 all list witnesses derived Irom excavolions within this area. Although HJ. Nissen has often warned againsl an unfounded acceptance of an atgumentum ex silentio that scholarly activity was confined lo the Eanna district - very little of the Late Uruk levels outside of the Ecnna district have ever been excavated160, and later lexical material was as a rule lound in private contexts187 - the greal preponderance of lists from ihe area, including find loci with up la 190 lexical fragments representing all known lists,188 must indicate the existence ol scribal schools in the immediate vicinity, from which tablets and fragments no longer kept lot archival or didactic purposes were taken for disposal. The information to be derived Irom the lexical lists to assist in our efforts to inter pre I the proto-cuneiform documentation may be viewed ftom several perspectives. Of course, these compendia are of crucial importance in our understanding of ihe meanings of signs and sign combinations in the much larger group of administrative documents ol this period. The necessity of writing these accounts, after all, with high likelihood prompted the early development of writing altogether, and thus the development of tools - lists - lo instruct students in archaic schools in the use of writing. Further, ihe principles of composition evident in these lists cerlainly reflect an archaic organization of the world inlo a hierarchy of men, of animals and of inanimate objects. The chronological development of lists is also obvious in the material accessible to us. Rapid development and standardization ate obvious in ihe Uruk III period after an inchoate lexical organization accompanying ihe first widespread use of writing in Uruk IV.

Lexical lists are in (act exceedingly rare among the Uruk IV period texts. No pockets ol texts from this period contained solely or predominately lists, a phenomenon well documented for ihe Uruk III period. Of the ca. 670 tablets and fragments identified as lisls, only 11 are with some certainly from the Uruk IV period,18' a further 5 may belong to this group. Only ihree lexical lists are securely attested in the Uruk IV period, The list lu; A seems sufficiently

185 The large Lu; A fragment W 21761 ,o-c was discovered in the square K/l XII, idcnlilied by HJ. Nissen, ATU 3, 10'15, as a probab'e craft center; see also Nissen, EoM 5 (1970J 151. W 21761 was probably removed from its original deposition site in anliquity. That tablet! were excavated in tertiary deposits is proven by the fact thai pieces of Ihe same tablet were found in different loci' see H J Nissen ATU 2, 24-25. ATU 3, 10.

187 Beginning in the Old Babylonian period, lexical material shows up in private homes, in particular in Assur and Nippur, but it is important lo remember thai residential oreas are very poorly excavated in comparison lo the monumental buildings which attracted Ihe attention ol field scholars.

188 lexical lists formed the majority of tablets found at the loci W 15895 [75 texts, of which at feast 64 could be identified as lexical lists), W 20266 (186 texts of which at leost 183 were lisls; to this number, the 7 lexicol tablets accessioned under the excavalion number W 20258 should be odded, since both 20258 and 20266 were identified as deriving from the some locus) ond W 21208 (ail 47 tablets lexical hats).

lfl9Slratigrac^icolevidencesuppo'tsthedafingofNvooflheelev,en,W9206,kand9656,hl,taoporirid prior to Uruk III. See ATU 2, pp. 28-34, in particular p, 34, and compare Ihe excavation plan n ATU 3, p. 11, and the discussion in ATU 5, pp. 14-16.

represented oy five texts,150 of which one, W 9656,hl, was nearly complete, with 9 columns containing cn average 9 entries each. Uruk IV versions of the lists "Vessels' and "Metal" are repiesented by two, possibly three texts,'" Three further lexis seem to contain so-called vocabularies, iisls of signs possibly arranged according to graphic criteria.192 The text W 9656,h 1 is the only true precursor of a canonized list from the following, Uruk III period, the other cited examples either being too Irogmenloty to charl real correspondences between witnesses from the two writing phases, or representing lexical compendia clearly only marginally telaled to later canonized versions. Even in the case of W9656,hi, its cortespondence po the canonized Lu? A list of the Uruk III period does nol hold throughout. The foci lhat only three of fifteen lists sufficiently attested in ihe archaic period to allow of the arrangenen* of a textual score which can be compered with Foro period correspondences may, with reasonable certainty, be doled to the Uruk IV period mighl be coincidental, since the Uruk IV lists are also among the best attested lexical texts of the following, Uruk III period (Lu; A nearly 180 tablets and fragments, Metal over 50, end Vessels nearly 100"3). Still it should be underscored llial nearly 1900 tablets and Fragments date, according to paleographical considerations, to the Uruk IV period; that is about 40% of the total of archaic documents from Uruk. A total of 15 Uruk IV period lexical lists would on ihe other hand cotrespond to jusl aver 2% of the total of lexical lisls, and indeed less thon 1% of the total of Uruk IV period documents. This seems to represent clear evidence of a real expansion in the composition and use of lexical texls in the peiicd following the earliest development of writing,"'1 and make suspect the assumption of some scholars that ihe tradition of composing lexical lisls must have enjoyed a long history before the inception ol writing. The frequency and find situation of Uruk III period lisls suggests nol only lhal from a constricted beginning o- at most several lisls, of which only the professions lisl could be shown to have

i� w 9206k, 9656,hl, 9656.x, 20421.1 ond 20421,2. The first 'ext apparently lis'ed the first entries ol the lu? A compendium excluding the sign NAMj found as qualifier of co-responding entries in all olher witnesses

1,1 W 1662l,o contained o precursor ol Ihe Uruk III metal list, W 21060,5(+6 ?) the vessels lisl followed by metal (note iho! the sane phenomenon occurs jn ihe Uruk III period in the text W 1225�.�+; otherwise anry altesled in W 20266,44 [ Tribute' followed by 'Plants']), and W 21060, 1Ď possibly the vessels lisl.

lw W9l23rd, l�548,o* and 21002A Only the lirsl lexi, however, con be doled k> the Uruk IV period with relative certainly.

m Only ihe 'Tribute' list attested in 55 tablets and fragments was lecoveied in compaiable numbers.

Iw If is still difficult lo judge the curricu um of ptolo-EWile schools, We have slated that no texts have been discovered in Elamile excavations which bear even superficial resemblance to ihe lexical testis �rom Mesopotamia. The characteristics we mighl expect, w�thoul being able lo decipher the meanings of ihe signs attested, would be a rigid format of coses, inscriptions which did not include numerical notations, some common denominator of the ideographic notations which could be documen'ed in Ihe piOtO-Elarnile administrative archive, and above ell multiple copies of the same pesscges, indicating lhat one text had assumed a 'school funciion". Thus the instruction in the use of ihe early Persian script must have involved writing practice accounts or tablets containing repeated od ministra live entries, ond we do have evidence cl this practice. The large account MDP 26, 362, seems 'o represent on ollernpl to document the use of all known numerical signs in ihe prolo-Flamitc capacity system, and contains no ideographic notations which would idenlify on cdminisiralive funciion of the label. Texls such as MDP 17, 32B, on the olher hand, seem lo represent simpe 'exercises'. 5ee P. Domerow and RX. Englund, Tepe Yahyo, 18-20, and in particular ihe fwo volumes cited there, J. Friberg, ERBM HI.




Texls from the jate Urui Period

Lexical Terfls and Arcnoic Schools - Development of lists during tlie lule Uiuk Period

Pniod: (sIh) Unjk IV-lll |Uruk)



lu3 A(nomeiao) IS5 Ivj E 'J" 1 :

Vmdi 91 Tribute 56


(Jemojl Naif]

Wood Gallic A

Coltlf B CffnuolsA CF : ols E Cfkids B Rili





Vocobulory UniderJitied Godliils

FbJa Monolingual


Ehh Vocabulary [S!s.txjr kinj

3D 2i

158 22

2B 2 70 4

22 I

22 21 1

17 1 13 3 12 12

9 1 8

4 2


2 2 11 11 125 125

W 20713.) ?

MSVO 1. 242

MSVO I. 243

ED Uri

U:T2. 14. 264. 799301

JET ?. 204

UET 2. 105 '■ (W.G. Inmberl. ASJ 3. 34)

ED la

Sf 33 35, 75-76. W 12466

SF 64

Sf 12. 13 . ISS 264

- sr 68. M it 61

- sr 59

St 59

5' 9.1

ST 73 24

Sf 1517

Sr 5B, 67 . NISS 1?3

SI 17. 53 24

ED Ilk)

>Ab, soiobkh)

OIP 99 1-3 483. 487

OIP99. 54.56. 55. 57-60

OP 93. A, 79

OIP 99, 402. 459, in

OP 99. 13-7

-OIP 99. 18-20 OIP 99. 25-27

OIP 99. 10-12 OIP 99, 21-22 - OIP 99. 91-1 11 OIP 99, 5,6

ED :iid


WEE 3. I, 2-5. 3.4

M.EE 3. 6-1 1

MEE 3, 26-76

MEE 3. 12-17, 62 liyllabic)

MEE 3. 21-25

- MEE 3. 50

MEE 3, 50

MEE 3.43

MEE 3. 27-38, 64- [syBabic)

- O.NS 47. SON. (All. gsogr I

WE 3.48)49, 63 (syllabic), ABET 5.23

MEE 3. 39. (40|

OP 99. 23.24 30', 402,412,436


Et> lltb (Girsv. Nipaurl

DP 337 ECTJ 220



ZA29. 79, OSP 1. U:VOS 1. 12, MDP 14, 8B

MAD 5, 35 HSS 10, 22!

MVN 3, 1 5

FT !. pi. 44 Speleeij, RIAA 46: CBS 14182, Ni 5034, A 3670

MEE 3. 44.46. 53

MEE 4. 780-615 |W.G tambnil, Bilinguismo 39311\

MEE 3. 51-52 MEE 3. 54(1-101. 73

MEE 4, pgnirn

MO"1 18. 2 I; MDP 27, 196

Fales/Krispijn, JECX 26, 39J6

6 NT 676

Gurney, Iraq 31 3-7

6 NT 677-6B0

Old Etobylooior

SLT 42 � Ni 1597

cf MSI 5, o?n.

d MSI 12. 9.10

UET 7, 80 [MSI 11, 62|

in 2. 5898 * 5, 9251:6NT681<S9


Ovil/Biggs HA 60, 8-1 1

Figure 24; Major lexical lisls ol the 3rd millennium Conspicuously absent in ihe eorliesl levels ore ihe lisls cf gods lirst cleorK/ altested in the Faic pet iod. These compositions may represent on innovation of Early Dynastic Iheo'ogians.



Texts From the Late Uruk Period

Lexical Lexis and Archaic Schools - The lists

beer copied in the Uruk IV period, the lexical repertory was expanded to incorporate large numbers ol copies ol at least fifteen, and probably substantially more, already canonized texts, but also that they were writren ana kept together in some distinct port of the central administrative district. The latter point seems best supported by the fact that a number of distinct find loci procuced large numbers of, or exclusively lexical texts. Despite the fact that like the great majority of the archaic texts from Uruk these finds too were made in secondary contexts, the exclusivity of the lexical finds suggests that the tablets will have been gathered from a particular location to be discarded, thus preserving in their secondary context the primary context in which the tablets had been stored.

The largest lexical 'archive' identified in this regard, W 20266 and including W 20258, derived from a locus 'between the two Early Dynastic walls, the outer wall and the parallel wall lying before it" in the excavation square Nd XVII, 1,1<55 Of the 193 tablets and Iragments identified in this find, fully 190 were witnesses of lexical lists (ca. 30% of the total of all list witnesses). Further, the texts in this archive were representative of the breadth (number of different lists) and depth (copies of individual compositions) of the lexical material on the whole. Represented are; Lu2 A with 52 numbers (ca. 30% of a total of 17b), Officials with 0 (of 13), Cattle with 12 (50% of 24), Fish with 6 (30% of 21), Birds with 2 (33% of 6), Wood with 4 (15% of 30], Tribute with 25 (45% of 56), Plants with 2 (+1 together with the list Tr bute [W 20266,44]; of 4), Vessels with 17(20%d92), Metals with 17 (30% of 53), Grain with 1 (of 9), Cities with 7 (45% of 16), and Geography with 8 [70% of 11). A further 29 texts containing unidentified lists (of 121) completes the archive. Of the lists whose witnesses are attested in numbers of statistical significance, namely, Lu2 A, Tribute, Vessels and Metals, only Tribute with a total of 45% in the W 20266 archive' would appear to be over-represented. The other three are so in line with expectations that we must assume that the location from which these texts were removed represented a school or library in which scribes were instructed in the use of proto-cuneifarm and in the terminology requisite to their inclusion in the scribal caste.

5.4. The lists

The archaic lexical lists can be placed in five general categories'96:

- Designations of places (see figures 25-27)

- FJesignatfons of animals

- Designations of plants and manufactured products (see figures 28-29)

- literature (see figures 30-31)

- Designations of persons (see figures 32, 33, 35)

The terminus onle quern of Early fjynas'ic II given by this find Is no! helphil in doling the tablets srtaligropfncalfy. See Nissen's discussion in ATU 2, pp. 41-51.

The somewhat amorphous categories of vocabularies' and 'practice texts', as well as the 1 22 lexis and fragments which according to their formots could wilh some certainty be identified as list witnesses but which we were unable to compile into sco'es will not be treated here; see the short discussion in ATU 3, 37.


Figure 25: W 21 1 26

Tire lext contains the first lines of the archaic Ciy list, beginning wilh the topony'ns representing Ur, Nippur, Larsa and, in fourth place, Uruk [reverse uninscribedfj.

Figure 26: Composite copy ol the lexical list 'Cities'



Texts from the Late UtiA Period

Lexical Texts and Archaic School's - The fists

F-gure 27: Trie archaic 'City Seal* The so-called City Seal was impressed on a large number of tablets from Jemclef Nasr dealing primarily with dried Fruit.

To the rig hi is a copy of fta only table! |M5VO 4, 15] wilh this seal not daarly horn Jf:mdc;f Na5f, but wrhh the some types of commodities recorded. On page 93 is a composite drawing of t^e sea! impressions with a comparison of their legend with rhe first fines of Hie orchalc City Lis! (see ATU 3, 34-35|, from a sludy of archaic sealing practice by R.J. Matthews (M5VO 2, 36-39],

5.4.1. Places (see figures 25-27lw)

All f6 wilnesseso: a list of city names derive from lire Uruk III period.™ The first lines of ihe list consist of well known names cf leading cities oF southern Mesopotamia, beginning with those of Ur, Nippur, Larsa and Uruk (.figures 25-26).,w The significance of this sequence is not obvious, but, since many of the loponyms contain elements of divine nomes ("NANNA ' [URlJ pari of URIj/Ur, UTU [Uj part of ARARMAj/Larsa), or are coletminous with divine names (ENo.KIDa - NIBRU, EIMUL AB^KU^, = NINA, NAN5E), may reflect a mythological or cultic hierarchy, that is, beginning with the household of the moon god NANNA, followed by that of the earth god ENUf, the sun god UTU and so on.

197 Figure 26 and those below of individual Lists (figs. 29, 30 ord 32) consist of composite drawings combining the preserved entries & all witnesses and are thus artificial, bul certainly represemotive of the form relatively complete exemplars would have token. Compare, for example, the witness W 20266.1 [ATU 3, pits 2-3, II] with the composite drawing of the Lu? A list in fig, 32, below.

™ See ATU 3, 35-36. 145-151, 160-162. and the ED lib texts SF 23-24; OIP 99, nos. 21-22 and the Old Babylonian text UET 7, 80 (transliterated in MSt 11, 62],

1M See M.W. Green, JNES 36 i 1977) 293-294, with l.teroture (Green s reading of Ihe second lino was corrected by R.K. Englund, JESHO 31 [1988] 131-133�); to the sc-called -Aibnle Geografico" s G. PeNinato. OrNS 47(1978) 50-73, MEE 3 (1981) pp. 227-241, and now DR. frayne. the Early Dynastic List of Geographical Names, AOS 74 (New Haven 1992).

� 5 olqi m n


Axis Rolaticn italic miner i/nage of insctifVi.-rn m rhc seel impfesyonj'

Compoiile drawing ol ihe cornple'e seal impression on ihe tabids

Ccmplerc Seel impress fin oi l~r ľ�o-(reodng from right to Icťl)

Kir 710 BU*BU ?NIRi� Eras. Zabal�^ Kr?l3 Unug, Nibru, ArarmaM Uri^ *N*3 i . ^ (EN-NUN)

Noigol,! !

m 13 mum

CIIKrl 1 URIs W21I26 O0101 uri5

Oh� 2 NIBRU „sxJr^ W21I26 OO102 'NBSU''

C.l*i3 ARARMAjo ^'"Cj' W21I26 O0103 'ARARMAjo'


W?l!?ft O0104 'UNUG„'


CiIk-s 3 (KESrj|

Or�s Ď [ZABAlAo]

Oliw 7 (EREŠ3I

Cities 8 GABURRA I |� |=

w 20266,74 O0103 GABJRRA

Cil�> 9 US2 KUi,, RAD0 ^—^-j |~ w 20200,74 00104 UR; KU&, RADa

CilieslO SVA.RAft, imU]j|g^|~ w 20266,74 OO105 SIMq RAD0



Texls �rom he Late LW< Period

Isiical Texts ona Archoc Schools - Ihe lisls

An extraordinary seal impression found on a large number of texts from Jemdet Nasr and discussed in detoi. :n a recent publication by RJ. Matthews/00 however, could speak for a political or economic meaning in ihe list, reflecting a 'league of cities'. The first and fourth entries in this city seal parallel those of the lexical series, however the second and ihird are reversed. The sign combination EN NUN seems in the city seel to correspond to the combination ENo KIDo in the lexical list.

Another eleven texts can be identified as compendia of geographical names based primarily on parallels in texts from Abu Salabikh and Ebla,201 however without in oil cases forming scores which might indicate a real lexical tradition.70'

5.4.2. Animals

Four of the lexical lists first composed in the archaic period are compendia of domesticated and other animals which were exploited in southern Mesopotamia, including large cattle,"33 pigs, fish and birds.

The first of these lists deals with oxen (GUj, cows (AB2), calves (AMAR; and possibly, wild bulls.204 Each section of the list consists of entries representing the respective animals and a static sequence of signs which apparently qualify the animals as to their age, color, etc. A second compiles sign combinations representing fish, their forms of preservation and probably methods of preparation, as well as descriptions of fishing gear and means of transportation.205 Fish were as a rule represented either with the sign KU^ (a piclogram of the fish, see below, section 6.3.1} or the sign SUHUR (a pictogram of a split and dried fish wilh its head removed). Birds are described in a third list of animals106 Two texts, of which one is completely preserved,507 contain in 58 entries'08 a list of pigs (ŠUBUR).2!W

100 MSVO 2, in particular pp. 29-36.

�1 Sec MEE 3, pp. 227-241; OIP 99, nos. 39-12.

202 The large text W 20266,3 must derive from a standardized composition, since two further fragments [W 20266,146 and 147] contain entries running parallel 10 three lines in the larger text. See ATU 3, 150-151, 161, and pi. 79. For a survey of Ihe geog raph icol n ames fou nd i n admin i stra live docu men� s see Hj. Ňisscn, O.-NS 54 (1985) 226-233.

203 The exclusion of the much more important sma'l cattle in our witnesses is incomprehensible ond presumably a consequence of the fortunes of excavotion. The prolc-cuneiform signs which represent small and large collie in the lists and administrative texts arc offcreo in fig. 51 below.

5(14 See ATU 3, 22, 89-93, and the ED witnesses SF 81; OIP 99. nos. 25-27; MEE 3, nos. 12-17, pp. 47-50 and the syllable version MCE 3, no. 62, pp. 251 -252, edited by ThJ.H. Krispijn, JEOl 27 11981-82) 47-53, and J. Krecher, OrAnl 22 11983> 179-189.

205 See ATU 3, 22, 93-98, the ED I witness from Ur UET 2, 234, and Ihe ED HI witnesses SF 9-11; OIP 99. nos. 10-12; MEE 3, nas. 27-38, pp. 91-104; an edition of Ur III witnesses of the same lisljoN-T 677-680) is in preparation byM. Civil. Although Hh 1 8 begins wilh the same sign suhui, it bos tittle else in common wilh the archaic list.

See ATU 3, 22, 98-100, and the ED II witnesses SF 58; MEE 3. no. 39, p. 105-118; o preliminary edition of �r III witnesses of ihe same list (6N-T 681+ 6N-T 689 ond ITT II, 5898 -r ITT V, 9251j has been offered byG. Pettinoto, OtAnt !7(I978| 165-178 (cf, M. Civil, MEE 3 11981 ] 275-277). See below, fig. 63.

708 Documented by a numerical notation 5Nla 8N, along the left edge of the lexl W12139, in lull

correspondence with the number of coses on the toblet. 2� SeeATU3,22-23, 100-103, P. DamerowandR.fi. Englund, ATU 2, 146'7*, S.K. Englund. JCSHO 31


5.4.3. Plants and manufactured products

A list of trees and wooden objects (see ligure 28) is only in its first 40 lines a standardized composition ond was not canonized in later cuneiform tradition210; these first lines apparently lisl the designations of trees, and the larger, but uncanonized second section deals with wooden objects. The sign GIS in nearly all entries, apparently a piclogram of a simple planed piece of wood, seems to fulfill the function in this list of a semantic indicator, since some witnesses dispense with its inclusion in the individual entries. A very poorly preserved second list in this group contains designations of plants and of a variety of other objects, including time designations, and might represenl some sort of agricultural manual.2:1 A third list (figure 29), one of the best represented of all archaic lexical compositions, contains three sections. The first (II. 1-62) consists of involved designations of vessels represented by pictograms, o long series of which is qualified by various signs inscribed within a vessel graph, the second (II. 63-84) of sign combinations which represent prepcred foods, including apparent soups, porridges, ond cheeses, and the third (II. 85ff.) of designations of presumable textiles.2'3

The pictograms of vessels in the first section of the list were drawn from an administrative repertory of impressive complexity213 Scribes differentiated vessels for apparent semliquids from ihose for liquids through the addition to the pictogram of a clay jar of a stroke which represented a spout.'1'1 It would appear lhat the first section of the list Vessels' dealt with containers o'r dairy products,2,i presumably oils, some of which were mixed with a variety of condiments and 'he like. Since most of these latter products, represented by the sign DUGb and on inscribed sign which qualified the dairy product in the vessel, were not attested in the administrative texts, it is likely that iheir appearance only in lexical context was a matter of paradigmatic completeness, i.e., that the composers of this list included all products

11988) 147-148'"", ond below, n. 397. 2,0 See ATU 3. 23-25, 103-1 12, 154-159, and the ED III witnesses 5F 68 and CHP 99, nos. 18-20, ond compore ihe forerunner lexl of Hh 3 jMSl 5, pp. 83-142], wilh a similor distribution of designalions of trees and wooden objecls.

211 SeeATU3,29, 120-122, and the ED Ilia witnesses SF 58 (with 'Planls' in i 1 -vi 10,'Birds' invt 11H.J, 67 r NTSS 123 (phato join by A. Westenholz, 05P 2, p. 8982); OIP 99, nos. 23+24, 301, 402 I?). 4 I 7 and 436; on edition of on Ur III wilness of the same list (6N-T 933) is in preparolion by M. Civil. Cp. also the Old Babylonion text M. Civil ondR.D, Biggs, RA 60 (1966) 8-11, CBS 7094 (p. 9, fig, 2] For lines 1 1-20 [lime notations), see R.K. Englund, JESHO 31 (1988) 164-168.

212 See ATU 3, 29-32, 123-134, and the ED lib witnesses Sc 64 ond OIP 99, nos. 4, 7-9. This is the only canonized list ol the Uruk III period found in o witness ojtside cf UruL The Jemdet Nasr lablei MSVO I, 242, contains ihe first 65 enlries of Ihe lisl end proves thai the lexical tradition reached into notthern Bobylonio.

;l- See below, section 6.3.2.

!" See lig. 22:1. The sign designated 0UGo [and its derived correspondent sign KASj was ihe only form used for 'beer' ,or, as has been recently suggested, o drink akrn to kvass); DUGb� , wilhoul a spoul, represented vessels for doity poducls, above all butter oil. The sign Nl in the lirstfine ol the list is of unclear pictographic meaning, but probobty represented a conicol vessel with a lid.

211 5ec Ihe cursory treatment of these products in R.K, Englund, Archaic Dairy Metrology' Iraq 53 [ 19911

^�mc CA',^dJ'!?^'^e'0i> fo' b'e' pe"ods' 'Re3u!o,i"9 DoitY Productivity in ihe Ut 111 Period,' OiNS 64 (1995) 377-429.


Texts (rem the Lois Uiuk Period

Lexical TexJs end Archaic Schools - The Inh


Figure 28: The "Wood List' W 20327,2 (shaded areas teconslruc'ed)


' =0 *�

*=> eO �

^ 6f> �3 rr^>

^ E� �=> rz^> #1�

!=> r=^> •1� IBB

O !^|> •1�

cx ^HH

ir=> rrf^> 't^JI

c$> Bill

' ~ Hill IK •NX!

• ^ r> <^ MD)tX � �


rr�> j|��l� I^e=�

.= rr^ iSS .=(> g

^> llll r^_� i= (S �

Cf> Sill ■it

• - rr^>


�m^I1)� fMli

Figure 29: Compasile copy of the lexical lisl Vessels"

Texts from the lete U.uk Period

Lexical Texts ond Arcfoic Schools - The lists

which might imaginably hove beer stored, but which not necessary were ever really in vessels, at least not in vessels which were the concern of the central households documented in the archaic lexis.

Following the section on vessels and products kept in vessels are five entries describing an apparent foodstuff, possibly soups or stews, ond then fifteen entries representing variously prepared cheeses.214

The regular inclusion of the signs TUG^ and TUG^gunu, pictagrams of tied bolts of cloth, characterizes the third section of this list. Both signs are in series qualified by further signs, for example in the lines 91-98 with the signs Uir Gls, Gl and NEo, which represent the colors 'white, 'black', 'yellow1, and 'red'.

Another well preserved list, the fourth of this group, contains signs and sign combinations which represent such objects made of metal as vessels, knives (the sign GIRj and tools (among others the sign NAGAE, 'bit').217 The witness W 22104,0 demonstrates that after ihe lisl of mela! objecls a list of stone objects in the form of beads, designated by the sign NUNUZnl, was appended. This section contains the earliest cleor attestation of the mineral lapis lazuli, written NUNUZ,, KURo ('beads of the mountain [or 'man-beads'] ?', approx. Sumerian za7.gin3).2,a.

A fifth list of products contains designations of apparent grain measures ond grain products.2"3 Unfortunately, the firsl lines of this lisl are so poorly preserved and ihe Fara period correspondences so irregular that we are unable to make clear sense of their meaning, l! is at least obvious that this part of the lisl offers a series of numerical notations which represent increasingly large measures of grain.220

216 The sign GA'AR0|, corresponds to the ED sign LAK490, and the neo-Sumerian combination go HAR/ UDgunO. Cp. P. Damerowand ft.K. Englund, ATU 2, \52"; R.K. Englund, OrNS 64 (19951 38 j ond 385 (ct least the Ur III correspondence of archaic GA'AR has been shown lo be a dried end mce or less fat-free cheese prized in simple herding societies lor Ms high pro'ein level and low spoilage!

217 See ATU 3, 32-34, 134-141, and the ED II! witnesses SF 8 and 9; OIP 99, r.os. 13-17;MEE3 nas 26+76, S. 73-76 ond 275; CBS 14182 (identified by A. Westenholz), N 5034, A 3670 (identified by M. Civil) ond L. Speleers, R1AA 46; and the Old Akkadian1 text O.E. Gurney, Iraq 31 (19691 3-7 *■ p| I, Ashm. 1931-128. Since, unlike ihe list ol trees and wooden objects, ihis list did not contain a general introduction wilh designations al metals, all objects which were not specifically so qualiliod were probably made ol copper, A series of objecls a re qualified wilh the sign AN, probably denoting an olloy combining copper and another metal (lin'; see H. Waetzoldt, In; L. Cogni [ed.], la lingua di Ebb [Naples 1981] 373-378; improbably 'iron', suggested by A.A. Vajman, "Eisen In Sumer," AfO Berh, 19 [ 1982] 33-37},

211 Cp. ihe Uruk III period (temple?-jinvenlory A. Cavigneaux, BaM 22 (1991) 88 W 24008 8 ii 6-9 21� See ATU 3, 34-35, 142-145, ihe ED Wo witnesses SF 15-17; OIP 99, nos, 5-6; MEE 3, nos. 48 • 49 pp. 165-168, and a syllabic version MEE 3, no. 63, pp. 252-253 (edited by M Civil OrAnl 21 11982) 1-26; cf. id., ZA74 [1984] 161-163), ard the Old Akkadian lexlsMD? 18. 71 on'dMDP27 196.

220 Whether ihe text W 15895,y really belongs here (see ATU 3, 142) is a maltei ol debate. At lean the witness W 21208,8+ seems to offer a dean progression of [i-]5N. followed by NM. The sign KUR qualifying measures rep'esenled by in this text is curious; il might denote a small mound' o* grain al have some olhe- semanlic or phonetic (/kur/ for /gur/ 8) meaning.


5.4.4. Literaluie

An archaic lexical list of 94 lines (see figure 30) contains the earliest work of written literature on ea'lh.221 Ths crchaic composition, derived entirely from 57 witnesses of Uruk III period date and redacted down through the Old Babylonian period, derives its current name 'Tribute List' from additions to the text made in the Fora and the Old Bobylonian periods which describe as 'tribute' (Sumerian gun?) commodities listed in foregoing sections. ™ This text has very little in common wilh other lists, which are characterized by their formal and simple division into entries introduced by the numerical sign N,, by their semantically arranged contents - compositions of animals and animal producls, ol trees and wooden objects, etc. - in contrast to the highly complex Format of ndminislrotive texts consisting for the mosl pari of numerical notations representing commodities of varying size interspersed with hierarchically placed general qualifications. 'Tribute' in fact combines both, with blocks ol quantitative entries consisting of numerical notations and signs or sign combinalions representing animals, animal products and other commodities, preceded and followed by shorter sections cons:slinc ol apparent ideographic notations. These latter entries and all entries of the second half of the text are, like any other lexical list, introduced by the numerical sign N,, ond the many copies of the composition place it firmly in the lexical tradition. Although the text is, despite the existence of redacted copies from later periods, including a version from Old Bobylonian Nippur223, poorly underslood, the internal slruclure, in particular of the first half of the text, lines 1-58 in the archaic version, strongly suggests thai il is a literary composilion. After an introductory two-line section with ideographic notations (disregarding the entry-qualifying numerical sign N,J, the text contains a series of entries (lines 3-26; consisting of numerical notations and ideograms qualifying numbers and measures of Babylonian producls and domestic and wild animals. A following four-line section consists of, again, only ideographic notations, fines 31 -58 repeat line for line the earlier section of numericol notations and ideograms; this passage repetition would reflect o common rhetorical technique in the oral traditions of folklore, very broadly employed in Mesopolamian literature,224 and so be a strong indication lhal Ihe lext is an example of early literature.

221 See ATU 3, 25-29, 112-120, ihe ED Ilia witnesses SF 12; TSS 264 + SF 13; OIP 99, nos. 402 (but possifcJ/containing the beginning of ihe lisl'Plants'), 459 and 465; MEE 3, no. 47, pp. 153-154; MVN 3, 15; on edition ol on Ur III wilnessof the same list (6N-T676) is in preporolion by M. Civil, and cp, the Old Babyloniun version SLT 42 i Ni 1597 and ihe remarks byM. Civil and R.D. Biggs, RA 60 (1966) 11. J.G. Westenbolz plans lo publish forthcoming o commentary of his list.

222 After the lines 30 ond 58 was insetted sa3 nam.gun? sum (only in the Old Babylonian vctsion), after line 72 SO] gun? g\a (Eorly Dynastic) oi so3 gunj.bi nom.gi, (Old Babylonian j. Unfcrlunalety, even these later oc'di';ons remain ambiguous; we might hazard translations giving [i.e., imposing) cs tribute' and 'brought in as tribute', respectively, of Ihe two insertions (compare the latter insertion lo ihe introductory lines 5-7 [sa3 (dEn.lilJ.la3| guj.bi nom.gijof Cylinder A o!Gudea[D.O. Edzord, forthcoming, //Enki and the World Order 445-446, C.A. 3enilo, 'Enki ond Ninmoh' and 'Enki and ihe World Order" UPenn disseitalion, 1969. 113, II. 446-447').

223 See obove, n. 221.

224 The Shulgi hymns, for example, com-non fy contain a long passage wilh a proclomotion of ihe heroic ocls the king would perform, followed by a more or less word for word repetition ol the description of these acts. The Tribute' lisl will have been based on a similai play of events: perhaps o lisl of goods de'monded



Texts From she Late Urul Period

� � s.

- 3s>

• ♦ � ^ • @

if @ •=> �@>

�g � • (> • n

if � • Efco i=> -fo oil*

• �


• n • ffr^T

• to o -fO • (TOTTI fllll


bp ^ • # 1=1

• ik i^rj l.l**8> • # 1


- D >=> ^

be � • o 1^3 1=1

Moreover, the first section of the text con plausibly be interpreted lo be conform with later traditions of literary irtroductior.s.225

and received. The notations II. 27-30 // 55-58 (15,/SAHAR / NAR / UB SA,a / GAR], albeit not understood, must ha>/e included the description of what was to happen wilh the goods listed, lines corresponding to ihese from later periods remain, unfortunately, difficult lo interpret (IS / NAR / GAR / URI IS SA5 [ED] and IS / NAR / GAR / URI.RI IS X [Old Babylonian!). See C Wllda, FSJacobsen. AS 20 (Chicago 1976} 212-13, for a concise description of the 'epic repetition" in Sumerian literature. 'ni The signs Ua in both cases might represent temporalis elements meaning 'When The sign AD, of the archaic version, I. 1, corresponds in the Fara version to ad.gi^. perhaps "counsel(er}'; the moaning of the combination Kl0 SAG is unclear. In '.. 2, the combination AD HAL could refer lo the correspondence piristu from later tradition, meaning 'secret', as J.G. Weslenholz, op.clt., suspects; ABRIG would in this vein refer lo the lemple administrator abarakkum, who was entrusted wilh these 'secrets'. Compare also the Akkadian Gilgomesh epic, tablet XI 9-10: tupleka dGilgamei omol nisirli u pitata io ibni koio ^fcaSolsec mos> recently S.B. Noegel, ASJ 16 11994] 307).

Lexicul Texis and Archnic Schools - Ihe lists

Tubule 1-2

Tribute 3-30 If �

i � If o

• n

"rb'-i 3 I-.'.2

w �

• n

• So

Figure 30:

Composite copy cl the lexical list Tribute' [on pace 100) and internal structure oflinos 1-5B

11 hX'

re # •


taf �



• a

|= g>�


I 01

lexfs from rhe Late Uruk Period

Lraccol Texts and Archaic Schools - The lists

Signs for remple households:


Emblem involved;



t'/US], .' INANNA I"

Moled signs:



Figure 3 1: Signs representing archaic lemple households

Overview of signs representing probable te-npfe househo'ds in texts from orchoic Uruk (all signs hove been rotated 90* clockwise to demonstrate their original pictogrophic position).

The section following line 58 contains rotations with ideograms whose meaning is unclear. Such repetitions of certain sign combinations as Gl, Gl Zlo, Gl Zlo SE., in lines 64-66 or EN SEj, ENo SE3 Zlo in lines 68-69, none of which are attested as personal names or object designations, suggest that the text continues with literary narratives. 'Tribute' thus assumes the role as best candidate fo' o literary piece hidden among the many archaic lexical texts; it remains a matter of speculation why, given Ihe very strong impac' the Surr.erian pantheon exercised on scribal choice of literary and lexical themes of the Fora period, we have no evidence of gods in the archaic lexical tradition, let alone in possible literary compositions. Certainly numerous signs and sign combinations are known in the archaic material that correspond lo later divine names in the Sumerian panlheon, some of which combined with a sign representing a community building to stand forapparenl temple households [see figure 31)™; the discrepancy in treatment of the referents behind these signs might, again, be the result of the vagaries of excavation, but might also point lo a substantially different system, or level, of religious belief.

7ia See K. Szarzynska, 'Some of the oldest cult symbols in orchoic Uruk,' JEOl 30 (19B7-86) 3-? I cp further A. Polken stein, ATU 1, pp. 58-60, E. Heinrich, Schilf und Lehm. Ein �oilrag zur Baugcschichle der Sumerer, Studien zur Bauforschung �jBerlin 1934) 1-13- pits. 1-6; id., Bauwetke in der altsumerischen Bildkuri5t (Wiesbaden 1957) 1 1-38 i"Bauwerke in l�ndlicher Umgebung'); id., Die Tempel und Heiligl�-mer irr. ollen Mesopotamien [..,] (Berlin 1982) 6-7 with figs. 15-18; and, For o detailed current treatment ol an archaic toponym iconography often based on cult symbols, RJ. Matthews, MSVO 7.

5.4.5. Persons

The first of Iwo lists containing designations of persons consists of an apparent mix of personal and professional names."7 An underlying structure or purpose in the composition is not obvious. After a section of 22 lines of which the first contained the sign UKKINa [a vessel for dairy oil, in o transferred meaning referring to an official) and including subsudions possibly based on sign associction (in particular lines 14 22, all with the exception of 19 including the sign ENo538), this list contains o number of entries corresponding to the first entries from the much better attested second list of pe'sonal designations. Cerla i n ly 1 he most popu la r of the I ists f rom ths a rcha ic period is the com pend i u m of desig nations oF professions found in this so-called Lu? A32� list (see figure 32). The 185 tablets and fragments currently known to contain witnesses of this list are rivaled only by the 91 texts with witnesses of the list with designations o'' agricultural products {'Vessels'). The complete composition must have numbered some 140 entries, of which over 130 are preserved in the archaic witnesses now available."0 The numerous witnesses of the list from the Fara period and later demonstrate that the list was a central text in the scholarly tradition of the later third millennium, and although it consisted for the most pari of professional designations no longer current, the sequence of signs was strictly adhered lo. A simple comparison of the first entries of both archaic and ED Ilia versions (figure 33) unde-scores the importance of these compositions in determin ng exoct sign correspondences and in charting po'eographical development in the first half ol the third millennium. Indeed, this list more than others with its nearly complete Uruk IV period forerunner text7'11 hos been a substantial aid in anchoring a number of signs from the earliest writing phase into an otherwise well known, but heretofore poorly documented, paleography of third millennium cuneiform (for some examples see Figure 34"7).

"7 See A1U 3, 19-22, 86-89, and the ED III witnesses SF 59 and MEE 3, no. 50. Related lists are known, see OIP 99, nos. 37. 62-71, MEE 3, no. 43, A. Archi, SEb 4 (1981) 177-204, id., RA 78 (l984| 171-174, F.M. FalesuridTh.J.H. Kr i spi jn, J EO126(1979-80) 39-46; SF 28, 29, 44, 63, F. Pompon to, JAOS 104(1984) 553-55B.

m Cp. Ihejemdet Nasr administrative text MSVO 1, 112, with entries of personal designations in the some sequer-ce os the lines 16ff. of this list.

JW See ATU 3, 14-19, 69-86, end the edition by E. Arcari, lo lisla di profession Early Dynastic IUA" (...) (Nop'es 1982), based on G. Petlinoto, MEE 3 (1981) 3-25 (coxpare her "Sillcbario di Ebb e ED LU A: Rappa-li mlercorrenii Ira le due lisle,'Or Ant 22 j 1 "583 167-178). The r.ame derives from ihe Sumerran designotion for 'man', lu,, which was ihe first element in o lexical list from loler scribal tradition known os Itjj =- so, lu, - (that one) which , The vcrious compendia dealing with ihis topic known to members ol the project Materials lor a Sumerian Dictionary were listed in o presumably chronologicol sequence and named (so lar) lu, A through e.

™ The exact length of lu, A remains uncertain. The colophon ' 1 Nj/" ( ] on the reverse surface of ihe witness W 20517,2a i proves (hot the list contained 60+ lines, and the best preserved tablet W 20266,1 contained from 90-1 CO entries.

ATU 3, pi. 23 (and l), W 9656,h (1; see ATU 5. p. 49). Anollier lout fragments from ihe lu, A list dale lo the Uruk IV period. The five Uruk IV wilnesses do nol give us sufficient material to build o canonical version lor the period, and W 9656,h 1, deviates substantially from the canonical Uruk III period, so that it would still oppcar thai no orchoic lists were completely slondordized before Uruk III. As on exception, the original orientation of ihe signs is kepi in this figure in order to better follow the development from piclogiom lo abstract sign



Texts from the lole Uruk Ptriod

'■- HI ^=40

- go- ,-,=l_ w =1 ilk

-g �

r-,KI W

~ g �3

ij purni €


-I ^ - I C 1' Eh

• • ^g

^2 �=� 'i €

•■=0 t- �&-

'--si ''-eH @

'< • rt-

Hf- [> p(prrn v— ' nH|�

l-^LXI (— X>--~ • m-o


|;>*i�-r-| 1=^)

'-�-ft * Eh- Hn

�s ■=�-0 , =, m

Figure 32: Composite drowing of the crchaic lexical list [j7 A

Despite the fact that it has not been possible, based on the large numbers of administrative documents, to clearly understand the function of the professions represented in these entries still considering the formal structure of the list we can moke some general comments about such designations. H J. Nissen has in various publications, beginning with his contribution to

Figure 33: The first lines of the list Lu? A A comparison of parallel lists from the Icle Uruk (left column) and the Faro (right column) periods established numerous sign correspondences

Sell x;ls - The lisls

3000 BC 260O B.C.



3 Et

A � g S 8



7 W




i 1

II iH-<

n rsm

14 PH> s- >



a preliminary edition of the Lu; lisl,!!3 defended the theory that this list reflects in its internal structure the administrative hierarchy of orchaic Uruk. Accordingly, the firsl entry in the list NAMES DA should represent the highest-ranking official in I he administration of that city. While it is true that a much later lexical text offers a correspondence NAMESDA = Akkadian sorru, 'king',"" ihe designation NAMESDA cannot in the archaic lexfs be shown to have qualified a substantial office.

Nonetheless, ihe first twenty entries of the list include sign combinations on the whole well attested in texts from Uruk. In particular the former Erlenmeyer collection contains extraordinarily well preserved accounts with clear evidence of the high rank enjoyed by those persons or

MSI 12, pp. 4-8. ™ MSI 12, p. 93.



Tcxls from ihe Late Uruk Period

Lexical Texts and Archaic Schools - Learning bookkeeping

Uruk IV ca. 3200 Uruk III CO. 3000 EC III co 2400 oil co. 2003 Bobyicnion co. 1700 MfcJdh .Assyrian co. 1200 co 600 rwoning of Q'choic sign

1 � I ■SC, tffcf SAG >oad"

V N'JNDA "ralic*'

1 €^ to OU/ "dlltXrlifrTHTnl"

<> c AB? co*"

hfl AHN ^ijw'

<@> <jjjjt m K\ loeab/

Figure 34: Paleographic developmenl of selected cuneilorm signs

offices represented in these entries (figure 35J.33S The large meosures of groin represented by the numerical notations entered together wilh the officials tilled NAM2 URU,, GAfo BAD+DIS, KINGAL, GALo TE and GAI_3 SUKKAL, imply that ihese officials belonged to ihe upper ranks of the administrative hierarchy. Several signs, above all NAM, and GALo, are found in combinations in the Lu2 list which suggest thai ihey served to define the specific stalu5 of the persons qualified by the sign combinations.

5.5. Learning bookkecPing

That the evidence from the lexical lists cannot represenl the complete learning of aichaic scribes is obvious, given the thousands of administrative documents (torn atchaic levels in Uruk and other Babylonian sites. The formats, the bookkeeping procedures, and the calculations of these accounts had to be mastered with high precision, and scribes must have had occasion to write exercise seclions and full accounls before they wete certified capable of administering 'state property'; in facl, not a few tablets con be classified as

235 See HJ. Nissen, P. Domerowand R.K. England, Aichaic Bookkeeping, in parliculai pp. 110-115. ond P. Damerow and R.K. Englund, MSVO 3 (Berlin, forthcoming).

school accounts due primarily to the fact that despite the apparenl completeness of their text they lack all indication of an administrative purpose. For instance, the Uruk IV period tablet W 9393,d (see figure 36) was formed, and one of its faces divided into individual cases in full accord with the standard procedure of the time. The author of this text then impressed numerical notations in each ol the lour cases, however without apparent ideographic signs which in standard occounts would designate the object so quontified, the persons or institutions concerned with the objects, ot the administrative function of the objects or organizations. The numerical notations, moreover, make every opoearance of representing simple doodltngs or random associations, beginning wilh three impressions of the rounded end of the small stylus, reore5enlirg "30" in ihe sexagesimal system, followed in two cases by a small round impression set over an oblique impression of a large round stylus, each representing "600", and finally in the fourth case a single large oblique impression, representing '60'. It might be lemp'ing to believe that, despite the entirely irregular sequence of large and 'ound numbers it contains, this and comparable tablets are simply incomplete accounts.134 However, in this cose another tablet found in ihe same locus suggests that we have in W 9393,a small collection of school accounls. Although ihe text W 9393,e (see figure 36} appears at first glance complete and consistent wilh a large number of accounts known from bo'h the Uruk IV and the Uruk III periods, closer inspection shows that il is irregular. The sequence of entries of such commodities lexts is incorrect; a lisl of products beginning wilh o measure of rough-ground groin recorded in the second case of the second column should have assumed the first place in the account, followed by the oil ond textile products of the first column. Furlher, ihe enlire account should be ur.derwrtten by an official acting for a unit of the Uruk administration; instead, the final two ideograms in the third column represent "sheep and goats', on ideographic combination which mokes no sense in this contexl. For ihese reasons, the text is in all likelihood a school account, ihe more likely given the fact that il was found together wilh another very suspicious text.237

The ihree accounts W 20274,27-2923S may similarly have been school texls. Token alone, W 20274,28 might nol seem out of ihe ordinary. The tablet contains two columns divided into cases, each with the exception o; the final cases of bolh columns containing a numerical noloiion followed by ideograms representing products from domestic animals, above all buller oil, cheese and textiles. The final notation of the second column is in the preserved

230 Consider in this connection the lexl W 20223 (R.K. Englund and H J. Nissen, ATU 7, forthcoming) wilh dividing lines drawn on one surface, bjl with no opporenl inscription, and ihe many so-called 'blanks', lablets which were formed in Ihe usual, and lime-consuming way, but which remained uninscribed (see, lor instance, ATU 5, pi. 53, W 9312,ao; pi. 115, W 9656,iq ff. [the lirsl tablet ol this series in fact began and ended wilh a short notation j; photo of W 9656,iv or pi, Vj. The fate of unsuccessful accounts, be they from functioning bookkeeping offices or from the hands ol suffering sludenls, can be seen in a lorgo number of inscribed tabids which were so mashed by o human hand while the clay was still malleable ihai ihe impression ol Ihe lingers are clearly visible on ihe ruined table! surface (for exomple ATU 5, pi. 8/1. W 9655,00, and ,or).

™ Another example is the lexl W 20517.1 (ATU 7, forthcoming). The occounl, found together with three liogmenls of ihe lisl lu; A, consisls of one insciibed column, Ihe coses of which contain notations representing rumbers ol vessels. No ideograms qualify Ihe function of ihe lexl or the peisons Ol institutions involved,

nt See liie copies ond pholos in ATU 2, pi, 27-28.



Texls �rom the Laie Uruk Penod

Lexical Texls and Archaic Schoo's - Learning bookkeeping

MSVO 3,61







MSVO 3,60

MSVO 3. A4

cases the sign Gl, that of the first column a combination of the signs EN KA and lurlher signs. While the reoccurrence of the sign combination ENo KA and the sign Gl in precisely the same location on three tablets found together could be explained as the result ol accounts made up for the some official acting for different persons, the fact that the nurnericol notations of two of the cases of the tablet W 20274,27 were left blonk suggests that the sign repetitions

Figure 35: Administrative occurrences of lexical entries The first two columns of the lexical list lu; A [to the right, reconstructed from numerous fragments of copies) contain entries representing archaic titles ond professions. The variously shaded examp'es on page 103 are wet otlested in administrative contexl. in the three texts here concerned with the disfribul on of substantial measures a* grain.

t> m

are to the contrary lo be understood as simple voriations of o given account template and thai alt three are copying exercises.230

Two other school accounts may be cited as particularly involved ol the level of bookkeeping procedures. The firsl, MSVO 3, 2,wowill be dealt with below, section 6.3.4 (and see figure 77). The fact again that no ideograms in this text iden'ify ils purpose or ihe persons involved is evidence lhat ihe text served in the accounting office to record both accounting formats and important conversion values in dealing with grain products. The second text,

"he reverse loce of W 10416,a (ATU 7, forthcoming; the tablet is currenlfy on display in the Museum fiir Vor- und Fruhgeschichle, Berlin-ChorloHenburg) rrighl represent a copy ol the inscription on its obverse face. It is impossible to say whether the known account duplicates W 20274,33-89 [see R.K. Enclund, BSA 8 j 1995] 41-42. and figure 57 below) are lo be ascribed lo bookkeeping procedures or to the copying >n schools of compfere accounts. Theie are numerous examples known Irom later pericds in Mesopotamia of account duplicates, and the purpose of such copies in an administrative atmosphere of distrust seems obvious, yet since we know that occoun's formed a normol pott of the school curriculum, these loo sliould be reconsidered as lo whether dup'icates really assumed the some function as, for example, copies retained of letters. '* The Utuk III period account from ihe antiquities markel is lo be provenienced lo Uruk or Jemdel Nasi. See obove, n. 51.



Texts [torn the Late Uruk Period

Figure 36: Archaic accounting exercises

W 19408,76M1 (below. Figure 85), represents a school exercise From ihe Uruk IV period. The poorly preserved tablet contains only numerical signs together with horizontal or vertical strokes, known to represent 'widths' and lengths' of measured fields.7A? The Four entries in two columns of both obverse and reverse oF the text contain notations of widths and lengths with but slight variation. The average of the two 'length' measures in the first column of each side (l200 ninda, ca. 7.2 km) multiplied by the average of the two 'width measu-es in the following column (900 ninda, ca. 5.4 km) results in an unrealistically large surlace area of 10sar2, or approximately 39 km2. The documentation oF two equally large fields must have resulted From taking an original artificial surface of 10 sar2 and manipulating the side measures which would define such an area.243 No other known texts from the Uruk IV period present such clear evidence of a playful use oF the new melhod of accounting.

741 The importance of this text was first recognized by P. Damercw during a collation trip we undertook jointly to Heidelberg in 1986 in preparation cf our Chopter 3 of the volume ATU 2 [see there p 155") li hos since been dealt with by us in Archaic Bookkeeping, 55 and 58, fig. 50.

24? The measure quantified in these notations with the sexagesimal counting system was itself in loiei cuneiform denoted with the sign GAR, with the reading 'nindo(n), representing a measure ol approximately 6 m The use of this sign with this meaning is not known in the archaic text corpus, yet is should be rn-npmberod that the sign may ilself have merely been a phonetic indicator of the reading ol the sign DU in this metrologicol context. The sign combination GAR.DU known from the Faro period on is thus probably lo be read ",r"IlJninda(n)>.

243 This procedure is hardly likely to have been a coincidence. Furthe'more, ihe lorgesi held otherwise attested in comparable texts from the Uruk IV period measures somewhat more that 20 bur, |W 20044 29 with obv. i 1-3: 6NM / 4N„ 6N, N„ / 2N,„ NM, leading to a calculation ((360 < 2(16) -';>] .' f 20 - 36,360 ia r, or 20[burj) 3.6(iku)[. The calculations evident in W 19408,76 demonn-a|c, by the way, that Ihe ancient scribe very well knew and used the later melhod ol rnulriplying the arithmetical means of the lengths of opposite sides of surfaces lo derive an area measure

6. Admin strative systems

Despile the grave difficulties in deciphering ihe linguistic contents of the archaic texts, their numbers and consistent structure make them powerfully informative sources of socio-economical history. Both lexical lists and administrative accounts are in this regard important, since semantic categories sgnaled in the lexical material can be examined against the backdrop of the use of signs and sign combinations in administrative texts, whereas on the olher hand signs and sign combinations found in similar contexts in the administrative texts can be tested against corresponding entries from lexical lists.

6.1 NUMEBICAl sign svstfms

Few Assyriologists like numbers. The treatment of early cuneiform texts has, as a result of a clear disregard lor the importance of numerical notations and structures in accounts making up (ul y 90% of all clay tablets From this period, often been less than professional. Fortunately, the excavation and publication oF the masses of administrate documents from the Ur III period, with iheir very involved bookkeeping formats and often impressively complex and precise calculations, have included some notable exceptions to an otherwise condescending approach of editors of administrative texts to the metro-malhemoticol basis of iheir material; the level of understanding of the accounting Sumerian recorded in those archives, of prosopography and of the administrative structures of which the accounts were evidence was as a consequence such that text analyses could be and were very successful. An initial ordering af the wiiften material excavated in archaic levels in Mesopotamia would not have been possible without reference to cuneiform from later periods, since onafyses ot proto-cuneiform signs proved lhat they were indeed linear precursors of abstracted cuneiform signs, and these latter signs were on the whole well understood. With this ordering, and since with few exceptions no sign sequences or even clusters seemed to correspond lo sequences of signs which in later texts represented a spoken Sumerian, the conlribution of early Assyriologisls to ihe decipherment of proto-cuneiform ended, it may surprise some lhat ihe most important recent advances in the decipherment of the prolo-cuneilorm documents have been mode by and in collaboration with malhemalicians with no fcmal training in Assyriology, J. Friberg and P. Damerow. But remembering that ihe great majority of archaic texts are administrative records of the collection and distribution of grain, inventories oF dairy Fats stored in jars of specific sizes, and so on, thai is, documents above all made lo record in time quantifiable objects, il is reasonable lo expeel that such documents would contoin, no less than the accounts of currenl institutions, evidence of mathematical procedures used in the archaic period and thot they would thus contain the seeds of the mathematical thinking which developed during the third millennium. Scholars acquainted with cccounling methods represented in documents from the third millennium were little impressed by the first archaic texts from excavations in southern Mesopotamia. With few exceptions, numerical signs corresponded both in form and in

1 10


lexis from the late Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Numerical sign systems

apparent numerical meaning to deciphered signs From later lexis. These correspondences wete seen in

1) the form of signs impressed with styluses of different diameters. The numericol sign system best documented in the third millennium, the sexagesimal system (see figure 411. consisted of signs made by impressing the ends of two round styluses in'o the surface of clay tablets, either perpendicular to the surface, thus resulting in round impressions, or at an angle to the surface ranging from co. 45' to 30'. The oblique impression of the smaller ol ihe two styluses represented the basic unit ' 1'; the numerals ?-9 were inscribed by simply repeating the number of impressions representing " 1". A round impression made with the same stylus represented the bundling unit '10", and the units 20-50 weie in Ihe same way written by simply repealing the impressions representing '10'. The next step "60' was represented by an oblique impression of the larger of ihe two styluses, ilself repeated up lo 9 times to represent ihe number "54C'. The sign for "600" combined an oblique impression of the large stylus ("60") and a perpendicular imp-ession of the small stylus ("10"). This latter sign could be repealed up to five limes to tepiesent "3000', and ihe sexagesimal bundling unit '3600 , finally, was represented by o round impression of the large stylus. Exact correspondences lo the graphic forms of (hese signs were located in the archaic texts; moreover, correspondences were seen in

2 the consistent adherence to the sequence of numerical signs employed in a coherent notation, A sexagesimal notation representing, for example, 1382 distinct units, could in principle be written by inscribing two "600" signs, 3 '60" signs and two T signs in any order, since in ihe sexagesimal system each of these signs was distinct and possessed a specific numerical meaning. An analogous situation would be a means of accounting using physical counters, for example cloy balls, specific chotacterislics of which - size, form, color, (or instance - served lo represent ihe vorious bundling units of a numerical system. The unambiguous correspondence to specific members of a numerical system of such counters kept in a feather pouch would have to oe obvious to all persons using this system. But even in this situation, when the bolls were removed fiom the pouch ihe controller will doubtless have placed like counters together, both mentally and physically. Further, the meager evidence from impressions mode on clay bullae from Susa""1 not unexpectedly suggests thai these groups of like counters were also understood as forming a sequence beginning with forms of high to those of low numetical order. Whether ihe physical reality, that is, thai in all numericol notot ons beginning in ihe Late Uruk period and carrying on through the third millennium, the curvilinear, then the cuneilotm signs representing 'upper case' members oF numerical systems were impressed above those representing 'lower case members, reflects a practice of using calculating boaids or boxes so divided that counters of larger quantities were placed above those of smaller quanlilies, is of course not certain, but would be a reasonable assumption/'" Archaic

See above, section 3.

2ii The Chinese obocus is a more modern example ol ihe physical reptesentalion of higher and lower quantities. Tne referent of the proto-cuneiform sign SANGA may be a tallying howd, wiih llnee co-nparimnnls in on upper, and ihree in o lower register, and to ihe lower lelt a box lo slam coimiw,

scribes were very consistent in inscribing such nolalions, holding in the example ciled above to a system-specific sign sequence 2* "600" -+ 3� "60" + 2* "1". This numerical 'syntax' reflected the same sign sequence known from later texts. The correspondence of arclitiic numerical signs to signs known from later third millennium accounts lo be sexagesimal, finally, was seen and mathematically proven in 3j summations in aichuic accounts. Account format dictated thai totals were inscribed on the reverse face of a text, facilitating the isolation of such summations for study. The few instances in the earliest published archa;c texts, (rem the antiquities markel ond from Jemdel Nasr, ol sexagesimal summalions, or at least summations of a bisexagesimal system which bore ihe same numerical structure in Ihe signs representing "I', "10' and '60', were sufficient to demonstrate the respective values of the numerical signs attested, and the pool of these summations available fcr a demonstration of the existence of □ sexagesimal system in ihe archaic lexis was substantially increased with excavation and publication ol lexis from archaic levels of Uruk, Possiby influenced by the attempts of V. Scheil lo integrate into a 'unified decimal system' all numerical notalions found in the accounting tablets excavated in orchaic levels of Elamite Susa'*, S, langdon in his publication of the proto-cuneiform texts Irom Jemdet Nasr believed the texts clearly demonstrated Ihe existence in archaic Mesopotamia ol not only the sexagesimal system of counting and a complex melrological system used in notalions of area measures, but a'so a decimal-bosed system used lo ouolify grain measures.''17 The texts availcble to Langdon offered sufficient evidence to prove, orot leas' offered no evidence to disprove, a numerical and semantic correspondence between ihe former two numerical systems and those systems known from later periods lo qualify discrete objects ond surface measures, respeclively. However, the same text archive demonslrated that in fact no decimoi structure underlay the melrological grain capacity system.

This was obvious enough ond partially understood by Langdon, and in 1937 well documented by Falkenstein (see below) insofar as the numerical signs were concerned which represented measures smaller than the basic unit N, (t ), and those which on the other hand represented a measure greater than thai recorded with the sign N„ (•), presumed by Langdon and Scheil to have been a measure 100 limes as large as that of ihe basic unit. The former units corresponded first with an oblique impression of the rounded end of a large stylus (—, Nm] to a measure one-fifth the size of the basic unit, then wilh more complex signs to a sequence of deceasing fractions '/„ of this measure, whereby V was determined by the number ol oblique impressions made by the rounded end of a ihin stylus around a central poinl in a specific sign. Thus'-'/, N]0, sv - '/, Nw, and so on. The lirsl sign of the latter units, N31, was shown lo stand foi a measure three limes as forge as that represented by the sign NJS, and laiger measures were represented using the next higher bundling sign in the sexagesimal system, N„.

7�* See P. Damerow and R.K. Englund, Tepe Yohya. pp. 18-19.

"J longdon discussed in OECT 7, 63, Ihe ordinary" syslem believed by him lo be decimal in structure. He cited, however, iho addition 20 ' 20 ■> 20 on the obverse lace ol the lexl 108 [now - MSVO 1, 96).



Texts (rem Ihe Late Uruk Period

Administrative Syster-is - Numerical sign systems

W 20676,2 W15B07.cJl Figure 37: Dairy oil and barley accounts

The lexl on Ihe leficontains on appoienl addition of 7Ni i 5Nt - Ni4 2Ni (disregarding Ihe Nu in Ihe titsi enlry and the total), resulting in the equation 10N| - N14. A substitution of ihis value in the account Id the -ight would be false, since there 12N| - 2Nu, or 6N1 r-. M^.This laller relationship remained hiddrtn from editors of archaic texts for 50 yeors, until the Swedish mathematician J, Friberg uncovered i while exa-mining grain accounts from the Jemcet Nasr period.

The decimal structure of the archaic grain capacity system was consequently believed by Langdon to be restricted to the sequence of the three signs NJ5 (•;, N,„ (•) and N, (. ) jn the relationship

Ni5= IOxNu,NM- ION,. This, as it turned out, fallacious identification formed the basis of all subsequent Assyriologicol publications of grain accounts - certainly the large majority of oil archaic texts - until the work of J. Friberg was published in the late 1970s. The Swedish mathematician fitsl became interested in Babylonian texts when he read the quadratic equation loble Plimpton 322 (MCT, text A] during a 1973-74 sabbatical in Milwaukee, and went on lo reod O. Neugebauer's MKT in Madison. Back in G�teborg, Friberg returned sporadically lo the question of early numbers, and in preparing for a Series of leekife^ on cuneiform mafhernofics


Bl t

combinarion o( uni"s


:::: itimti

::::in tit ti

•••• ••••



••••• . •••••�I


Figure 38: Archaic replacement rules for symbols representing grain measures A consolidation of all like measures is followed by ihe replacement of successive bundling units by a symbol representing the next highc unit according to the


at Chalmers Technical University he noticed that the traditional interpretation of the archaic grain capacity system, attested in a number of seemingly straightforward calculations in accounts from the Jemdet Nasi period found in scattered publications, was incorrect.2"8 His

7,8 See in porlicubi his cR3M I, pp. 7-10, and II, pp. 19-27, lo ihe lexts BIN 8, 3 and 5.


Texts from ihe late Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Numericol sign systems

Figure 39: Detetminng numerical sign sequences

The numerical sign sequences contained in archaic texts such ai lire Uiot IVp"n-*l *r r Prtml-. W '/<F\AAt \{t and 202 1 4, 1 above were important indications oi Tha structure or iho IMS|jn'.tivf. nifw-ii' <i *,i'):i systems th* first example alone makes likely the otherwise known giain capacity system v-ties M.. I J.... N14 . Ig. . Nso > Nj4 > N28 (combining the notations af the obverse and the reverse ta-,'~... ll*- trl rf.i* i)��i •.ysvin series N53 > Nu > N?j.

strongest piece of evidence supporting o new interpretation o! lite dcttrt wa:. rtti nppcstonl grain account ediled by A. Falkenstein in 1937/'"' In a found well known in [icirliaihr horn accounts in thejemdet Nasr archive, the lexl records disc.rrrl'i nirinbrtrr. of rjirun products together witli the amounts of variously qualified grains neorlorl lor limit |MorliK:lir>ri, The products ihemselves could be designalea with numerical signs derived liom lh" iw-imlr ,r)lf-ci| system employed to quantify grain capacity units.

For inslance, ihe firsl line contains ihe notalions lN,a IN,,, ; '7M , wfiir I- < r.ti \v< litm-Jof,^ "60 of the (grain ralions containing) — (of grain); (groin mvolvr.-rl:, 7 � nl t|imuirj IKnl<-y^ This calculation contradicts the assumed numerical relationship ION 11-1,,, Mm.. <r, wo:, well known the measure represenled by ihe sign N„ was '/..ol llwil I'-pi'-vintr-d by N,, ;,n that 60 * '/s = 12 and nol 20, as 2N,„ would imply, Instead of t.-lyi-i;- on rDinpUa|.;cj

'� OIZ 40 (1937) 410 no. 6 (now - MSVO 4, 66, and v- Inlaw. Ii<| /',

Figure 40: W 20568

Oovcrsc ond reverse ol this account contain notations lepicsenling very large numbeis of the product SUj • DJf?b. of unclear meaning [the sign DURb might ce-nole a coil o! rope, in accaid wilh lotei meaning] The oppaient latal in tile left coturnn of the reverse represenled ol lea si 199,200 units counted wilh the s?xacesmxal system.

technological explonotions to dispense wilh ihis contradiction,''" Friborg tested in further calculations in this one othe' texts the seemingly obvious hypothesis that Nla was not equal to ION,, but rathet to 6N,. This assumed value ol N„ proved lo be correct in all archaic grain notations (figure 37 demonstrates the use of summations to clarify the relationship between N,. and N, in the two sys'erns in Uruk texls, ligure 38 ihe bundling steps in a mote complex gram rzalfjublion horn Jemdel Nosri. Tins arithmetical ambiguity, namely, that identical signs can occur in difletenl systems with different riumericol meanings, is the most unusual characteristic ol the enchaic numerical systems.

Some live years altei (-libera, publis'ied the I tsl try two volumes rfeoling will the results of his research on aichoic texts. P. Dameiow and I began a cooperative effort lo order and deiine the numerical systems attested in ihe archaic texts from Uruk/"' Although in number this grojp ol texts wos substantially latgei than all other archaic texls together, the poor slate of preservation ol the Uruk texts was such that the numerical notations they contained could

?'" A foH-'>ri:J..-ii., <}!/ 40:1937: 404.405: II we do tho calculation In obverse i 1, for which the fraction

is known, w •.....that 2') unit', nl tircim icsuli in only 60 bread leaves each with 1 , of the basic unil and

ik>i, rr. ihe- rnli ii|(itn,>i v/ifliltl l.tjil us lo r:i|>-cl, 100 laovus. This difficulty is immediately solved if we irlal.-Ihe skik<nri# m i In k>■■•,-■•,ol;' . ;of the basic unit] not to grain, but lo flour, and then reckon with a ii-ilurnl Vr.: il.n.i,, i,irnii rtnllinr) A low of 40", during milling of the gram is well wilhin reasonable limit*..

I'lilJi-.h.-l in AHI 7. |>)> 117166 V-i- now lor o thcoelicol considotalion of our results P. Damerow, Alr.ii.i' lun r.r,d t.'..(a,■■..'iiir.tiiM.. I r.viys on llv Culliirol Cvolution of Think™ iDoiclrecht Boston londori

1 la


Texls fram ihe Lofe Uruk Period

Administrate Systems - Numerical sign systems

Sexaguymol System S N� l^J Na Ns, Nn N, N,

'30,000- -3.OC0' •oOff W 10- T 'Vj-


Sexogesimd System S' N)s N„ N>

■oo" 10- •!•

Bisoxagesimat System 8 N.„ Nu Nj, Nu Nh Ni N,

'l.ICO- '^O' off try T '''2

S'isextjges mot System fi* Nw Nj, Nj, N„ N't,

s •-- X ^- Bt> •— ^

1,300" *I20" off "10"

GANj System

Njo Nu N�

• • .JO. 1�


EN iiyslwn

Nu N, N,

- rr> j_ s

Jfii -


X U4 System

. |0 U„xN, U1(N„ U.,N,



N, / N,„

"•si?' ni, E


I doy

SysNnm mvtA tt> town* most disci*'** oln-Kb. ftx example, Ku-maniu'KJ animals, dairy and MP*hlf? produdi. IjsK. wooden n"rfj irorvs irnplerncrli^Oftd con-

S/V**m dorvod from the �=ko-pcs'ir-o' system, uiod to couni c^Xrir ob|�ii, Ich cjiampl*-. dead gnimoli from tarris orxj |0�j o* �f*3>n types ol liquids

Syťt?1* used toccx/ni discrete groin pindlKls, criM-S*:, ard Fosh fish, nil creels nol**d wim ihis system appear to Wony lo o fohcning system

System dp'twd Itotn Irre bisewo-gesimcr! system, us^d 1o counf ro'ions c' on unrIryji no!ure. posvbly a h/pe ol furi

Sutern iis^-d lo nufE arpg rrirviiufOi

Iprn atnilr^j only ,n lh? > n/ unitod wilri uncertain uixjlmolo'i. poVj'bfy us^d la noto vj^ighl measures

Syi'<-m t/yd ro noi-- lime and calendar unils [rwcl^m DDday monlhs lo o yrurt

Figure 41: Numerical systems used in archaic texts

often only be underelood in the light of an analysis oF the belter preserved accounts from Jemdel Ncisr and elsewhere. Thus the work of Friberg on the grain oopocity system, and that of the Russian scholar A.A. Vajman"2 on the two numerical systems used lo qualify discrete objects, namely, the sexagesimal and the so-called bisexogesimal systems, built a welcome starting point for our work on the Uruk material.

We were in ihis effort able lo identify the use in the archaic petiod ol no less than five basic numerical systems, from which a number of systems were derived Ihrough the addition lo numerical notations of qualifying strokes and dots impressed with the stylus used lo inscribe

S3! See ■protosumerischeMass-undZahisysleme,' BoAA2011 D89| 114-120(GermanIranslalionol Vojrnani Russian article published in Trudy XIII Meidunarod. Kongr. po Islorii nouki [ 1974 ] lll-IV, 6-11), and ihe comments of P. Damerow ond R.K. Englund, 'Bemerkungen zu den vorongehenden AulsoUcn von A.A. Vajman unter Berucksichh'gung der 1987 erschienenen Zeichenlisle ATU 2," BcM 20, 133-138.

■ IS


Syirem usfld ro r�'e capacity meosurvs cl g'oi^. m parricufor barley, iheimdl units o'so used to devgrate biM�ogesima1ry ;cx-nted ce-reor pfoduds

Syslem used Ito na^ capaci'y neawrescf a cr'toin qain, pfobobly oftimiroK-d bar'ey .rn^hl usee ifi bowing bw

Sysleti uied to

Crr-on q> T ■ r,. Mobcbly vůri-di�s lines of em-

Syslem uifxi Ilj note copoiity TWOSjrfi of U'aii, pfobot>r� 'tioitey yi�ols used to mote Cerlam yiuin prorjucf;

Sysfem uspd \o nolo capacity Tieoiurei dt cprkrin produce, n pellicula1 u milk prcdmcl, probabry dairy-


.to y

SE Syuem 5



Šf SyiWnŠ

#L -10 *- J- -

� ^> igt \ �

SE System S'

N„ Nj! Mrs H, N4i

-,0- f> -i- # Ja-�-*- e.� c

EE System 5*

Mb •S5

DUGt System N.^UGt NlSIIAj,

I->C(> -iu-l=>>




\ NM-

Syslent uM*d to rav* capacity fnpanu-ťfs of c^ilain p'oducFs, probobty dairy- IqI�

DUGC System N|.DUGr Ni.KU^ N?

Mola'ioncl cc�eipondences of ncholc numeitcol jigtii, occordirg to ihe sign list ATU 2

N, 1 N, m Nu 4- Nj, N„ # N})

N, fc=- Nio B N,F N.1� N.� ■ ■ ■■■ ■ # Mm

N, 1 v N-, i N� N„@ Mu # Nj,

N, * - Nil B Njo N� IM„^ Nil N� N� e

N.. 1 KV(J N„ �- N„ ijjl nm ;> Njr —

N. Nl4 • N„ i* Nu 13* N,, N� # N� i

N, >**y Nu • N,i it N� |�| N�0 Nu = Nsi 2 N�

N, 77 Ni6-�- S N„ • ■-t�

1 19


Texls from the lole Uuk Period

ideograms. The formal graphic structure of the systems (see figures 39-40! and the consistency in the use of four of these systems in qualifying objects from specific semantic fields could then be exploited to isolate very short or only partially preserved notations in the fragmentary Uruk tablets which could be used in a statistical analysis of sign sequence prooabilities. In many cases, the likelihood that the numerical sign sequences known from clear notations and summations in preserved texts did not apply to the domaged Uiuk texts could be dismissed. In all others, few contradictions to the complete systems as documented above all in the Jemdet Nasr texts could be found.

The numerical systems employed in the accounts of the orchaic period thus include the sexagesimal253 or the bisexcgesimol25" system, ihe grain jSE! capacity system, the area (GANj, 'field') system and the still unclear EN system (based on the use of the sign EN with a numerical sign characteristic of the system. N,; see figure 411. Derived systems with identical arithmetical structures, but diverging graphic representations as well as helds of application, complemented the basic systems. Further numerica sign syslems, for example a system used in timekeeping notations and one used in qualifying liquid treasures, combined both numerical and ideographic signs to emphasize special metrologiccl relationships. Despite difficulties in delineating the rules behind the choice of specific numerical systems to quality different objects, the fact that we now understand their foimal fields ol application has proven of some importance in our research on archaic administration. The sexagesimal and bisexagesimal syslems as well as their derivafves were used lor discrete, lhat is, countable objects. Scribes employed a strict differentiation of the systems; all animals and humans, animal products, dried fish, fruits, tools, stones, and pots were qualified with the sexagesimal, whereas all grain products, cheeses and, apparency, fresh fish, were qualified with the bisexagesimal system. These latter products are believed to derive from an archoic rationing system. Systems derived (ram ihese two were used for quite specific contexts. The S' system as o derivative of the sexagesimal system was apparently used exclusively either for the recording of slaughtered or perished cattle of a current accounting year or for denoting a sub-unit in a metrobgical system used to qualify amounts of dairy oil; the B' system as derivative of the bisexagesimal system might have qualified a certain type of fish product. The �E system and its various derivatives qualified exclusively capacity measures ol cereals, whereby each system most probably was used in connection with a specific type of grain -botanical in the case of S" representing emmet, or processed in the cose o"' S' for mall, and S* for crushed barley. The GANj system was used to record feld measures.

?53 The rationale behind ihe sexagesimal system has been widely discussed, unloilunately without issue The name is somelhing ol a misnomer, since the system really consists of bundling s'eps ol 10 end 6, leading to Vaiman's unsuccessful allempf (see the article cited in ihe previous rtate) to introduce ll'e termno'ogy 'ten-six counting system1' into ihe discussion. The divisibility by thirty and ihe lact that in the archaic period an ideal mcnth of thirty days was employed in administration suggests the possibility lhat the sexagesimal system was lied lo time calculations.

75a A.A. Vujman was the first lo differentiate between Ihe sexagesimal and bisexagesimal syslems, see the article cited above. He referred to a 'mocified ten-six cognling system"; we hove chosen the term bisexagesimal' lo make more explicit the use of a new sign ~, consisting ol two signs representing 60' in the sexagesimal system sel back to bock and roto'ed 90 degrees.

Admi'iislrctivc Systems - Timekeeping

s\ one s\ rwo years

yeai ^-.J elc up fcj iS>J

/A rmp /f\ rwomonlht �Fng) eighteen

y monlh VI/ etc up to v!^*5 months

one /\— days /^uB^S till' one roonlh oi�d

Figure 42: Vopon's timekeeping system



�.2 TmFkeeping

A glance at your wristwalch transports you back five ihousand years. The division of the hour into 60 minules [medieval Latin: (pars) minuta prima, "smallest part of the first order"), of the minute into 60 seconds ((pars) minula secunda, "smallest part of ihe second order'), reflects the sexagesimal sys'em of counting well developed at the incepTon of writing in Uruk toward the end of the dlh millennium B.C. This counting system, used much later by Babylonian astronomers in very involved lime/dislonce measuring calculations, fascinated classical thinkers, and was carried into ihe modern system of lime divisions first quantified and standardized by medieval clock builders.

The sexagesimal system was used in the orchaic period lo counl discrete objects (above, section 6.1), end it may turn out to be on inleresling coincidence lhat ihis method of counting was a producl of a prelilerale device used to reckon lime - nol minutes and seconds, but months and days. For Ihe unevenness of a 29 '/?-day lunar cycle was probably corrected well before ihe Uruk III period, when calculations in accounts con be shown to be based on a 30-day morth, and a 360-doy year (ligure .41. U„ system).

The fttsl Assyiiobgist lo devote serious attention to the formal make-up of archaic time notations was A.A. Vajman,''" who, based on later third rr.ilennium tradition and or-, a meosuie of intuition, reconstructed the system ol time notation for the Uruk period depicted in figure 42.

:!i No serious attempt was made by live first editors ol the archaic corpora fram Jemdet Nasr and Uruk to anolyze the archaic lime notations, although both S. Longdon and A. Folkenslein were in agreemenl thai lime divisions were expressed by use of the sign U,,, 'doy(lighl,l'. langdon (commentary in OECT 7 lo the sign nos. 172-177), confusing NH (-) and N3ft) |—) as a aivision of N in gra-n notations, believed ihol ihe notalions o; Ihe form L1„' nN^ were daily grain rotions, ihe notations U4*nN, possibly day notations; finally, lo nN5/> U„ he remarked ihot a 'comparison of (these signs) with Ihe Sorgonic form REC 236 makes Ihe identification [with i I -month) certain'. Falkemtein indicated in ATU 1, p.48, his belief that the graph N,,;i U„ represented one day . R. lobal incorporated these errors irlo his signlistManuel d'epigraphie akkadienne,

�<- See A.A Vajman, AclAnlH 22(1974) 19-20; id, BoM 20 (1989) 114-1 20. Vajmon erroneously refers loanolalioniU,-Nl)iN)J.4Ni,inlheiexiOECT7, no 84(nowMSVO I, 121, fig, 43 here), which cccoiding lo collotion and caniextuo! calculation must be read (U^-N^+S'N..



Texts from Ihe Lute Uiuk Period

Adminisirative Systems - Timekeeping

The format characteristics of this system based on the sign U,, (considering the sign's later semantic range from dayflighl) to white to sunjgodl, generally assumed to hove been the representation of the sun rising among the mountains east ol Mesopotamia;, with horizontal strokes (nN57; to the left of U4 to count years, very likely sexagesimal number signs impressed with the rounded end of the stylus within the sign to count months, and finally likely sexagesimal number signs turned 90� to the right and impressed to the right of the sign to count days."'

6.2.1. Cardinal time notations

The structure of the archaic timekeeping system described here has now been proven through analysis of grain calculations which turned out to have been based on units of time (figure 43). Once the relationship between the signs N, and N.,, of the grain capocify system had been established, the first step in the mathematical determination of the timekeeping system was possible, namely, the decipherment of the numerical meaning ol the sign TARa. This sign was shown to represent the addition of '/i0 to a given quantity in grain notations.''''8 Thus the text MSVO 1,121 (figure 43, top), can be reconstructed in the following way:

obv. i lal [U>NH.8NB lNJ7T]laGlR3gt/nu

a2 [U4+]NM.4N8 2N57

a3 [U,+]3Na 31%

lb {U,xN,)+5NB

lc 3N12T4WlNMSE0

Id N3QoN21N31)TAR0


2o [ ] MAMESDA

JB days' (grain meosures) for the

first [period, from?)] PN, 14 [days': (grain measures; lor the


3 [days ] (grain measures) for the third,

[altogether) one month and 5 days, (makes) 35 N„ ol grain,

'/„: 3 '/,(!?) N„ [for ?) U-uk.

[...J For the NAMESDA,

257 SeeATU2, 145-146, and my 'Administrative Timekeeping in AncientMesopolomio,"JESHO 31 (1988) 121-185. We have now notations for up to I0NJ7+U4 (10[lh] year(s ? - cardinal and ordinal usoges of these lime notolions were not g'ophicolly differentiated]; W 14731 , in JESHO 31.139), up lo 1V3NU.7N, (37 months ; MSVO 3, 29, see below, fig. 69) and up lo UY>2NU (20 days■ W 20274,90, in JESHO 31, 139). few mixed notations of the type [u> xN,)r{yN,„.)zN, for x 'months" and (lOy+)z "days' are known, and none of the type (xN57-(Ua�yN|)| lor x years" and y "months"; instead, numerical notolions representing up lo 37 months were inscribed within ihe sign Urt (the only candidate for a mixed "year/month" notation known to me is the difficult 3MV�U4 SU o[ i [N, ... in MSVO 1, 90, discussed below, section 6.3.4).

258 The sign, in ATU 2 under TAR (and see here fig. 43 lo MSVO 1, 121), could in fad bo the cuneiform character corresponding to the sign N2., both - '/l0 of N, in grain notations (see here fig. 43 lo MSVO 1, 122). The meaning ol this additional measuie remains obscure, but might be related lo Ihe imposition of a tribe [Sumerian za3.10 and igi, 10.gal3, but also sog in the phrase sag bar iga, lor which see K.R. Veenhof, FS Birot {Paris 1985] 294-297; see Ft.K. Engluhd, JESHO 31 (19BB| 151.152?'] by temples and other administrative units in later Mesopalamian tradition.

MSVO 1,12?

Figure 43: Key texts lor ihe understanding of ihe archaic system of timekeeping The two texts obov�.\ both tram Jemdet Nosr, were insllumen'o! in deciphering the s'ructure of the archoic division cl the year into 1 2 month; ol 30 dcrys eoch. Once it was known that ir certain contexts groin measures w;re increased Ijy o lenlh, such incwses qualilied wilh Ihe sign TAR,, the calculations behind a num-ber of in* could h* dneiphwid MSVO 1, 121, demonstrated in this way thai Ihe odmlnistralrve month consisted ol 30 days, MSVO 1, 127, thai ihe yeoi consisted of 360 days and thus 12 months



Texls from the late Urulc Pwiod

Adminislraltve Systems - Timekeeping




3a N14 N, UDUo PAPc.BUo.NAM2 3bl 4N, UDUoU4x2N,

3b2 7N, UDU U4*3N,

N, of grain, C/10 is ?) NM 1 I sheep (for ?) PN, (comprised of] 4 sheep (for ?) Iwo months

and 7 sheep (for ?} 3 morths.

It seems that according to the lirsl case of the account the person designated Tl GIRjCjunu is responsible for the distribution of grain over a span of 18 + 14 + 3 = 35 days, represented by the mixed notation (UixN])+.5N6.M* These 35 days are translated into a corresponding measure of grain at NM (= '/,„ N() per day for a total of 3N, 2N,5<> NM , or 35 N?4 of grain. To this an amount equal to '/,„ was added,"0 qualified by the sign TAR . That a grain measure corresponding to the numerical sign NM was really the basis for this and other time/grain calculations,261 and that the addition of '/]0 was an implicit operation in consolidated accounts, can be demonstrated in the following text MSVO 1, 122. This text records in the second case of its obverse surface a lime notation 3NS7-Ufl equivalent to three years, followed by a grain notation corresponding to 1188 N3J.

960 N2J grain units from the

(preceding) account (?), 3 years at N;s (per day) (Irom the

official ?) EN PA, (totoling) 1 188 N.4 grain units.

(Responsible*:; PAo G\R,gunu. (Altogether:) 2146 N,4 units of




N4S6N,4 DUB SE0 N„ 3N„+U4 EN PA„

obv. i i rev. i

N,i9Nli4N, 4�NU

rPAoGIR3gi/r7�"' Nu 5N144N,4N:�o ŠEo PAo GIR^un�


grain, (responsible'':) PAGIR^unt?

The now straightforward conversion in this account of the time into a grain notation is

"/,„ - (3 x 360 * N,4 -) 1080 N?4 = 1188 NM, or: N4J9N,4 4N, 4N]e>1 to which the measure noted in the first cose is added for the total on the reverse.'0''

2y> The first N� of 5N6 is clumsily impressed, as langdon also copied il in OECT 7. Vojman apparently read his(U4*N|)+N14,4NQframa photo, ond did not observe the connection with the Following gto:n notations, '/,„ should resull In N3Jb NJ4 N^Jl.e., 35NJ4 , '/ , 3 I/, Ni

N39(, N,4 N28); Nj,0 N24 N3(. might hove resulted from the difficult calcu'alion of '/|r of 2I\I3, rounded off to 2N-, 2NKo >V10 - '/, N,0 - N2,. N„, unattested inJN. had to be cfia-ged to

ged to eilho

141 Compare MSVO 1. 86 -OECT 7, 92-93) and MSVO 4. 10.

*�' Compare MSVO 1, 89 (rev.: N4J 9N14 4N, 4N3,0 3NJ7+U„ '11 88 N„ grain units, 3 years'; this is presumably the account f-crn which the entry in the second cose of MSVO 1, 122, wos drown), and, calculating with a daily grain measure of N39 instead of N2., the accounts MSVO 1, 90(tMM9N,4 3N. 3N3a, NIGINj SN^+Llj, "1188 N3, grain units, total of 3 gears') ond 94 |,SI„.2N47.2N,n (?) SE„

4N57+U4, "1560 groin units, 4 years", and 2N3 N41. 8N.4 SE0 6N�7i U,. '2340 N

^IMS7-HJ4, ijw '-3, <ji-m. �■>■-, - j—'•ji-'-41- -,4 u„, tjuv im„ groin

u-'ts, 6 veers'). T.-.e lime/g'oin notations of Ihe las! text, however, document an addition not of y]D, but of '/.,, for which no explana'ion can be offered, assuming intercalation wos not involved

6.2.2. Ordinal lime notations

In addition to the proven cardinal use of the sign combinations representing days, months and years, several archaic texts demonstrate that the same combinations expressed ordinal meaning. All ore closely lied to rations, primarily in grain and groin products. For instance, the ordinal nature oF the time notations in the texls MSVO 1, 83-84, seems quite clear, jjdging from ihe uniform quantities of textile products (?) and dried fruits in the first text, of grain rations or products in the second. The first two columns of no. 84, for instance, record the disbursement of amounts of grain to two officials (?) during days one and Iwo of a five day period:



[5N, j ZATU659

N, N8 N, N34


U4+N, 5 N ZATU659 N,N!4


5 units of the "grain product"

ZATU659 1 '/, unils of N39o 1 unit of N„

(responsible*:) ...

First day. 5 units of ZATU659 1 unit of N24 5 units of GAR ...

Second day

and so forth with the notations U413Ne, U4+4Ne and U4+5N„ following comparable quantities of (bisexagesimally coun'ed) grain units.3*3

Two texls from Uqair (?'(2M contain in parallel fashion ordinal notations for yeois, indeed, both texts record a period of eight years, and both arrive a I ihe same total of 660 of ihe unils N,.


MSVO 4, 2N,. ON,

N„ N„9N,a N„ 5N,

'IM, J i


2NS 3N,.

MSVO 4, 2 i 2N4J8N„

� 7N„





2Ni7+U4] 3Ni7+Uj


M3 J. Friberg has suggested in Scienlilic American 250/2 (Februory, 1984) 11 1 that the period recorded in MSVO 1,84, represented a week ol 5 doys; considering however thot the only other parallel text no. 83 records in like fashion a period ol 4 doys, and thot a reasonoble reconstruction of the absolute measures of the grain capacity system would, if ol oil, favor a week of 6 days (correspondng to the sign 1M3, -6N30 - 6 GAS; see bo'cwl. this proposal connol be sustained (a five-week monlh recalls the week-eponym /jomrrifums of Ihe Old Assyrian period!). See above, n. 29-30, and hg. 70 below.



Texts Irom the late Itruk Period

obv. ii



7N57+U, 8N„+U,



ii tV'SN.. 9N,, ...

3N,, 2N,t ŠE

5NS7+U,| [�N37tUj 7N57+U, 8N„

rev. I 3N„ 2N„ SEo GU7 8Ni7+U,

Although difficulties remain with the calculations, it is clear from the size of the grain quantities that the entries of the obverse were totaled on the reverse of the tablets, therefore that the separate entries qualified with 1-8N57iU4 recorded amounts from individual years. On the basis of two parallel texts, any judgment about the meaning of an eight-year period would carry little conviction.

6.2.3. Grain and time notations

The relationship between the grain capacity system and lime notations was such that they might in fact have reflected each other. Evidence is strong that, as HJ. Nissen has felt for many years,265 the Uruk period beve'ed-rim bowl with an average capacity of 0.8 liter served as the model for the piclogram GAR (later Sumerion ninda] and represented in general a worker's grain ration for one day. Further, the ideogram GAR can be shown to

generally correspond to the numerical sign

i the grain capacity system. In particular.

the text MSVO 4, 27,264 proves that the quantity of grain represented by GAR // N: was a third measure employed as a general daily distribution in the archaic period. This N,ai is, as we know, l/x of the basic unit N„ and this N, is inscribed within the sign U,, lo represent one administrative month of 30 days.

No administrative texts attest to a division of the day into sub-units, aside from the plausible interpretation of the signs U^cnd SIG as designations of 'morning' and 'evening', for inslonce, as qualifications of pobable cult activities at these limes, according to our sources centering around the cult of Inanna267; however, the lexical "Plant List"266 seems lo include in its section on likely time rotations evidence for the division of the day into four smaller units, dividing the day and the night into two parts each,2"

2� SocATU2, 153 154��.

244 Below, (ig. 6B. The account was first correctly interpreted in JESHO 31, 162-164. The lirsl case rrvods 4NU SE„ UJx2Nu.4Nl GAR, '720 Nj,, groin units in 24 months: GAR(-ralionsr, Ihot is, 24 months . 30 days * Nw = 720 N30o (-4N,J.

267 Note the attestations of the oresumaWe morning and evenina Venus [honr.ai m such texts as ATU 5 pi 2 W5233,t>, pi. 5. W 6288; further, in W 20274,77 (unpublished) and in W 21671 (fig, 44 here) with ol once both notations. An administrative use of the designations of morning and evening might be attested in the text W 20274,1 (see below, fig. 50), which contains the summation col. i: NM 4N,. U CtSfenr) KAR + 9N3i SIG GI5tenfj KAR - 2Ni3 3N3„ UDU0 SANGA SIKKAL SA�„ PAP, SlJRiJPPAK hi! Ej^NUNj, that is: '840 (sheep inspected!?)) in the morning .... 540 (sheep inspected') in the evening",.,; altogether 1380 sheep (inspected by) the exchequer!?; SANGA)

268 See above, section 5, and compare the ED Ilia list SF 7, vi 19-23 (7- U,,?). 24 (U4.U<) and 25-27 {U4.N, ...) (unclear).

549 See JESHO 31. 164-168, following collation ol the final line of the witness W 20363. ED lib texts document the better known division of day and night into three parts each, altogether six, possibly corresponding to the Old Babybntan division of the night into 3 wolches Imossortu).

Administrofive Systems - Timekeeping

Figure 44: W 21671

This account of apparent disliibulians ol textiles contains possible evidence o; on archaic cultic cclendar.

These artificial divisions of time can be documented in much the same form throughout the ihird millennium. First solid evidence of the cultic/agricultural calendar, which we should imagine predates by millennia the imposition of artificial timekeeping on an urban society, is found much later, beginning in the ED lllb (pre-Sargonic Lagash; period, Thejemdet Nasr texts characterized by colophons including the notation SU GIBIL (discussed below, section 6.3.4), however, may becited as possible evidence of a calendor beginning with a new growlh' festival ('leather' (sign SUj and 'month' might have been homophones in ihe uncertain archaic language ol Uruk). An account of textiles from Uruk, dating to the Uruk III period, might contain evidence of a cultic calendar in the south (figure 44). The account books entries of wool, cloth, etc., subscribed in lOt sections with notations which are in other contexts suspected to represent cultic festivols, including EZENb U,, AN MUS3= ('festival of the morning Inanna'), GIBIL NUN, ('New growth (leslival) of Enki'), EZENb SIG AN MUS^ ('festival ol Ihe evening Inonna'), ENo NAGARQ URlJ'Lord ... (festival) of Nanna'), and 5U„ NUN ('... (festival) of Enki'; all translations highly speculative).



ieyls fen he Lot? Uilk Period

Administrative Systems - AdminiJt.'olive offices

6.3 Administrative offices

Following c relatively secure identification ot a series of realio, deluding domesticated plants and animals, wooden objects, grain products ond textiles, proto-cuneiform texts can be divided inlo broadly formal categories often closely related lo the numerical systems used to quantify recorded objects.270 These include accounts dealing with archaic fisheries, with domeslicoled animals and animal products, with (presumably slave) labor, with grain and grain products, and with the cdministration of fields.

6.3.1. Fisheries271

There can be little doubt that next to grain products fish played a primary role in the diet of the earliest settlers of the alluvium,272 For whom the hunl in the alluvial plain promised no substantial source of protein, and whose access to meal and dairy products liom domesticoted animals was at all times severely limited.273 Fish, on the one none, grow rapidly, require little care and as a rule are not fed, and can be caught with simple technologies. From the perspective of dietary science, fish are, on the other, equal to meat and milk producls77'1 and ore, moreover, easily digestible. The modes! effort requisite lo iheir exploitation mokes fish an ideal meat substitute lor the often orotein-low diets of poor communities.271 The biotope

270 See ATU 2, pp. 117-156 ploles 54-60, and above, section 6.1. For lack ol textual sources which might make the production of metal, wooden, stone and day objecls more understandable, these products ore nol dea't with in the following. Note in particular the treatment ol such products in the commentary volume to the publico'ion of the archaic lexicol lists, ATU 3 [in preparation; K. Reilci, Berlin, is currently preparing a commentary to the 'Metal lisl with an edition of the Uruk odmmisliohvc texts dealing with metals).

271 See generally A. Salonen. Die Fischerei im alten Mesopo'amien [...], AASF B166 [Helsinki I 970), and for a more derailed description ol the organization of fisheries in ihc third millennium my Ur lll-fisclierei.

272 This belief derives no' only from our understanding of ihc exploilo'ion o1 the waters o( southern Babylonia documented in administrative orchives from later periods, bul also from studies o' developing countries whose technology and environment in many ways reflects thol of archaic Babylonia. The basic problems of fish exploitation, in particular in aeveloping countries, were last dealt with a! the World Conference of Fisheries Manaacnenl and Development in Rome sponsored the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization ollhe United Nations! from 27June through 6 July 1984, Cf. FAO News Feo'uie WFC/NF/84/2.

273 For a general introduction into these early developments see D. and J. Oales, The Rise of Civilization (Oxford 1976), in particular pp. 1 1-18, 96109, and the bibliogrophy after p, 136; HJ. Nissen, Grundz�ge einer Geschichte der Fr�hzei! des Vorderen Orients IDormsladl I983| 18-70. The one-sidedness ol groin diets (see K. Butz, "[ondwirtschoft,' in RIA 6 [ 1980-83J 471-486, with extensive literature) could only be alleviated by consumption of fish,

m FAO WFC/NF/84/2, p. 1:'Fish contains some 18 to 22 percent easily-digested p'Oleinondin common with other animal proteins, essential omtno acids that the human body connot manufacture' Compare B. Watt and A. Merrill, Composition of Foods, Agricultural Handbook No. 8 (Washington, DC, 1975) jp. 6-67, table 1. R. Ellison, 'Die! In Mesopotamia [...],' Iraq 43 (1981) 35-45 land again in Iraq 45 1983] 146-150), has pointed to the lack o! the vitamins A and C in the Babylonian diet, luh liver ij lowever, a powerful source of vitamin A; fish contain also some amounts of ascorbic acid. Ncfnum is of course contained in lish in high levels, particularly when it has been salted after the catch.

774 And nafuraliy of the great majority of ancient Babylonians, foi whom meal was in all periods only seen on feslfve occasions. Pre-war Iraq still ottered a dieta-y structure in its non-urban regions comparable to thai of ihird millennium Mesopotamia. According to the FAO Food and Nutrition Caper 1 /?: Review ol Food Consumption Surveys (Household Food Consumption by Economic Groups; Rome 1979) 18 I. lo fig. 52

stretching from the Persian gulf inlo the swamps, lokes and canals of Sumer offered an extraordinary polenlicl in fish, crabs and turtles.270

A major problem in the exploitation of fish resources resls, however, in ihe fact that they easily spoil. In arid regions, this means thai lish cannot be transported over great distances, and of course cannot be stored, without being preserved in some form. Thus together with fish exploitation, arcnaic fishermen must have developed a technology of preservation - parallel to the necessity of new storage technologies which piesupposed the expanded exploitation of dairy products discussed below, seclion 6.3.2. While written documents from ihe archaic period offer but very spcring information, material finds from orchaeological excavations, hislorical reports777 and ethnographic studies do act to bridge some gaps in our knowledge about the nature of this exploitation.

the poorest Iraqis on overage consumed just 570g ol lish ond 430g ol meal, while Ihe richest consumed 930g fish end 2,Bkg ol meal, that >s, marginally more fish, but more lhan six times as much meat. 270 Trcvel reports Iron ihe 19th century olieady mode this point, fo' example "Aus einem Briefe des Dr. Sodn an Prof. N�ldecke, 29 April 1870. An Bord des 'Mosul' auf dem Tigris,' 2DMG 24 (1870) 471: "Fish o,pc so obundanl in lie Euphra'es, that rhese onimals cost reorly nothing; while I was underway to Ihe Munleiic comp, a 2'/-, - 3 loot lone binni, that is, a fish of the highest quolity, jumped of itsell into the boat,' Most recent ovcilable data on fishing in the inland waters o: Iraq (see A. al-Hadilhi, Optimal Utilization of the Water Resouices o' the Euphrates River of Iroc [Diss. University of Arizona, University Microfilms, Ann Arbor 1979] 120) eslimale a yeaily cotch of 20,500 Ions:


Ffammar Lake Schatrc Lake Ahu-Dibbis '<urno marsh Schomiyu

Hobboniya reservoir Euphrates


Euphrates ond Tigris Euphra'es ord Tigris Euphrates

Euphrates and Tigris



Catch in Ions

9,200 1,320 6.400 2.CO0 420 960 160


Clearly, Ihe lakes led by rivers ond conals provded ihe main sources of Hie catch, 60/icl which derived �rom the carp family. Those are unfortunately now artificial ligures, since, aside from the short-torn upheavals in Iraqi 'isheries due to decades of war conditions, lorg-'erm domoge to 'he main breeding grounds between the Syrian border ond Hit are being guaranteed by dorr construction with no consideration of fish locks.

277 Compore. Icr instance, Herodotus I 200 (according to J. Feix(ed.j, Herodol Hislcrien I [Munich 1963]): "Three Boby'o-von tribes live entirely from lish, which they catch and dry in the sun,' The dried, apparently unsalted fish were ground ond eaten in the lorm of a sort of porridge, or baked into bread cokes. The Greek historian Diodarus Siculus, who traveled through EgyptIrom 60 to 57 B.C., described the methods of salrwoter fishing employed by dwelle-s of the gulf coasl souih of Babylon who built wolls of woven reed baskets in ihe wafer close fo the beach. Doors on these baskets opened during high tide, colching with ihe oncoming low tide the fish, that hod swum into ihem with automatically closing doors. Olher coastal dwellers dug canals from the beach ua to theii settlements, which ogain with the low tide caught in reed installations the iish thol had entered ihem. The cotch was simply removed by hand [Bibliolheoo historico 3:21. cited according lo F.S. Bodenheimer. Animol and Man in Bible lands ^eiden I960] 72; see below, n. 315. lor a description of modern lishing methods in Bahrain).


' 29

Texte from ihe Lote Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

One of the most important, but unforrunctely most neglected sources for a better understanding of archaic fishing techniques is, of course, the identification of fish remoins from urban centers. There is little doubt that careful gathering and analysis of ihese remains from excavations of archaic settlement levels in Mesopotamia, beginning in the Ubaid period in the fourth and continuing through the entire third millennium, would hove been of great assistance in analyzing our difficult archaic textual material. S. Lloyd in his first report of Ubaid period levels of Eridu, for instance, spoke of 'the fish-offerings, of which there were such ubiquitous traces,"278 and F. Solar discovered that in Temple VI of the settlement 'by far the greater part of the pavement-debris consisted of the bones of fish ond small animals, evidently brought to the shrine as offerings."271' Beyond very cursory identifications of some fish families, however, no detailed analysts of these bones was ever conducted,130 ond they were apparently all discarded during excavations, so that it is not possible to determine the origin of the fish or the type of bones tepresenled in these earliest levels representing a period of interregional expansion, irt particular into the Persian Gulf.2" Equally frustrating are reports of fish finds from the Uruk IV-III period. Lloyd and Safar report again the finds of large numbers of Fish bones,282 and G, Cros uncovered an Uruk III period level 3.35 m below the surface behind the 'Maison-des-fruils" of Girsu which contained whole yellow bundles of fully preserved fish skeletons, complete with skins and scales783.

278 S. Lloyd and F. Sofor, "Eridu (...].' Sumer 3 [1947! 94.

27� op.cit. 104 and see Sumer 4 (1948) 119: "It was in the niche [behind the Tempie VIII oiler) created by one of the false doors that we discovered a large intact pointed vesse1 of the 'tortoise-shaped' type with a long spout at the shoulde', several examples of which were found cl Tepe Gawra. the [or ilself was lull of fishbones and plentiful Ircces of the usual iish-offerings were found in both riches.' See further F. Solar eta!., Eridu (Baghdad 1981) 101; 107-110; 'Since the complete skeleton of a hsh wcs never found, and coherent groups o' bones seldom appeared, i1 occurred to us thai Ihe fish might subsequently have been eaten."

280 S. Payne, 'Parlial Recovery and Sample Bios; The Results ol Some Sieving Experiments." In: E.S. Higgs [ed.}, Papers in Economic Prehistory I (Cambridge 1972) 49-64, has demonstrated jus! how skewed founol identifications hove been in past excavation reports, particularly discouraging in tie cose o' small fauna which are often entirety lost when fine sieving is not employed (see iig. 45 here). See further Payne in A.T. Clcson (ed.), Archaeazoological studies (...] |Amsterdam,Oxlotd, New York 1975) p. 13, and for the potential information to be had from the smolles' finds of careful excavations R. Casteel, 'Estimation of Size, Minimum Numbers of Individuals, and Seasonol Dating by Meons o' Fish Scales from Archaeological Siles,' in A. Clason, op.cit., 70-86, with extensive literature.

281 Continuing work by exccvalicn learns in Bahrain and Ihe United Arab Republic promise more information in this regard. See for an early treatment of conlo=ls between Mesopotamia and Ihe gull J. Oates el ol., "Seafaring merchants of Ur?,' Antiquity 51 (1977) 221-234; the authors proposed thai short-lived colonies may have been established along the coast for the purpose of exploitation ol the marine resources. Dales' idenlificulion p. 234 of the Eridu fish bones as ihose of sea boss has nol been subslonl aled.

282 F. Sofar et ol., Eridu p. 84.

283 G. Cros, NouvetlesfoulllesdeTello[...](Paris 1910)81-83, 'Depot depoissons', Crosoltempted p. 82 to explain ihe origins of these greal numbers of fish remains: "There were thus very certainly two or more rooms, possibly below ground level, in ihe annex of ihe ancient Ma ison-des-Fruits, between ihe building and the exterior wall supporting the artificial terrace, serving as provisions magazines in particular for dried fish. In the conflagrations, the destructions ond pillagings, examples of which are not lacking in the golden age of Sirpourla [=lagash. city Girsu], these masses ol fish were subsequently scal'eted ond dispersed by ihe collapse of the mud walls; then, with rebuilding on higher levels, they remained buried in successive layers of debris.

Rrcovfved in tionch

MijjeJ in kench,

recovered in JiCves,



150 l

Cow Pig 5/G

Figure 45: Bone recovery in excavations

Chorl dernonstioling hs low eHiciency of unsicved trench recovery (ober S. Ibyne, in: E.S. Higgs fed.], Popers in Economic Prehistory T |Combridge 1072] 61, fig. 6). The results shown would be much worse in the cose of small mammals, lish ond birds.

Fish banes from the Uruk III period are also known from ihe settlement Farukhabad dose to Suso, including bones of ihe family Pomadasydae (grunlers), which according to R. Redding were not found in fresh water.,B" Such data and olher identifications from Mesopotamia strongly suggest thai fish must have been conserved before their transportation from the gulf.

'u R.W, Redding. 7he Faunal Remains,' in: H.T. Wright (ed.). An Early Town on the Deh luran Plain. Excovations ol Tepe rorukhabad, Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, no. 13 ,Ann Arbor 1981) 234-235, wilh reference to H. Blegvad, Fishes ol the Iranian Gull. Danish Scientific tnvesligations in lion, pi III (Copenhagen 1944) 121 -127, and K.T. Khalof The Marine and Freshwater fishes of bag (Baghdad 1961 i. F. Hole in: F. Hole el al. (eds.), Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Deh Luton Plain |.,.|, Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology. University of Michigan, no. 1 (Ann Aibor 19691 327, f spot rod ihgi in Ihr? region horn ca. 5000 B.C. demand lor or hading sources oF fish w�nt into a seveic decline (possibly becouse of consumption in Mesopotamia?). See H.E W Crawford 'Mesopotamia s invisible exports in ihe thiid millennium B.C.' World Archaeology 5/2 (1973) 235- It seems possible thot o landlocked aiea such as central Iron would hove welcomed salt fish as an addition to the diet in exchange fot their stones ond minerals.'



Texls lioni the Lule Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

The strongest archoeological evidence for the exploitation ol fish resources in Uruk should have corne from that city ilse'i. t. Heinrich reported the existence of complete fish skeletons in Uruk Ill-dated floors, all of which were apparently discarded together with nearly all of the pottery in the same context which might have gone far in dating the archaic tablets from this area.235

Assuming fish and fishing techniques remained more or less constant in the third millennium, identifications of bones from later, Early Dynastic levels made by experts using bone atlases offer now o much better picture of the types of fish which were being brought into urban centers, so into Girsu,256 Uruk,7517 Lagcsh (al-Htbba]288 and Abu Salabikh.290 Of four identified families in Lcgash, two - the grunlers {Pomodasydce, also found in prolo-Elamite Farukhabod] and the sea-bream {Sparidaej - were saltwater fish from the Persian Gulf, the other two -catfish [S�urida^j and carps (Cyprinidaej are freshwater lish found in practically all Babylonian fish remains. The Abu Salabikh finds made by the Chicago team in 1963 and since 1975 by British excavators included, next to the expected carp, two sea-bream, two mullet {Mugilidodl, and one each of herring {Ctupeidadj, catfish, grunter, and of a Persian Gulf barracuda [Sphyraena jelid) with a reconstructed lenglh of 120130cm. The importance of these fish to consumers in southern Babylonia is clear from written documents, The archaic fish list250 is a compendium of ca. 80 entries representing those lew types of fish caught and preserved in the waters of Mesopotamia and presumably in the Persian Gull, consumed and possibly traded in urban and administrative centers of southern Babylonia, together with a series of designations of implements lor fishing and for the transportation and storage of the catch. These objects are in o number ol cases represented by apparently quite pictographic signs, os for instance the best attested sign SUHUR, which seems clearly to have designated less the type than the state of preservation of the fish.7,1 The sign is best

285 UVB 6(1935) 12 and pi. IV. Discussing a dump in the excavation square Od XV: 4/5 doted to Uruklllc', the author noted that "many impressions of complete fish skeelons could be seen in the area of the rooms 195, 196 and 198 in the mud flooring."

286 G.Cros, N.FT 81-82.

237 H.J. lenzen, UVB 11 (1940) 17, discusses a latge room or couttya-d in the square Oo XVI,3, whose whole floor 'over many square rnelers is covered with ihe remoins of fish. The layer hod a neatly golden-yellaw color, the bodies of the fish wilh scales, bones and vertebrae weie clearly recognizable.' Early Dynastic calches in Uruk ate also documented texlually (M.W. Green, ZA 72 [1982} I7rj. W 17917 iv2-4: 15;0,0 ku4 gur sog.golj/kuj.bi 10 gin, Au^A-lap1'.kom.'15 head-gut'[ca. 3600 liters] of fish, its silver: 10 shekels, fish ol Alap").

288 A series of identifications ol fish remoins from excavations directed by 0 Hansen in 1970-71 wete published by K. Mudar, 'Early Dynaslic III Animal Ulilization in lagash: A Report on the fauna of Tell Al-Hiba," JNES 41 (1982) p. 29. Six bones of heads of Spaiidoe are recorded (a fnaxifo, and five apercuie fragments of large Aponthopogn/s]; the heads were thus nol removed.

289 A. von den Drieseh, Iraq 48 (1986) 31-38. See the prelimincry reports byj, N. Poslgale, 'Excovalions atAbuSabbikh, 1975 [...]," Iraq 38 (1976) 1 33-61: id., "EarlyDynastic Burial Customs al Abu Solobikh," Sumer 36 (1980) 65-82; J. Clutton-Btock and R. Burleigh, "The Animal Remoins Irarn Abu Salabikh-Preliminory Report/ Iraq 40 (1978) 89-100.

2.0 See above, section 5.

7.1 The later Sumerian reading suhur of the sign, corresponding after the Old Babylonian potiod to Akkodion puiudu, 'carp', might hove resulted from the type of fish genera'ly delivered in this slate al preservation by fishermen, namely the carp native lo Mesopatomian waters. The large sj>ecies ca'W by the Iraqis bizz (flarfaus esocinvs), but also by some the 'ass fish' (see D. de Rivoyre, les vrais Arobos el lews pays (...)


underslocd as a represenlction of a fish which hos been split, headed2"2 and gulled, and dried, before it was delivered lo urban administrators who drew up the accounts in archaic Uruk (figure 46).203

Whereas the objects designated SUHUR as well as all other probable designations of fish and fish containers were qualified with the sexagesimal system (figure 47),291 ihe object

[Paris 1884] 193: The river dwellers are want to call it the 'fish of the donkey', because, placed ocross t.-e back of a donkey of normal size, its head ond toil should touch the ground on boii sides of ihe animal'; see lurthei the depiclion ol ihe brzz in F. Delitzsch, Handel urid Wandel in Ailbabylonien [Stuttgort 1910] 8). later designations of split and dried fish were simply ku6 or suhur dar.ro (dar -tetu, to split', cut in holf; see, for example, ihe pre-Sargonic Girsu texts DP 303 iv: 390 suhur ku6 dar.ro gol.gal; DP 328 i: 170didli.bt suhur ku6 dar.ta, etc.; cf. M. Civil, OrAnl 21 [1982] 24 to gitj ku0 dar uruda, "knife for splitting fish', in the Kish witness of ihe ED metal list ond compare the entry GlRj KU^ in the archaic Fish list I. 90 [ATU 3, p. 971). In the pre-Sargonic lagash period, suhui were delivered arimorily by fishermen active on inland waters: sukuM gu2.edin.na, o.dul0, and GAN2 fietdncme, 'fishermen of the Guedina", 'of the sweet woler' ond "of the field so-and-so', so tha' the releren' carp of the sign is likely. A comparable lexical development can be followed in Ihe Akkadian nunu, 'fish,' which in Arabic means 'large fish', whole" (Arab, fish is samot).

252 Note that head bones Iron- lish have very rarely been recovered From Mcsopotomran oxcavatians.

293 Same praclical considerations, however, might question the feasibility of drying easily spoiled fish in the hot and often humid climate of the southern Mescpofamian Torshlonds and the Persian Gulf. Reports on fish dry.ng come primarily from countries wilh temperate climates, for example, from Canada ond Norway. Although according lo these reports the idea! lenrperoluro for ihis method of preservations is ca. 27� Celsius wilh low humidity, 'ecenl experiments in Brazil and Combodkr have proven lhat very good results con be hod wilh well cleaned and lean fish at temperatures of 40" and a humidity of 70% ()- Waterman, The Production of Dried fish, FAO Fisheries Technical Poper Nr. 160 [Rome 1976] 8-14; 18-32). A reduction ol ihe woler content ol o typical fsh (ram 80 to 25% eliminates further bacterial aclion, ond al 1 5% water con'enl ir'or pickled dsn 40%] fungal growth cease*. See njiliter O. Wil'ie. Hondbuch de-Fischkonsetvierung (Hamburg 1949; German production); J. Smith, Historical Observations on the Conditions of the Fisheries Among Ancient Greeks and Romons, ond on Their Mode of Soiling and Pickling Fish, U.S. Commission on Fish and Fistieries, Reporl of Ihe Commissioner for 1873-4 and 1874-5 (Washington 1 B76); J. Bottero, 'Konservierung,' RIA 6 (1980-83) 191-97; C. Culling, Fish Serving: A History of Fish Processing from Ancient to Modern Times (tondon 1955). For oncient Egyplion practice see R. Forbes. Studies in Ancient Technology III (leiden 1955) 193-194 (p. 193: The large stoves shown in piclures of oncient houses and ihe feci lhat Wen-Amon ond others tell us of export of cured fish lo Syria go to prove the ellicacy of ihe process [of preservation]'; R. Forbes, op.cit. 194, fig. 37, contains an Egyptian relief of prepo-ation for fish preservation wilh a depiction of the fish denoted HI+SUHUR in the archoic fish Its! ard colled now iisiih, prepared by modern Egyptians by rubbing salt into ihe gills, mouth ond scoles of fish which had olreody been gutted and cleaned); lurtherj. Dumonl, "lo peche dons le Foyoum hellenislique ,..,]." Chtonique d'Egypte 52 (1977) 1 25-142. The ptocess of drying can be facilitated by lirsi plac ng tha gutted lish in a saline solution, os o result of which a par} of the water content is d'awn off by Ihe salt; when ihe fish oie then laid out or hurg uotodry, they lose 62-67% of their waler wilhin a daylWateiman, ibid. 15-17; 25), The fish designated MUN in the fish list, 1.50 (ATU 3. p. 96; ptobobly the precursor ol LAK 56, nol 55 |DIM-SE]) mighl refer lo Ihe practice af sailing fish in this way (for Ihe salt containers and iouices tn the ancient Near Host see D, ?oHs, "On Soil and Salt Gothefing in Ancient Mesopotamia." JESHO 27 [ 1984] 258-267; K. Bulz, JESHO 27, 272-316), Fatly fish are nol amenable lo drying in hot climoles due to higher susceptibility to rancidity. The herrina Hilso itisha, a well attested lind in Mesopotamia! excavolions, loi example, hos o lal content of ca. 20% ond so cannol be successfully dried This fish musl therefore have either been consumed fresh, or more probably hove been converted lo lish oil or lo a souce like classicol garum (ot Thai nuoc-mom) fot use

20/1 The notation N,, SUHUR, ' 1 70 SUHUR'. in the Utuk IV period texi W 7227,b obv. i 4 (ATU 5 pi 26) refers to o probable groin product ration given an olficial designated SUHUR (possibly 'fishery worker' see below to GAl SUHURl. '


Texte from tlie Lala Uruk Peiicy

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

�••• ' "' 1......I . dirt

l e—-^_[_( I j. damage Figure 46: Dried fish

( i/**^ ^ modern repressnSation of dnec lisn, corresponding

J^L , . j T1 la the archaic pictogram SUHUP [after ]. Wo'erman

^ l^fe^- The Predionof SWd F.sh.p. 43. lig 10',.

represented by the sign KU^ (the simple pictogram 'fish') was apparently qualified with the bisexagesimal system. Although very few administrative notations including KU^ contain numbers which would make clear the numerical system used, this fact seems sufficiently demonstrated by the entry sequence SUHUR, KU^ and ZATU75.94 KU^ in the account W 21107 obv. i 3-6 (see figure 47), in which only KU^ is recorded with a bisexagesimal notation.2''5 Since the use of the bisexagesimal syslem to qualify above all grain and dairy products suggests it was an administrative means of controlling the distribution ol rations, we may surmise that KU^ represented a rationed fish. Whether this was a fresh or a processed fish cannot be determined with the texts presently available, although it should be noted that the container represented by the sign ZATU759 may have corresponded io the later Sumeria n sa ZlxZl.a used exclusively in the delivery to pre-Sargonic temple households of freshwater, and thus more likely of fresh fish, and that only the sign KU^ or derivatives of this sign were inscribed within the sign ZATU759 (see below).

Similarly, signs derived from the sign KUto through a simple rotation (KU^tetw, conventionally tiansliteroted SUKUD), through a doubling of ihe basic sign form [KU^-KU^, SUKUD-i SUKUD) or through the addition of stokes to the fish's dorsal section (GIR^06) are a tie sled in the archaic text corpus with some frequency, but as a rule in low numbers, making difficull a determination of the numerical system which was used olhet than that il musl have been either sexagesimal or bisexagesimal. Al least two Utuk IV period alteslalions of a gunified form of SUKUD with clear bisexagesimal notations2" support their inclusion in the rationing system with KUto. The bisexagesimal notation qualifying fish represented by the sign GIRo in an ED I period text should also be noted in this regard.2'8

295 A similar use of the bisexagesimal system with KUj,, in the texts W 21 375,2 (unpubl.), MSVO 3,43, Qnd MSVO 4, 72, lead to the conclusion that all numerical notations qualifying KU(ti are to be considered bisexagesimat (and that the questionable reference la a sexage&'mol notation together with KU^ in the text W 17879,e obv. ii 2, made in ATU 2, 152"*, is to be disregarded).

200 Pre-Sargonic Girsu fishery documents record with greolesl frequency the fish called gir and UBI (=SE+SUHUR), which without exception derived from the sea (ab.ba) or hor (3 - a.DUN, 'lagoon'),

�7 The Iragmenls W 6705.C (ATU 5, pi. 12) with Ihe notation [ ) 4N SA]t SUKUDounu and W 9656,bt (ATU 5, pi. 95) with N„, 2NM [ ) 2N5? SUKUDounrJt may refer lo quantities of fish, bul (heir poor state of preservation leaves room for doubt. The numericol sign NJ;, hctc proven to be a borrowing from the sexagesimal system probably representing 6- NJfl - '7200" 12-3600) and in lhe Uruk III period replaced by the sign form N„. is also bund in the Uruk IV period notation N.s N3o X SUKUD in the lex! W 9655,z (ATU 5, p!, 8 vf; the notation 9N,„, erased on the smoil tablet before N N was 'written, however, suggests that ihe notation was intended lo be sexagesimal,

208 UET 2, 19 obv. ii 7: 5NS) GIR0.

Although Ihe administrative documents from Jemdet Nasr contain no identifiable records of a fishery unit of that household, a series of presumable rationing lexis contain, in a standardized sequence of oroducts, entries representing as many as 120 units of ihe fish SUHUR. In nearly all of these lexis, the following entry contains a numerical notalion drawn from the derived bisexagesimal syslem.200 This numerical syslem mighl then hove replaced in Jemdet Nasr bookkeeping bisexagesimal notations representing numbers of KU& in texts from Uruk.300 There is a possibility that the discrete' numbers qualifying these fish are only discrete on ihe surface, that is, thai the basic unil N. in each ol the notations represents some measure or convenlional number of (possibly processed) fish. This might seem mosl obvious in the cose of 'double-fish' signs, since the pictogram would correspond lo the common practice of binding ihe tails of paired fish and hanging them over horizontal poles to dry. Considering, further, the relative equivalence values of fish in ihe later ihird millennium in Babylonia, the correspondence ol 1 DUGt vessel of dairy fal and 12 SUHUR attested in the Uruk III period texl W 20494,1 [see figure 471 suggests lhal SUHUR mighl have represented some number of dried fish, since ihe estimaled eighl liters o! dairy oil believed lo have been held by the vessel DUGt should have been value equivalent to some hundreds of fish.301 Evidence from Jemdel Nasr seems lo suggest thai the SUHUR was divided into 1C sub-units of fish.302 Some melrological division must be assumed in the case of the numerous containers of fish recorded in the Utuk documents, wilhout exception qualified with the sexagesimal syslem. These containers are represented by the signs GA?o ond ZATU759, which according to the texl W 19408,40 formed a semont:c category together with the sign AK, an apparent pictogram of a container made a! matted reeds.303

m See section 6.1 above, the texts include MSVO 1, 93, 103, 108, 109, 1 11 (sic l), 160, 179 (unclear due lo a break, bul see the nurncical noto'ion in the first case of the tablet's ihkd column]: mole the inversion of ihis sequence m the text MSVO 4, 14, possibly from Uqair. Only the receipl MSVO 1, 116, con be excluded from this list, the small numbers of SUHUR (altogether 7) suggesl all the same lhal the tablet represents partial tcccipts o' goods which when consolidated in an ccccunl could well have included objects represented by a B notalion.

3X The Uruk III period account W 17679.e obv. ii 4 contains the only clear notation of this syslem together with a probable object designation, the unidentified sign ZATU676n.

301 Confe* Ur lll-Fischeiei, p. 192. table 20, assuming an approximate relationship of 10 liters of butter oil per shekel silver. Foi ihe identification of containers used for butler oil, see below, section 6.3.2.

302 I am tefening here lo the parallel ond possibly duplicate accounts MSVO 1, 146 and 150, the entries rev, ii 2b and 3b. respectively, ol which contain the notation 5N, SUHUR. All evidence suggests that when the division of the basic unil N, represented by the numerical sign N8 (-, N, lOlaled 90' clockwise) did not refer obviously to leilhei in number or, in the cose of young animals, in rough value), then il refeired to '/,„ (see mosl recently my remarks in N.A.B.U. 1995:38) and thus that the nololion 5N, SUHUR should ie(ei to V,„ ol the meliotogical unil SUHUR (note ihot this enlry follows ond is followed by entries including the fish signs W^ - K\Jtn and SUKUD* SUKUC^, which may have explained ihe source and lunclion of the recorded SUHUR).

303 The standardization ol such containers into sizes compatible with the capacity system used to qualify measures ol gram and liquids was documented in lalei periods by the use in fisheries administration ol both baskets ol undt-islood capacity and the grain capacity system to record deliveries and Ironslers ol fish [see Ur lll-f isclinrci, 142-155). The besi attested fish documented in this melrological syslem was qualified sejNE). meaning either cooked' or 'smoked" (op.cil. 217-219). The some designation mighl be ollesled in line 14 ol ihe orchoic fish list (ATU 3, p. 94) and in ihe account W 21864 (ATU 7. forthcoming: Ihe only other administrative attestation of the sign combinolion KU NE is found in the grain oceounl W 11897,c21 [above, lig, 37| obv. i 4, there probably not referring tofish).



lexis- �rom ihc Lote Ufuk Peiiod

AdmiTiistroiive Sys'ems - Adrnmisr�oiive offices

Figure -47: Adminislrolive docu mental ion of llie orcŕiofc iiihori';:.

The taxis ihown ll-SIO end on ihe lallowjncf page? rekord tľo deliver in; of {irr h�Jn fr-lt^iyr rjl-F.-r.— -r-.rpri'rJinri qF lhe splii- and dfied fish SUtfUM^ ), o� fresh fish KU^, ( ^ ] omrJ ("OrilniriiT-, |]if.\iini(r!ily frr-.1i fi-.|( GA&itKUtj,, GA-joH-UU [EJ . [�LtI. and of ptrxiiiub reptcVBili'ii li/ �lu- -.K|ii IkJ ]p (,|./jlily ,„,^| mul�. The relalion o( 1? SUHUE per DUGt (o eonlainci ol dairy lul] (l-)-:iirn. r.l.^l „ r},,. rr..,| w WiA'iA i nn page I li B it undent.

1 36

Texts from trie late Uruk Period

Adninisirotive Systems - Administrative offices

W 2049/1,1

The former sign GAJo represent a type of basket, in all likelihood also made of reed31"; signs rep'esenling fish inscribed in the sign thus indicated, as is generally true of the pattern sign within sign', that these baskets contained fish of the quality indicated by the fish sign employed. Nearly ali known fish piclograms are found within the sigr GA^, including that of the dred fish, SUHUR, but in larger numbers with the signs Kll^, GIR0 and SUKUD. Beyond sign combinations of GA,o and fish piclograms, signs which moy have some abstract meaning bulwhich are probably designations of processed fish were inscribed within GAj,. These include U„ {'sun', 'day', while'305) ond HI I?306] and are found in accounting contexts which secure their identification as fisheries products.307 The meaning of the sign ZATU728, also found exclusively in a context of fishery deliveries but nol attested lexically, is unclear, but i's referent is likely to hove been some kind of container.-1156

The sign ZA�IJ759, counted sexagesimal^, was written with and withoul an inscribed sign KU^, but always in connection wilh fish.300 Despite the dangers inherent in purely graphical identifications, it seems difficult to imagine that this sign is not related to the sa ZI�ZI.A, the presumed fish traps of the accounts ol pre-Sa-'gonic Girsu3'0 which were apparently used lo

3:>il The sign is then also the roluro! precursor of fhe baskets represented by the signs pisan (goj) and pi s a nx (GAj'Gl) recorded in fislieries accounts of the pre-Sargonic Girsu period, which according to such texts as DP 291 |ii 3-4r 1 pisan, 0; 1,0 mgn kuft / 1 pisan, 0; 1,0 kuft GAR,KI| and V5 14, 143 (i 3: 1 pisan C;1,0 mun ku^l hod a copacity of one Old Sumerion borig (36 silo3, CO. 54 liters],

3=5 The sequence SU0 KU U4 KUta. 2N„.U„ KU^ in the list witness W 20266,49 (ATI) 3, pp. 97-98) places the sign in a clear context of time reckoning. 2N57-tU4 represents 'two years' or 'second yeor' labove, section 6.2|. and SU, seems <n Jemdet Nasr cccounls lo represent o time unit less than a yeor, possibly o month or season.

306 Attested in ihe lish list I. 94 (ATU 3, 97). in the broken Uruk IV period account W 9656,bo (ATU 5, p'. 941 and the Uruk III period account W 19584,c (unpubl.; according to the Iraq Museum register of April 1986, this text was in ihe Nasiriyo Museum prior lo Ihe Kuwail wot, but H. Baker. RJ. Matthews Old J, N, Poslgale, lost Herrfogc?: Anliquifies Stolen from Iraq's Regional Museums, (oscicle 2 [London )993 p. 150, reported ihe lexl stolen �rom the Bcsro Museum frefeience kindly provided by C Jones j). The meaning of Hi is here not obvious; ihe sign is also lound in Ihe fish list 1.19 (ATU 3, 95; HI KUj ond in I. 40 as a pott of the sign HI+SUHUR (ATU 3, p. 96; compare ihe variant HI+SUHUR of SUHUR in I. 4,p. 94,W21916,2 obv. i 4), where it seems to represent a fish head, as a part of ihe sign composi-lum MUD, probably representing a bird's egg, ond inscribed wilhin a form of the sign TA(LAL3, o type of syru a), assuming i I s loler meaning of sweet'. Later tradition of fish deliveries would moke o belter case for on Interpretation cf ihe sign as 'egg', since birds' and lurlles' eggs (ond not fish heads) were delivered from the marshes by fishermen.

307 See in pellicular Ihe lexis W I9584.C, 20274,5 ond 20274,50.

308 The notations 2N3i, 5NM ZATU728 in W 17879,e obv. i 1 ond 2N31 ZATU728 in W 20274,5 rev. i 2 (a summation of obv. i 2a ond 3) prove lhal Ihe objeel reoresenled by this sign is, like other fish containers, counted sexogesimclly.

507 See. for example, ihe accounts W 15195 (unpubl.) obv. i 3-4, 205004 20500,b passim (this unpubl. accounl records in each of eight cases a relationship of 20 ZATU759+KUto per 1 URj-tNj/ this might suggest rho! ihr? vn identified latter sign was relaled to a yearly [lolion ?; with Nj? - 'one year'] of the lish represented by ?0 7ATĽ759 ■ KU,„, lor which compare ihe textile account W 24024,1 [BoM 22, 115], in which 20-120 ZA1U759 SAG correspond to recorded numbers ol apparent textile industry tools) 21005 (unpubl.) obv. i I [940 ZATU759. KUJ). 21107 (fig. 47 here) ond MSVO 4, 11.

310 Up to 600 such fish containers were recorded in single accounts (DP 328 i, from the Gu'edina). The fish gu4. Nl, nun, GAM>GAM, ond suhur TUR.TUP were delivered in ihe so ZI<ZI,a, oil by freshwotet lishermen.



Texts Irom the Lote Uruk Peiiod

Acminist.'alive Systems - Adminislrotive oHices

Figure 48: Plan of the Ibzur fish-l-ap The dotted line ind cafes the movement ol the fish feeding upon the seaweed of lh� Ral sea bed [al-bath) uncovered ot low tide- VYmd and receding wctcr s'owfy d'ive the lish into the siir chorber jailer R. Seijeant. BSOAS 31 [1968) 492).

transport fresh fish-"1 from the waterways and marshlands of Lagash into the city.3" Fish delivery accounts suggest that the container like the pisan was of norrned capacity.3'3 It is unlikely to hove been a common fishing net - although thete is otherwise no indication in the archaic administrative texts of the use of nets in fishing, net sinkers from all archaeological levels suggest they too must have been in use in the archaic period - since the sign ZATU759 also represented a category of containers including the GA?o, but was more likely an 'open' basket, which would have been ol particular use in the canals.3"1

311 Such fish were often characterized as a.de2. 'pouring water', p-esumably letcning to their containers being delivered in temple households.

312 The fisheries accounts in many cases include notations recording the delivery of often large numbeis of an object represented by Ihe sign U. (for example, W 19799, 20274,71, 88, 110, 117, 131, 20367,1, 20494,1 and ,3; see fig. 47 here), in later Surrerian tradition referring lo Igreenl plants. Assuming Ihe objecl was delivered by fishermen and remembering that the texts W 19948,3, 20274,71 and 2051 1,8 qualify the objecl wilh ihe sign GU_,, 'ration', it would be reasonable lo assume the objecl is an edible plant available to the workers on their fishing expedilions. The loci, however, thai GU7 could olso infer to non-edible goods such as textiles (for cxamp'e, in W 20274,95 rev. ii 11 leaves open ihe possibility that U2 represented simply an object which was distributed regularly, for exomple, iced nols Irom locol liibes in (fie marshes [compote ihe u2 n i nn i5 [=os/um, o type of reed, olso used in making cord j recorded in Ihe Fara period texts TSŠ 369 i and WF 142 together with the fisheries producl si.NU-U).

311 DP 332 il offers □ general idea of Iheir size: 10 sa ZI^ZI.o gu, ku4/ku6 sa ZI-ZI o 1 .a/se 0; 1,0.lo / ie.bi 2,2,0, '10 Z-netsof oxen' corp. per Z-netof fish, one borig of boiley each, Iho groin involved: 2 gur 2 bo r ig." Assuming a rough value equivqlence of grain and fish in the pie-Sargoruc period in Girsu, we would have 1 sa Zl�Zl.a = I borig (co. 54 liters).

3U The Sumcrion Home of the Fish' relates a song praising ihe welcoming quolilies lo interested fish ol such a trap; see M. Civil, Iraq 23 (1961) 154-75, corrected by M.-L. Thomsen, JCS 77(1975) 197-200, and H.L.J. Vansliphoul, "An Essay on The Home of the Fish"," OLA 13(1982) 311-19 (compare W. R�mer] Einf�hrung in die Sumerolog�e [Nijmegen 1982] 104, and id.. Die Sumerotogio |. ,), AOAt 23B |Neu-kirchen-Vkiyn 1994] 174). The fisherman will have attached his trop to a canol lock, calching fish in the

It seems given ihe value of metals unlikely that spears were ever more important in fishing than simple nets and traps (figure 48),3,J the existence of which, though they themselves decay and so ore seldom found in excavations, is proven by numerous finds of sinkers (also serving as anchors for traps).3'0

The designation far fishermen, later Sumerian SU-t KUto (literally 'hand-fish'), is not obvious in the archaic texts. The meaning of the sign combinations GAL SUHUR and SANGA SUHUR in the professions list, which should contain the designation of fishermen, remains a matter of speculation.317 We may assume that the sign GAL ('large') represented in professional names a foreman of some kind ond so the GAL SUHUR might correspond to the ugulo sukuK of Sumerian tradit on.318 The sign SANGA might represent a counting board and so the title

water flowing through (see Nikl 277 iii 3-4: 9 so Zl�Zlo I i(?) ku./NAG.KA [in parallel texts always ku5] N .U„.ka.kcm. '9 7-nels o! arrow? fish, from the reservoir ... (?)" (G.J. Selz, ASJ 16, 1994, 225: NAG.ka.nOj.kc.kom, unclear; MA. Powell, ASJ 3, 1981, 144, citing A.P. Riftin, Publications de la Societě Egyptologique a 1 Univeisile d�tot de Leningrad 1. 1929, 16: nag-d�g-i�-uď-ko-kam]) The fishing methods of the Iraqi marsh dwellers were comparable (S. WeslphoWellbusch and H. Weslphol, Die Mcdar.;...), Forschungen zui Ethnobge und Sozialpsychologie 4, (Berlin 1962] 84):

1. Two fences ore erected at right cngles to one another in ihe water. At the open corner, they fasten a rel, in which the fish oie cajghl which ore swimming along ihe weir. II is said thot Ihey thereby cause a bell to ring. A man wailing next to the nel in a boat takes the fish out of the net.

2. You close off o river or o part of a lake with a fence, leaving an opening to one side. The fisherman stands ot this opening on o raised platform of reed and mud and spears Ihe fish swimming through II,

3. A fence completely closes off a river or a port of a iake. The fish swimming within the enclosure are ccughl wilh bare hands

Professional fishermen of the Mo'don formed o particular caste called 'Ba-barc' and were despised by the other liibes. Accoiding to F. Bortz, D.e grofien Fischereiraurneder Erde(...]tl [Wiesbaden 1965] 19-26, ihcy used no spoors, bul only nets. 315 Against M Roof. Paleorien! 2 (1974) 501, who suspects thol the late Ubaid use in Bahrain of traps and neis lo catch bicj fish was supplanted in the Uruk petiod by fisSing with speaf and hook. Compare R.B. Seijeant, Fisher-Folk ond Fish-Traps in al-Bahrain,' BSOAS 31 (1968) 486-5 U: 'The long shallow shore waters of the Peisian-Arobion Gulf, with sandy beaches extending distances ol a mile or two under the seo before meeting deeper woiet, ore specially suited for the catching ol fish in permanent traps [hadrah], or tidal weirs as they hove been described, such as may be seen all the way fromlraa along the Aiab'on coasl. At high tide those haps are largely subrerged, but as the woler recedes ihe fish are left stranded within their fences (p. 489J." Fig. 48 shows the author's schemotic drawing of ihis device.

3.6 A, Solonen, Fischcro pi XI, 11-12; P, l>iouga2, OIF 53 (Chicago 1940) 55-56 with figs, 53-55; R.McC. Adams and H.J Ni^en, The U.-uk Countryside [...] (Chicago 1972] 213; F. Safar, Sumer � (1950) 79-30 (late Uboid); J. Joidan, UVB 3 (Berlin 1932) 31 and pi. 20d (Ubaid, together with many herring icmoini,: V. Christian, Altetturnskunde des ZweistfOmlaxJes [...] I (Leipzig 1940) 120, 158. 205-6, 225. Remains of bindings which will hove been fastened to nets ond traps were lound attached to some ol ihese sinkers.

3.7 See above, soclion 5. and ATU 3, 71 lo Lu, A 71-72 (for the Early Dyncslic version, see E. Arcori, la lislo di prolcssione 'Eorly Dynastic lit A' [...], 23).

3,6 The sign combination GAl SUHUR is attested in but few administrolive documents. In the Uruk IV period lexl W 9578,m (AIU 5. pf 60) ihe combination occurs obv. ii 2 in a context suggestive of on inventory ol personnel, iheie following an entry including the combination GEŠTUb SUHUR GESTUb is itself attested in the list Olhcials, line 13 (s ATU 3. p. 20; ED correspondence amo.l[arj.|me), and in ihe lu, A forerunner W 9656,1ti togellier wilh the signs UKKI.M0. GA5and KISAl^,. in all cases indicating thai ihe former sign like GAl, r-pie:,->iiled a liieiarch.col designation in professional nomes, GAL GA , olso (I. 20). is. in loci, also aites'ed in Ihe account W9578,m obv�iii 2�GAl accounts VV 21086 (unpubl.) obv. i 2, W 22118,5 (ATU 7, forthcoming' 2 ;r) in unclear context.

' GAl,,

known from itio list tll; A SUHUR is luill^r nllested in ihr obv., 1 (and W 74008.12 �OaM 22. B9|obv"



Texts from tie ;.ale Jruk Period

Administrotive Systems - Admlnistrolive offices

SANGA 5UHUR an administrator or bookkeeper of the fisheries.3" Other designations of persons or institutions found in administrative documents dealing primarily with fish apparently include only those referring to receiving agerts; indeed, the one account which lists probable fish traps and transportation containers, W 19408,40 (unpublished;, hos no apparent personal designations.

Judging from loter tradition as well as from ostea-archaeological remains, the fishermen will have exploited both the inland waters of southern Babylonia, and the rich marine resources of the near Persian Gulf (Sumerian a.ab.ba),320 returning to their administrative units with their catch including Fish, mollusks,321 birds3", wild pigs3" and, probably, lurlles3". We

3" Only attested in the accounts W9656,ep (ATU 5, pi. 103; unclear whether SANGAo forms a sign combination with SUHUR) and WISVO 4, 10 obj. i I, in the latter text immediately preceding an entry including the possible 'fish tithe collecto:' ZA3 (later Sumerian enku, s. M.W. Green, JCS 36 [ 1984] 93-95) SUHUR. Both attestations include sexagesimal note lions which would cr leasi no' exclude I he countinq of SUH�R.

320 Finds of both bones of saltwater Fish and of shells of gulf crustaceans make clear that ihe fishing grounds were not limited lo inland waters (to be noted to H. Waetzoldl, 'Zu den Slrondverschiebungen am Persischen Golf und den Bezeichnungen der H�rs,' in: J. Sch�ler, W. Simon [eds.j, Slrondverschiebungen in ihrer Bedeuluno f�r Geowissenschaffen und A-chaologie, Ruperlo Carola Sonderheft 1981 Heidelberg, 159-81).

521 See for example K. Mudar, JNES 41 (19821 33-34 (excavations of al-Hibba. 121 shells of molluscs, 104 of them from sail water varieties); J.G. Evans, The exploitation of molluscs,' in: PJ. Uckoand G.W. Dimb^by, The domesticotion and exploitation of plan's ana animals(london 1969) 479-484.; M. Tosi Catalogue to the exhibition of the Museo Nozionale d orte Orientale, 14.5-19.7.1981: Conchiglie, it commercio e la lavorazione delle conchiglie marine nel medio Oriente dal IV al II millennia a.C.,' with shells from Girsu, Mari, and Suso, among other sites; ?. Delougaz. OIP 53 (1940) 54, 96 IKhofajo); F. Safar, Sumer 6 (1950| 29: 'Great quantities of ihe shells of freshwater molluscs were found on the floor' [ot the 5/H building; Eridu). J22 The account W 21005 stands with its entries including ZATU759-I KU SUKUD • SUKUD, and NAM , art Hie beginning of a long documented tradition of the delivery and distribution of fish together with birds] balh deriving from the same Fishing grounds. Similar archaic fish/bird accounts are found in the texts tVTSVO 4, 11, and UET 2, 19 (photo pi. B); see ihe late Old Akkadian text G Cros, N?T 1 84 for the delivery of fish by hird-troppers. 323 W 12015 (ATU 6, Forthcoming) end 20572,2 iunpjbl.) conclude with entries ol SUHUR ond SUBUR ('pig') and so recall the p-e-Scrgonic Girsu account J. Anarzahn, VS 25, 42, which contains, lollowing a notation representing 60 turtles, an entry recording delivery by a fisherman al 2 boars (sa h7 ."''g i), probably deriving from ihe marsh (see, for archaic depictions of probable fishermen hunting wild pigs above, fig. 10, and below, fig. 62; further br Ur III references Ur HI-Fischerei, 176-177'iw]. 32f- Although not explicitly identifiable in the archaic texts, later textual references and physical remains from excavations indicate that turtles were at all times brought in b/ fishermen (compare K.T. Khalol, Reptiles of Iraq (...) [Baghdad 1959] 83-86). Third millennium Sumerion ond Akkadian occounl entries of Ihe turtles called ba+quolification, ba.oi.gi and nig, .bunj.na (see Ur lll-Fischerei. 222-224 and the literalure cited ihere) will have referred to the following osteo-archaeologically identified onimals: 1) Euphrates soft-shell turtle, Trionyx euphralicus, see R.W. Redding, in: KT. Wright (ed.), An EaityTown on the Deh luran Plain [...], Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University al Michigan no 1 3 (Ann Arbor 1981) 236 (Uruk 111 period, but possib'y loler entries); J. Boessneck, in: McG, Gibson el al.. Excavations al Nippur; Twellh Season, OIC 23 (Chicago 197B) 162 (Old Babylonian; 'the meat from Ihese large river turtles is considered tasty"); id., in: B. Hrouda, Isinlson Bahriydl I [.,.] (Munich 1977) 127(Old Babylonian); id. andM. Kokobi, in: B, Hrouda, Isin-lian Bahriyol II [...](Munich 1981) 149 (neo-Babylonian, as a burial good?). 2] Caspian water turtle, Ctemmyx caspica, seej. Boessneck, in: McG. Gibson el al.. OIC 23, 162 (Old Babylonian Nippur; 'today common in the canals surrounding Nippur']; F. Hole et al. (eds.). Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Deh Luran Plain [...], Memoirs ol Ihe Museum ol Anlhiopo'ogy. University

have very limited information about the types of boats they used.325 6.3.2. Domesticated animals and animal products

It is likely thai from the archaic period throughout the third millennium Iwo sectors always enjoyed a dominant position in Babylonicn household economies. Clearly the most important resource available to the archaic stale was the agricultural land surrounding growing cilies, from which sufficient grain was harvested to supply the basis for urban development. The second most imporlanl tesource was that of domestic onimals, and above all of the small cattle sheep and goals, followed by large cattle and pigs.326

Sheep and goals [UD'jJ3""

Large numbers of medium-sized herds of sheep and goats were exploited for their wool and heir, for their dairy products,328 and for their meal.329 We may assume that according to traditional practice, the herds moved seasonally between the summer pasture bnds bcated in the Zac'os mountains and winter pasture lands, but above all the administrative con'roi, and shearing centers, of she Mesopolamian alluvium. The demand for textiles (torn non-

o: Michigan no. 1 (Ann Arbor 1969) 325 lea. 7000-6000 B.C.); J. Boessneck. in: B. Hrouda, Unison Bahnyal I|.. ), 127 (Old Babylonian).

3) Torloise. Tcslutfa gioeco rbero, see J. Boessneck and M. Kokobi, op. cil. 149-S50, shell from on Achoemenid giave, wil'i symmetrically drilled holes suggesting its use as lute (compare lalin tosnjoo �= rurrle and lu'e), probab'y impaired from Ihe north (according to Boessneck; sec however R J. Braldwood, SAOC 31 (I960) 48, Jarmo co. 6750+250 B.C., and 59, Palegawra co. 10.000 B.C.; further P.F. lurnbull ond CA. Reed. Fieldiono Anthropology 63/3 (1974) 81-146, fauna from Palegawra).

4) Caspian Icriapine, A4ou/o-nv3 cospico, see R.W. Redding, op. cil., 236(s. lig. 64, p. 237);]. Boessneck ond M. Kokab: op. cil. 149 (Kassite).

The very spotty recovery ol the remains of small animals may exp'ain the missing evidence For sail water turlles, of which over 4000 bones were unearthed in excavolions ol Umm on-Nar (third millennium, see E. Hoch, 'Reflections on Prehistoric life ot Umm on-Nar [...]", in: M. Taddei[ed], South Asian Archaeology 1977, vol. 1 [Naples 1979] 601-606). All bo ol the pre-Saigonic Giisu fishery accounls were apparently delivered by the gulf lishetmen suku, abba. 325 See A. Solgnen, fischeiei 71-72 ond" p'ls. 5-8, 12; id., Die Wcssertahrzeuge in Babybnien [...], SlOr 8/4 [Helsinki 1939); id., Nautica Babyloniaco [...), SlOr 11/1 (Helsinki 1942); M.-C. de Graeve, The Ships of the Ancienl Near Easl jc. 2000-500 B.C.), OlA 7(leuven 1981); C. Ouolls, Earfy shipping in Mesopotamia I UColumba dissertation, New Yotk 1981). Compare ihe pre-Sargonic fishing boot logs DP 334 and DP 344-6

321 No texts ore known from the archaic corpus which document the breeding ond exploitation of equids; the signs which presumably represented ihese animals, ANSE ond possibly KIS, ate found Only in isolatec context of possible inventories.

327 The organizaho-n and administration of small cattle In the archaic period was first adequately treated by M.W. Green. JNES 39 (1980) 1-35; cl. A-chaic Bookkeeping, pp. 89-93.

328 The primary dairy products bullei oil and cheese ote dealt with separately below.

32' Animals represented by the sign UDU formed a standard entry of lisls of possibly sociificiol offerings in accounts (or the archaic period, bes' documented in the lexis from Jemdet Nasr dealt with by the author in J. Hoyrup and P. Damerow feds), Changing Views on Ancienl Near Eastern Mathematics (Berlin, forthcoming). Note also fines 67-6B of ihe lexical tisl Melal (see above, section 5, ond ATU 3, pp. 139-140) w tfi Ihe entries GIR, UD'J, ond AN GIR;„ UDUD, balh representing a 'sheep and goal knife' used in bulchering ond Haying lire onimals. Corresponding entties follow, recording butcher's knives For brge cattle, end gutting and filleting knives lot fish (It. 69-72).



Texts from trie late UriA Period

Acfministtolws Systems - Administrative offices

2 COWS -

birth of (reran-

cclrti-1 i1ruch?d]

1 hdFci cal: lor

col; 2 COWll ^

designa-Kcm o-J delivery

Calf os 'yeurnirig' ■ / dairy For'

2 'yearling




[ti- B / /

ll /

W 202711.63

Figure 49; Uruk 111 occounls o( herds of milk cows ond sheep

The two lewis above contain accounts of small herds of cows (3-6 animals). Summcrljons of adjlr ond irrvenik? animals, and □ natation presenting delivery duties of dairy lal crjlculaled according la the number ol rtsilk-producrng cows in ihe herd, were inscribed on Ihe reverse foce ol iho accounts Two comryntibln accounts or herds of sheen ore found on page 145. Note thai in both cases the rrjjponsible shepherds wrre to deliver one KlSIWk, of dairy fal per twenty ewes (IZi = ' 1', 1J - 1 l/j").

25 iLini


:!=■■ g no-lion cl \ombi oi yearlings

W 2027i.U

10 f-on-ale

55 odd-!! □rilmalr.


'dairy Frjf

W 20274,55

Texts (torn the lots Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Adminis'rative oHices

agricultural populations in cities was almost exclusively mel by textiles woven from wool, to a lesser exlenl from goat hair. Wool also constituted the most heavily traded commodity in the commercial exchange with the periphery of Mesopotamia. Dairy products loo may have entered this interregional trade market.330

Although we hove no recourse to a lexical compendium listing the signs tepresenling small caltle,3?l the administrative texts are sufficently infotmotive and consistent in iheir terminology to allow us to construct a typology of signs which differentiates between age, sex, and possibly also race of the sheep and goats they represent. A group of some 30 Uruk III period accounts, all from Uruk, are the main sources fot ihe idenlifications mode in figure 51 below.33'2 Nearly all of these texts represent inventory accounts drawn up once each year to assess the size of the herds, the number of offspring, and the amount of presumable butter oil333 the herders were expected to deliver as a norm based on the number of ewes or nanny goals in their herds.

For instance, the two texts W 20274,15 and 55, displayed in figure 49, offer o very representative view of the herd sizes and text formats involved. Both of the accounts consist c! incividur.il entries inscribed over two columns of the obverse face, and summalions of those entries in the left column of the reverse. The first column ol she obverse of each contains notations recording the numbers of ewes and tarns belonging lo each flock. In the following, ihitd case, the responsible shepherd is named. It seems likely thai the sign combination SEo+NAM: at the bottom of this case is a ptofessional name designaling a leeder Js). In the second column the lambs were separately tegisleied according to their sex. The qualification of both male and female lambs with the notation 1 N,,7+U, BAR {-; literally 'one year, outside",334 indicates that the animals were born and survived inlo viability during the accounting yeor.335 It is thus likely that these accounts were made al ihe lime ol year when the herds were driven down to winter pasture in Babylonia, and so unconnected with the shearing season.

-30 See ihe discussion, oelow of possible hade ;n dairy oil into Syria and dawn the Persian gull, 331 The lexical list denoted Tribute' does include severe' entries deoling wilh sheep and goals (see above section 5, and ATU 3, pp. 25-28 and 113-117). Aside Irom Ihe isolo'ed entry I. 9 (//37j with the notation NyGUKKAL (possibly '10 fat-tailed sheep'), II. 22-25 record in a four line seauenee the two couplets '10 ewes / 1 ram' ond 10 nannies / 1 billy goal'. Although the meaning ol this lexical list is unclear, the ratio of 10:1 is suggestive of tFe service ratio for beginning herds of small collie. � Most were discussed in M.W. Green, JNES 39(1980) 1-35.

™ I have attempted together the perlinenl textual matejio! from the third millennium bearing an the question ol the products being delivered by herders to stale ogenls in three articles: Archaic Dairy Mel ology," Iron 53 (1991) 101-4. "Late Uruk Period Cattle and Dairy Products: Evidence from Prolo-Cuneifo'm Sources " BSA 8 (1995) 33-48, and 'Regulating Dairy Productivity in the Ur III Period,' OrtsIS 64 (1995) 377. 429.

See above, section 6.2, for a detailed discussion of time notations in archaic lexis I N.„,-U,, represented on administrative 36&dayyear. BAR might instead relet to (how juveniles weaned fiorn thou mothers or culled from the herd and given over to ihe official SE„J NAM,. See the following not'.' 33i We learn in these texls Ihol ihe number of lambs recorded in the accounting yr-ar corresponded to approximately one third of the ewes. Since the accounls represent herd inventories with normed delivery expectations of butter oil (see below), it is impossible lo soy whol precisely this relationship means. It seems most likely thai the lambs registered are ihose which had to ly_. delivered lo the herds owners (eilher physically delivered to the owners, or simply added to ihe accounts and thus Iwcornmg, on paper adult members ol Ihe flocks in the following year, lor which the herders (■oiihrisw-d lo b-nicill responsibility)'


W 20274.1 w 1.5785.010

figure 50: Accounts of large sheep herds

W 20274,1 -nigh: represcri the accounting of two large herds of sheep, together totaling 1380 animals (note the inclusion in the second column of signs represenling dairy fat and woo). The poorly preserved cccounl W 15785,a 10 recordi in g reverse corner o nofo'ion representing 1413, and thus Ine largesl number of shnep known from the archaic texts.

The reverse of the texls contains summations of both adult and juvenile animals followed by an enlry which records an apparent amount of a daily producl. We have, based on later tradition in Babylonia, interpreted the prctographic sign KISIMo ife>), a cloy vessel, lo represent a standord amounl of butler oil which that vessel held.

The less well preserved second text contains an entirely parallel accounl of a herd of sheep. Note that in bolh lexis and in a number of others ihe vessels KISIMn stood in an even relationship lo ihe ewes respectively recorded, namely, in a relationship of one KISIMo lo 20 ewes. These nice numbers' ate as a rule always to be understood as an indication of administrative norms and not as records of real deliveries. In this case, l/„ KISIM would

I r i ''TOo

then represent the amount ol butter oil, derived from sheep milk, which the herders in these two accounls were expected to deliver to ihe real owners of the sheep, reckoned per yeor and bearing ewe.330

In 0 precisely parallel fashion, the accounts of goatherds record numbers of nannies and male goals together with yeatlings on iheir obverse, summaries on their reverse foces, the

33� To be noted 10 M Stol. BSA 7 [ 1993| 100, and RIA 8/3-4 (1994) 194. Butter oil Irom ewes was not recorded in accounts from the later ihird millennium; ij.nun (pre-Sargonic Girsu and Old Akkadian) and <i -n u n(.HA) 1 Ui III; represented that of goots. Archo-c shepherds recorded in the texl considered here were required to deliver the capacity equivalence in milk fol ol one ol the oil vessels represented bv the sian KISIMo pc. i 5 JNES 39, 21, no. 3, W 20274,74), 20 JNES 39, 22, no. 6 21 no 4 23 no 7

^�;^y?\ T 5 �fJA-�,? 6" 20274'3- ' 5. 38, 55, 60, and 61, respectively; see [ig. 49 to W 20274,15 ana 55!l or 30 (|NES 39, 20, no, 2, W 20274,85) ewes.


Texls from (he Loie Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

'lARGE CATTIE. COWS AND BUUS AB2 CUi 3S> ^ Sex Age ~ ^ Females Afalcs

Adult, AB? GUi

Juveniles AMAR 3>E> SAi AMAR KUtjAMAS <45>

Figure 51: Archaic signs for large and small cattle and for pigs

The figure above provides on overview of the signs found in lexical and adminis'rolive lexis representing large cattleTa series o: signs in the saTe cose presents paleographicol development, will* Uruk !V period signs to ihe left, Uruk III period signs to the right;, juveniles were differentiated according to sex with ihe signs SA'. ([>) and fCURa (d^j), originally designations of female and male laborers On page 1 49 is a (able with corresponding signs for ihe smdl cattle sheep and goats, and for pigs.

only difference being the use of the sign KISIM^, to qualify the container of apparent dairy fat to be delivered to central offices by the herders,337 This 'gunifred' form of KISIMo presumably serves to differentiate the rwo lypes of oil, but may also reflect some physical characteristic of the jars used, such as incisions or coloring stokes on their outer surface. Summarizing accounts covering o certain accounting period ore particularly informative concerning the general features of economic organization in theorchaic period. Unfortunately, such texts are extremely rare. Two tablets from Uruk (W 15785,a'0 and W 20274,1, figure 50) nevertheless provide a good glimpse of ihe scale of the flocks controlled by the slate. These accounts record a total of 1,418 and 1,380 sheep, respectively. The signs which in these cccounls represented sheep and goats had no apparent piclographic, but rather an abstract character (figure 51), They have certain common features: the cross, the circle and the lozenge barred by a diagonal line (as a qualification of male animals). Again, young animals are specified by adding cerla'n qualifying strokes or complete signs to the basic signs representing the species referred lo. Because ol their abstract form, D. Schmandt-Besseral has understood the signs to be two-dimensional representations of three dimensional complex tokens (see above, section 3), that is, of small clay objects inscribed with the design - a cross with possibly further qualifying dots and strokes - that in

317 The delivery norms for nanny goats may hove been five lo ten limes os much os that of <ywe> - between 3 and 3 2/3 goals per vessel KISIAA^, recorded in ihe texts W 17879,ad, 20274.41, 65 ond 148 IjNES 39, 28-29, nos. 22-25). For comparison, goatherds in ihe U- III period were expected lo deliver between V3 and '/2 sila3 (liter) of butler oil per nanny goal (see R.K. Englund, OrNS 64 11995) 398-399").

SMAIl CATTIE SFEEF Aral; GOA1S UOU 6B� • -EB' Sex Aoe\_ t f n-j'es ■Male*

Wool Sheep Aduti � m U8 UOUNITA (J^<^> b

Juveniles SIA4 (Oh KIR 1 r ^ (O) SIIANI7A (o)<3>

FntlniM Sheep j?) ^L, 0 <EEbo = GUKKAl

Goal} Adulis U0< MAS, -f-O*

<-:.-■ Ir. t. ESGAR (=f^~ /vVXS -|--

Adiilrt SUBUR ^ Jj-, ^ ^ OirP



Texts dorn ihe tele Unik Period

Administrative Sys'ems - Administrative offices

the corresponding prolc-cuneiform sign was incised within a drawn circle, itself representing the small clay ball. This is one of the many appealing theses in her published work; it might further be considered that one of the Uruk IV period variants of the sign UDU ('UDU^'338) was made by first impressing the butt end of a lorge numerical stylus or possibly cylinder seal into the surface of the tablet, upon which the conventional cross of the sign was inscribed. A numerical stylus impression would itselF be the proto-cuneiform correspondence of a large token used in a numerical system. P. Damerowand I hove, moreover, discussed elsewhere330 the probability that a cross in the proto-Elamite texts, formed with two oblique impressions of the 'large number' stylus (4t�), corresponded entirely to the UDUo sign in proto-cuneiform accounts. This would suggest that a! the time of withdrawal of Babylonian influence from Persia at the end of Uruk IVb [?), this sign belonged to a common repertory, including most of the numerical signs, used by accountants from both regions. It would thus not be surprising lo find within one or more of the many unopened Late Uruk clay envelopes examples of the complex token Schmaridt-Besseral has posited to refer to sheep, assuming this information was not made sufficiently clear simply by the office the envelopes were kept in.


Art-historical analysis of excavated finds from the ancient Neor East has played the leading role in discussions of the production and design of textiles: descriptive publications of costumes rendered on statues, seals and reliefs meant to allow above all the chronological sequencing and esthetic judgment of particular works of art.340 The wealth of information not only about the costumes worn by elites, renderings of which may be expected in the type of heroizing art produced for the ruling class active in palace and temples, but also about simple garments of non-elites, for instance soldiers depicted on Old Sumerian and Old Akkadian steles, aids in our understanding of the types of clothing available and sought in ancient Mesopotamia, aiven the fad that with but very few exceptions no other physical trace of ancient textiles has survived the millennia since they were worn.34' For the historian of the third millennium, however, the value cf textiles lies less in their constitution than in their exploitation by complex administrations.

338 |n (he Uruk IV period lexl W 20820,1 (unpubl.). Note ihol ihe 'circle' of the sign TUG; was inscribed in

the same fashion in the text. 33� Tepe Yahya, 53-54.

340 See, lor instance. VV. Roimpell, Geschichte der babylonischen und assyrischen Kleidung (Berlin 1921); M. Tile, Sludien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des orientalischen Kosl�ms (Berlin 1923); E. Strommenger, "Mesopolamische Gewandtypen von der Fr�hsumerischen bis zur larso-Zeil,* Acta Ftaehistorica et Archoeologica 2(1971) 37-55; id., 'Kleidung. B. Arch�ologisch,' RIA 6 (1980-83) 31 -38.

341 Graves may be expected to offer Ihe grea'esl opportunities fo- the retrieval of textiles, and there are scattered repor's ol the finds of some remains. The extraordinary difficulty in recovering such remains, both in terms of necessary technical expertise and of the high investment ol rime and resources, tends fo hamper, if justifiably or not, the interest oF archaeologists in pursuing such work. Occasional impressions of fabrics on p-eserved artifacts do give us an idea of the type of weave used in textile production. For instance, the weave poltern ol a piece of cloth appatenl'y used lo wrap ond possibly keep moist an archaic labtet from Uruk is clearly visible on ihe tablet's surface. The pollern on Ihe lexl W 1 577o,s Iunpubl.) exhibits a weave using course wool, presumably that used lo produce the simple garments distributed to stale dependents and Ircded outside o� Mesopotamia.

The nature of this exploitation rnusl be deduced from administrative records, of which the greatest numbers derive horn ihe Ur 111 period. The textile industry centered in the capital city of the Ur III stale wos intensively organized and run at a grand scale, requiring the labor of some thousands of workers to produce the small numbers of the extraordinarily labor-intensive costumes worn by the king and other elites and the greal numbers of garments needed to clulhe thousands of dependent laborers in ihe province of Ur, and to supply state controlled trade agenls with large supplies destined for internal ond external exchange, through which luxury goods could be secured for the ruling family and for stale agencies.342 All third millennium texts dealing with domestic production distinguish between the raw material wool (Sumerian siki) and finished produc!s(tug2). While bolh articles were distributed as rations according to unclear rules of disbursement, complex accounts prove thot stale controlled exchange mechanisms dealt primarily in wool.343

Ihe practical necessities ol provisioning a growing urban population, ond the easy Iransportabi'ily of wool, suggest that the same general importance will have attached to wool products in archaic Mesopotamia, thai is, wool and textile production were at all times after grain production Ihe second most important oroduclive sector ol ihe Babylonian economy. In judging the nature of this sector of the archaic economy and the textual evidence avoilabb to us, it is important lo note, first, thai textile and wool production is unmistakably meshed with domestic sheep herding, and, of much lesser importance, with the production of flox. There must in fad have been a direct relationship between the size of the population and the number of sheep needed to keep it clothed, since an average wool-producing sheep was expected to produce 2 mana (ca. 1 kg),344 and dependent workers required from 2-4 mana (1-2 kg) ol wool per year. Second, signs and sign combinations representing objects in textile accounts often function as ideograms and as implicit designation ol measures. A garment 'tug2' signifies in administrative contexl a bolt ol doth with understood measurements. Qualifications of such garments will doublless have also had melrological significance, for instance, the closeness of mesh and subsequent weight will have been known to administrators

34! See Th, Jocobsen, 'On ihe Textile Industry at Ur under Ibbi-S'n," Studia Orientalia loonni Pedersen (...) dicata (Copenhagen 1953) 177-1B7; H. Wcetzoldl, Untersuchungen zur neusumerischenTextilinduslrie (Rome 1972); id.. 'Klcidung. A. Philologisch,' SIA 6 (1980-83) 18-31. The account UET 3, 1505, for instance, documents a yearly wool production of at leas! 3 9,275 guř (ca. �30 tons). This amount of wool would be sufficient to clolhe more than 300,000 workers ol the standard rale cf 3-4 pounds per worker. Since, however, the population of the province of Ur at this lime must hove been substantially smaller (H. Wtighr in R. McC Adams, Heartland of Cities (...) [Chiccgo 1981 ] 330, estimated the total lo be ro more than 21,400) the majority of this wool must hove gone inlo exchange channels, ond precisely ihis assumption is pioven in numerous accounts irom Urand o'her provinces of the period which document large transfers of textiles both into foreign markets ond into the so-called bolo system of internal exchange wilhin the Ur 111 slate.

343 Only the simple cloths lug. guz.io.gin and lugj (sog) ui.bor were olso deoll into the exchange markels; cf. H. Woelzoldl, UNT. pp. 71 -72. Wool wos likely the product of greatest value that left state agencies through ihe offices ol Ihe exchange ogenls dom.gar,, os is demonstrated by on analysis of consolidated dam.got-, accounts.

3'4 See F.R. Krous, Sloalliclw Viehhaltung im allbabylonischen Londe torsa (Amsterdam 1966); K. Bulz, 'Zur Terminologie der Vrehwirlschofl in den Texten ous Ebb," in: L. Cagni [edj, la lingua d� Ebb (Naples



Texts Irom tie lote Uruk Period

Administiu'ive Systems - AdministroTive offices

charged with conlrolling the value bolh in taw maletials and labor of textiles leaving and entering their agencies.

A major difficulty in assessing the organization of textile production in the archaic period is the fact that there is no obvious bookkeeping chain between the sheep herds, the wool shearing, and the production of wool from fleece, of garmenl Irom wool."5 Further, we are faced with unpleasant difficulties in identifying the various types of wool and garments recorded in the accounts with a variety of signs and sign combinations, many of which have at least formal graphic correspondences in later Sumerian periods. However, even these correspondences may be fortuitous, given the fact thai the archaic texts do no! show a clear link between producers - the herds and herders on ihe one hand, the spinners and weavers on the other - and consumers.

Of course the archaic lexical list of vessels and textiles3"6 cleaily documents a continuation in the understanding of these and related signs throughout the third millennium, since this list was written in literate centers of Mesopotamia not only outside of Uruk during the archaic period,347 but also in Para and Abu Salobikh3'"' in the Fara period. The section of this list (above, figure 29) containing references to textiles begins with entries consisting of two undeciphered signs with ond without the sign ENo, 'chief administrator'. The correspondence between the unclear signs ZATU662 and ZATU662-t-Nl4 in the archaic period and LAGABgtunOfsiki/) and LAK30, respectively, in the Fara period is unfortunately of little help in identifying (he referents ol the archaic signs, since their later counterparts are undeciphered, and did not exist following the Fara period. The next two entries contain the combinations EN SIG^ and ENa TUG-a, respectively, and might be translated 'wool/textile (fit for the) EN'.5*5

345 The only documented relationship of product to sheep is that of lambs and dairy fat lo ewes found in the herding texts discussed above. However, the account W 20274,1 [fig. 50) seems lo imply a connection. Whereas the first column of the lexl contains o possible inventory ol sto'e-owned sheep, the second column contains a standard series of 'sheep products' 3N. KISIM, / 3NM DMA,,,, / N, TUG.. '3 K1SIM (-containers of sheep's but-cr oil), 30 (units of) wool, 1 garment," which were occounled for by Ihe SANGA„ GA0 and SANGA,, U3U„ ABj SURUPPAK0, "chief accountants; ol milk (products)' and "chief accountant!?) of lorge and small cattle Irom Suruppok",

344 See above, section 5.

~ia The large tablet fragment M5VO 1, 242 (see ATU 3, 66, with pits. 67 ond X), was unearthed duiing the 1928 excavations of LCh. Watelin in the northern site of Jemdet Nasi. It certainly contained the entire lexl, of which only the first holf is preserved. The thickness ol the fragment at its bteak suggests thol the original tablet was more than two limes as large as the preserved section.

348 SF 64 and OIP 99, 4,7,8-9, respectively.

2j" Whether we are justified in characterizing Ihe qualifying ideograms as ad|eclives or rather os relative substantives (in genetival relationship lo the listed objects) cannot be determined. In the case of the sign combination ENfl TUG^, it seems apparent tfiot EN0 cannot represent a personal designation, since the sign accompanies the object designation TUG2o in individual coses ol texts, persons standing in some relationship to which are recorded later in ihe accounts in cases containing no numerical signs. This suagesls Ihat EM0 TUG2o in such coses is lo be understood as 'lexlile (hi lor the) EN.' The sequence of these signs is, by the way, static in the available witnesses and mighl indicate □ spoken nominal chain of qualifier - qualified, which would be incompatible to the Sumctian/Akkadion norm. Comrxirable sign sequences are listed in the following note.

The rest of this section of the vessels list consists of entirely formalized double entries; 'qualifier' TUG,n, / 'qualifier' TUG^u/iu. Neither ihis list nor attestations of these signs in administrative documents offer sufficient contexl lo allow a judgment of the difference in moaning the two garment categories TUG,n and TUG;oguntJ imply. The qualifications of the categories include signs representing colors,310 apparent designations of the type of weave used in cloth production,3''' and signs ol unclear meaning.

Preserved summations of several administrative accounts352 prove that the signs SIG3b, TUG3o, DARA^, SU,, GADAo and TUG^+BAD+BAD qualify objects of o single semontic category, since totals of numbers of ihe objecls represented by these signs were expressed as a grand total qualified by some c of of ihe signs,313 The collective designations ol these objecls allow bolh the conslruction of semantic categories and the isolation of qualifying signs such as those used lo designate colors.

Textile producls were counted using ihe sexagesimal numerical system ond so were considered discrete units comparable lo humans and animols, to pots ond boskets, and lo products of wood and melal.3S4 Whether in fact o textile-specific metrology is implicit in signs representing lexlile products is for ihe lime being unclear. It is, however, difficult to imagine that for instance sexogesimally counted units of wool would not have had melrological meaning to accountants of a bureaucracy otherwise so exacting in its recording of the movement of goods. Moreover, the clear evidence of metrological significance in the ideograms representing beer and other grain products, dairy oils, ond probably I hose representing fish skets,3" proves thai sexagesimal^ counted discrete units were in fact further divided into smaller unils.

350 Tf-e standard sequence ol colors white IU„), black (Ghj, yellow (GlJ and red (NEj is well attested both lexicolfy and in administrative contexl. For instance, the sections of the list 'Cottle' begins wilh the sequence NE„- u�. Gl„ ' cow/bull/calt (II. 1-4, 27-30, 53-56, ATU 3, B9-92), ihe'Piglisf II. 37-38 has Gtj/U, SUBUR (ATU 3. 102. and below, fig. 63), and 'Wood' 1. 27-28 has GIS U/GI6 ME5 (ATU 3, 105-106, and cbove, fig. 28): such accounts as W 21662,) centain a particular lormal wilh entries representing various qualifications of textile aroducts in Ihis case of DARA, .,, including the color qualifications U„, NE„, GUN.,, ('checked' J) and Gl„.

311 So for example fines 99-100 with GAR NE„, BUR, ([+] TUR) in the lines 101-104, and IUMA in lines 1 I 3-1 14 (o connection to lotei Sumerian guz.zo seems, however, excluded by the use of the sign A instead ol expected NUNUZ -- ZA„).

353 For example, W 20274,21 (ATU 2, pi. 25), W 20274,80+(unpubl.) and W 21671 (obove. lig. 44). ji3 it moy at least be assumed thol the signs SU; os well as GADAn Designated measures of specific textiles,

since the orj.ocls they represent belonged lo a semantic category together wilh those represented by ihe signs TUG- and SIG?(, , aT included in a summation on the account W 21671, However, ihe signs GADAnond. olton associated wilh GADAa, MEC, give the piclocrophic impression of representing tools used in the production of texliles, lor example, in the production of yarn; in ihe case of GADAfl, ihe sign mighl represent a device used to hang and dry relied ond cleaned llax - remembering that iconogrophic identifications ore highly specu'olive.

354 P. Oometow and I lirsl indicated in ATU 2, p. 129, thai Ihe signs DARAJc and SIGJd, both representing types ol wool, weic counted using ihe sexagesimal system, ll is thus highly probable that all objects represented by related signs wore os discrele unils counted using ihe same numerical system. Alone this categorization makes impossible Ihe identification ol a number of sign forms (SIG^, J under the lemma S\G, in Ihe sign list ATU 7 os valiants ol SIG^ since they are qualified with the bisexogesimal system and oie thus lo \x connected lo the complex of signs representing dry grain producls collectively qualified by the ideogram GAR [cp. ATU 2, 133-134).

355 GA?iiond ZATU759; sec above, section 6.3,1.



Texts horn Ike lole Urjk Pe'iod

Administrative Systems - Admirwsliotrve offices




W 9656>

Fiqure 52: Simple leceipls for collie

The upper seiies o( tablets contains opporenl notations representing receipts tor onp cow jsign (> ; ond one or two bulls (sign ), the lower series notations representing reee:pts for one call (sifjnjC- ) and for mixed cattle (?; sign combination )g> C> ).

Cattle {rows, buffs, oxen; AB? GUJ3S6

Cattle, in lite general sense of the lerm including bulls, oxen, cows and calves, were summarized under the sign combination AB2+GU4 ((> 3S>; figure 51). The signs were cleorly pictographic: the sign GU, was the representation of the head ol the bull or ox with horns uolu-ned357, the sign AB2 was the representation of a domesticated female Bos with down-turned horns, and the sign AMAR was the representation of a head of a hornless calf with ears held upright.355 The age and the function of an anima! was expressed by adding to these ideograms specific qualifying signs. The signs designating the gender ol young animals AMAR, namely KURo (t|l and SAl ((>), might represent the male and femole sexual organs.35' Later third millennium accounts record large cattle used as draft animals and as producers of meot ond dairy fats. Several proto-cuneiform accounts register together the existence of both ihe plow represented by the sign APINo and oxen represented by the sign GU„, and ihus offer meager evidence of the former use of cattle.360 Meat, loo, is poorly attested, or at least poorly recognizoble in this period.361 As sources of dairy fats and cheese, however, cows were clearly prized and closely controlled. Accounts document cattle herd sizes ol between 50 in the Uruk IV period and possibly 100-200 in the Uruk III period.3" The earliest texts record numbeis of cattle apparently assigned named officials or institutions, to the near exclusion of records of dairy produce, whereas among the texts dating to the Uruk III period, exceedingly few accounts ol groups ol cottle are found, but large numbers of records of dairy fats ond cheeses, complemented with the existence of an involved metrological system seemingly developed lo afford greater control of these products.

351 See R.K. Englund, BSA 8 (1995) 33-48, ond cl. Archaic Bookkeeping, pp. 89-93.

357 No graph c differentiation is obvious between breeding bulls ond castrated oxen, both apparently =- GU4 (the lew bulls kept for breeding in pre-Sorgonic Girsu were colled simply gu4 cb3l 'bull of the cow'),

3SB A. f'alkentstein noted in ATU 1, p. 52'i-53'1, the poleocraphic development, beginning in the Uruk IV period, ol the signs ABj, GU„ ond AMAR. There is some resemblance between the sign GU4 and several tokens found in context with clay envelopes: see above, n. 101.

350 See a sa gbove, section 5, to the lists 'Cottle' and 'Tribute". In the latter composition, cows ond oxen or bulls were recorded in a relationship o' 10:1; if GU4 here represented bull, the numbers might represent an ideal service ratio employed in archaic cattle breeding.

360 See, lo- example, the two texts ATU 5, pi. 86, W 9656,1, ond pi. 100, W 9656,dr, with counted APIN GU„ opporenlly assigned lo temple households. The inscription of the loiter lex' is djplicoied in ihe second column ol the obverse of Ihe lormer. See generally F.R. Krous, Sloolliche Viehhollung im all-bobylonischen londe lorso (Amsterdam 1966); K. Bulz, 'Zur Terminologie der Viehwirtschoft in den Texten ous Eblo," in: L Ccgni (ed.), La lingua dr Eblo [Naples 1981) 321-353, to large herds ol sheep ond cottle owned by palace economies in Mesopotamia.

311 The very roecger bone remains from Uruk of Bos lautus idenlified byj. Boessneck, A. von den Driesch and U. Sieger, BoM 15(1984) 170-172. were olmosl entirely of odult animals. Allhough the outhors believed tie crushed remains indicated Ihe exploitation of collie lot meal, the numbers of bones - only 30 of ihe 73 specimens were from lole Uruk levels - permit no more than speculation os to whether the animals were selected lor meat or were simply butchered in old age ot after having died from some olher cause.

117 The former number is derived from the Uruk IV period occounts, the latter extrapolated Irom an eslimolion ol the absolute sue of the delivery norms recorded in the dairy accounts in fig. 49 obove transposed lo Ihe presumed year account W 20274,97 in fig. 55.



Texls from ihe lůhe UjiA Period

AdminiSrorive Sysierm - AdminuiralK^ offices


Texts from the lote Uruk Pe-iod

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

Cattle as discrete objects were as a rule registered in prolo-cuneilorm text; in the sexagesimal system.303 Small, characteristically cushion-shaped Uruk IV period tablets record the receipt by a named individual of one or as many as several head of cattle (figure 52). Inscriptions in these accounts consist of numerical notations, one or more signs representing heads of cattle and one or more signs to designate receiving individuals or officials. Reverse faces of the receipts' remained uninscribed.

With up to five columns on their obverse face, larger accounts in a format represented by the two tablets W 9656,ev and W 7227,a in figure 533M contained thirty and more individual entries, each of which corresponded to one of the simple receipts. The r.umericci total of the cattle recorded in these entries was entered on the reverse face of the account (rotating the tablet around its 'horizontal' axis). Complete herds of odull and young cattle, probably separated according to the function of the individual animals, were recorded in other accounts (figure 53, W 9656,ex). In accounts from the Uruk IV period, the calves could, just os is true of lambs and the children of dependent laborers who were probably too young to be put to wort, be qualified using the sign N8 (-) which in sexagesimal notations generally designated ■'/,' of a discrete unit.365 Thus the fourth case of the text's second obverse column contains a notation N, Ns representing one cow and one calf.3,yj

Uruk III period accounts of herds of large cattle are very rate and register only modest numbers of onimals. The preserved sections of the text W 14275 in figure 53 contain natations representing just 8 head. The age of animals was recorded in same accounts; the text W 14361 (figure 53, bottom right) registers in three cases of its second column notations representing oxen in their fifth, fourth and second years, respectively [sign combinations 5Ni7+U„ 4N„+U, and 2N57+U4 GUj.34?

Related herding accounts from the Uruk III period, of which only two are preserved well enough to permit a reconstruction of their contents [above, figure 49/,365 record small numbers of cows together with their offspring, qualified SAL+AMAR and KURo( AMAR ('heifer calf' and 'bull calf) from the accounting year of the text. Both texts record a tatio of two adult cows per recorded calf.3*"

363 The exceptional use of the sign Na p| in the Uruk iv period to designate imrncluic animals is discussed below,

3M The largest attested lotai of adult animals is '54' contained on ihe reverse ol W 7227,o.

345 See A.A. Vajman, 'Die Bezeichnung von Sklaven und Sklavinnen in der protosumerischen Scfiii;l,' BaM 20 (1989'j 121-1 33, and the comments of P. Damerow and R.K. Englund, BaM 20, 137-138,'

346 "the latter animal was included on the text rev. I 3 among a group of four animals qualified as AMAR.

347 For a descri pti on of orchaic desig nations of yeats see above, section6.2.Thestandaidagesequence(or Ur III bulls/oxen attested, for example, in the theoretical account TCL 2, 5499 (l.J. Gelb, JCS 21 [ 1967] 64-69; see Archaic Bookkeeping, 97-102), was gu, amar.ga, gu^ mu. i |aS, sign - ), mu.2, mu.3, guj gal, 'milk bull-calf, one-year bull, two-year bull, three-year bull, lorge [full-grown! bull."

348 W 20274,12 and 63 were first published by M.W. Green, JNES 39 (19B0) 32. nos. 35-36; see now Archaic Bookkeeping, 89-93 with fig. 71.

3� Based on just Iwo small accounts, it is impossible to derive a rule ol telum' for ihe atchaic period similar to the ratio 2:1 known from ihe Ur iii dairying manual discussed obove, n. 367.

Figure 54: Containers of doiry products in the Lole Uruk ond Eorly Dynastic Periods Above: the Uktid Fneze (alter. P. Gomn, Iraq 55 [1993] 136-137). Below: ceramic jors depicted in the Uboid Itieze (the scale is merely on opproxi morion based on the humans ond animals found in the frieze) ana possible prcno-cunoiloim correspondences.



Icxts From ihe lo'e Uruk Period

MmimsJralWe Systems - AHminisrrotive oHices

W20?74,O7 ObverHi

2 i 7.200

3 i l.?00 I x 120

- IB, 120 mu d g

Figure 55: Accounts of dairy products

Simple accounts of dairy products from the Uiuk IV period (above) and a Icrrcjp account from lhr> Uruk III period (below [reverse vninscribed); see ATU 2, pi. 55, end Archaic Bookkeeping, p 04] os product* from animal hnshandry, induding the signs for daily fat (DUGiJ and cheese (GA"ARal).

5 units

>sta CO

i-Tonctord�zod rtS�cJ SRAsb wi�i cul 0.6 l�krt

COpOC ř) first dairy produC'

5 .nils ^

second dairy pfodud

relations beWeen file sfondnrdusd vetssftls:


ESSE** '�* TS�iť -lC0

Figure 56: Metro'ogical reiolionship between SILAj^ and DUG,,

Deity products

The two dairy cattle accounls depicted in figure 49 book in the totals on their reverse faces one jar of dairy fat370 (sign DUG j per two [W 20274,1?) or four (W 20274,63) milk cows, that is, of possibly 2-5 liters per animal. The first eight lines of the archaic lexical list 'Vessels' in fact consist of entries with the signs DUGb57', KISIMo/b and other signs which represent conta-ners of fats used in the administration of archaic dairies.3'2 These signs, including Nl„, DUGc and UKKIN^'N^,373 are often found inscribed together in administrative documents

370 Third millennium accounting tradition and technical considerations make ihis identification relotivety secure. See the articles cited above, n. 333,

371 The sign DUGb, representing a ceramic jar wilhoul o spoul, was consistently distinguished from ihe sign DLG0 including Ihe representation of o spoul. This foci ond the contextual usage of bcWi signs suggest thai ihe former jar will most likely have contained semi-liquids, ihe latter liquids, above oil beers. A large number o; signs were impressed in DUGb in archaic leyicol lexis, to a lesser exlenl attested in odntlnistro-live texts, to specify the producl contained in the jar represented by the sign, including among others SEU [barley). NAGAo( on alkaline planl' ?), Tl [?), MAS [mate goal), KUR„ [a plant related to Ihe grapevine ?), GIS ('wood;, KU^ (fish) and SAHj (pig1;. See II. 21-61 of the archaic lexical list Vessels', fig. 29 above.

3" See below, fig. 61.

373 See below, fig, 60. lor o table of the pertinent signs in the pe'iods Uruk IV-III. Ol the ptoto-euneiform signs representing ceramic vessels, only Nla may have been o two-dimensional depiction of cloy objects found in the pie-lilerate clay envelopes: see above, section 3. The 'oil tokens,' believed themselves to have represented concrete containers, have been found in cloy envelopes from Uruk and from Habuba Kabiro in Syrio. It may be noted in passing that few chemical analyses on the innet surloces of late Uruk pottery vessels hove been performed and thus little hord ev'dence is avoilable which would either support or lelute the functional typology implied in fig. 60, The methods used to recognize organic elements, in the cose of milk products arr.ir.o-acids typical of animal proteins, ate lime-consuming and expensive [see generally Rhcinisclies Landesmuseum Bonn led.). Proceedings ol the 18th International Symposium on Archaeomelty and Archaeological Prospeclion, Bonn 14-17 March 1978, Archooo-Physika 10, 1978 [Cologne 1979]; M. Frangipane has recoiled some preliminary identifications of these elements in shards from .ate Uruk levels ol Arslonlepe (persona1 communication]].



Texts From the Lete Uruk Period

AcTiiniilrcfiv? Systems - Administrative o'tices

W 2027A ň

Figure 57: Accounts concerning dairy fat stored in the jor DUGt

The obverse of the accojnl shown above coitoins three entries recording numbers of conto:nets of dairy fo)' assuming the notation N] KU3a [o^i represents one-half of the bcslc unit, the addition is: 7 'A + 4 '/2+5= 17 DUGC- The two accounts on page 103 contain similar odd lions ircljd i rig notations representing one-half tor; they ore rare examples cl duplicate cdwin st-ative texts from the rjrenaic period.

beginning in the Uruk IV period, and may Find correspondences in the famous Early Dynastic Ubaid Frieze (see figure 54).

The association of the sign N1o with DUGb in such texts as W 9206,c and W 9579,ah, and of Nl, in the same case with AB, and with DUG[ in the text VV 9656,eq (all figure 55), demonstrates that this sign should represent a container of dairy fol from its first use in the Uruk IV period.n?J Only indirectly associated with the sign representing dairy (at, DUGb, is on the other hand the sign GA'AR in such texts as W 20274,97 (ligure 55). This sign, bund as a general object designation in a section of the archaic vessels lisl lollowing a long section on containers of fats and olher products,373 is, as a clea' precursor of the Fara and pre-Sargontc Lagash sign i/UC490- itself replaced in Ur III documents by the sign combination go UAR/UPgu/irj - , posited to represent a unit of cheese. Wheteas oil vessels were counted with the sexagesimal system, cheese was reckoned in discrete units using the bisexagesimal system and so may be associated with the objects represented by GAR (dry grain products) and KU^ [fresh1 Fish) as another product central to the archaic rationing system.

374 The sign, the real referent of which is unknown, is in bier cuneilorm documents Ihe general designation of oils of oil hinds.

375 See above, section 5 with fig. 29.

��374.33 W 20274,69



Texts frcvn ihe Lqt-s? U'uk Period

Adrninis'iaiive Syslems - Adminislrative offices

reconduction ol rt>e lurmrafion:

obv. 11 ' III

2 d Di

3 d|

.1 d d|

ii 1 ■ d d|

2 1 IB d|

3 d

f ; ^

f � X j *f



— *


rev.il l#�f>

w 20274.35

inehcJogicul iebli-LTii.

Figure 58: Account concerning dairy fat stored in the jar DUGe

This portiaHy reconstructed account ol dairy lot stored in jcrs demonstrates the -nettologicul rctorions in the system DUGC.


Containers of dairy oil and other (semi-iliquids were not only as discrete objects counted in the Late Uruk period using the sexagesimal system, but were also as members of a liquid capacity melrologiccl system divided into smaller units using one of three numerical conventions (below, figure 6l).

In the firsl p.ace, the sign NB (-] discussed above as a des:gnation of -mmoture cattle in the sexagesimal system cs a rule qualified '/, of some discrete unit, above all the contents of vesses and baskets.37* Notations in a number of Uruk IV period texts suggest that the sign NB in the sexagesimal system could clso represent a smaller fraction than '/2 of an object, probably '/K; the ob;ects so qualified in these notations are, unfortunately, not always clear, although DUG( seems attested in at least two of the accounts.377 A second means of designating fractions of oil jars is fully documented in the Uruk 111 account W 2'682 (figure 5o}. The texl contains on itsobvetse lace two columns with 5 enlries, each of which consists cf she numerical sign N, together with the sign combinations SILA^-GARA^ or SILA;!t+GAo - ihe former378 explicilly written in ihe firsl four cases of the fitst column, the latter3"1 probably only in the lost (irst case ol the second column - representing units of a dairy product, the sign SI (meaning unknown) and further ideograms probably representing receiving individuals.

The reverse face of Ihe tablet contains in ihe right column subtotals of each of the obverse columns, numerical notations representing five units qualified by the sign combinations SILAj+GARA^ and SILA^+GA^, in the second column the final total N, DUGb qualified with SI and the sign GU7, ration'.390 SILAfc can thus be idenlified as a piclographic representation of the mass-produced 'Blumentopf which followed and tor some time in Late

37t ATU 2. 128 c.

377 W 19466.0 and W 20652 (both unpubl.). The notation 3IM, 9N0 in ATU 5, pi. Ill, W9656,gl (ciled ATU 2, 129 d. as ATU I, no. 490) refers to on object not preserved in ihe second case ol the tablet, ond this and the preceding two natations could in principle derive homo number ol other numerical systems. Clearly sexagesimal, however, is the notolion 1r3N}i 2N^ [ ] r4Ns in ATU 5, pi. 64, V/ 9579,u rev. I Idled ATU 2, 1 29 d, as ATU 1, no. 352); 'he oppo'enl object represented by the sign combination SUHUR KASb, literally 'jar of dried fish meal oil,' must at least be odmilted as o weak reference for the jse of N( ■- '/ in a sexagesimal notolion ol oil jors.

37! A cunlfied variant of the sign DUG rs attested in the archoic Ui (ED l-ll) version al the lexical list lu2 A, I. 20. as o variant of GA in the combination GAL0 GARAjc, 'head ol GAPAj,', and representing a product among natations lof domestic animals and other agricultural poducts in ihe list Tubule'. See ATU 3, pp. 73 and 114-116, respectively; in 'Tribute" followed by a notation of '10 cows'.

375 The UruV. IV period form GA is apparently the representation of a flat basket, the inner surface of which was probably coaled with bitumen to be used In ihe milking of dairy animals.

3B3 The sign combination SAG t GAR GU7 is extremely common in archaic texts from Jemdet Nosr and Uruk. While SAG seems, pars pro loto, to tep'esenl a human in general and not, as in bter usage, a chattel slave, its use together with o number of qualifying signs or simply (so-called aun�-j strokes apparently served to create abstract concepts. This must be the cose with GU7, since it is in no woy obvious that this sign designated "rationed persons,' but rather rationing in the abstract. A differentiation between this sign and the common BA is not obvious in texts known to me; they were, however, not interchangeable, since only objects quoliliod with BA and not those qualified with GU7 could be subsumed in a total wilh objects qualilred wilh Gl


Texti from rtie Idle UriA Period

Figure 59: W 20274,39

The largesl odminislio'ive document in ihe archoic sources �rom Uruk contains on involved account of rhe deliveries oi dairy fals to □ temple household denoted by the sign .rnNf^].

Uruk levels coexisted with use of the beveled-rim bowl GAR; it represented a measure equal to v|0 of the omount of liquids or semi-liquids contoined in the vessel DUG^.™' The third, Uruk III period convention used in qualifying measures ol dairy fals seems on its surface substantially more complex than the first Iwo, yet shares the basic structure of l/? and of ihe unit 'jar'. A large number of accounts, including the largest of the orchaic Uruk corpus (figure 59), contain notations in ihis metrological system which exhibits the structure

381 The lextW 20274,72(unpubl.) seems tocontainan odditionr2M,1[ ) + r2N, SILA^'GA�A,^ - IN. _ IN, DUG^ implying that, as mighl be expected, NB also served in this system to represent both V7 ol

a basic unit ond 5x N, SILA-^.

Administrative Systems - Ad mini sire tive offices

mm ( 111

lxN, vessel (DUG/UKKlNb+NlJ = 2,Nl+KU3o (figure 57),382 N.+KU^ = 5*N; (corresponding to the basic unit N, crossed by a horizontal stroke; see figures 58, 61 )3B3. The f jll structure of this metrological system (figure 58) may represent a development from the Uruk IV system with, dependent on context, NB equal both to N, KU3o and to N,. The meaning of KUJa in 'his connection is, aside from the fact that it indicated a half measure, not obvious.38''

383 W 20274,6 in lig. 57 offers o simple summation of three entries with numbers ol o container of fals represented by the sign DUG,. The only known duplicate administrative texts from the archoic text corpus, W 20274,33 end W 20274,89 (figure 57). certain somewhat more involved accounts, yet the reckoning s'eps exhibited by both ore cosily recognizable as simple additions of whole numbers ond Fractions fiom the same melrobgico1 sysiem. Including only ihe 3 unils qualified os 8A Kl0 in the second subcase ol ihe first cose of each text s obverse face, ihe addilion is: 3 + I'/, + %+ 1 + 2 + 3 + 2 � 13 (DUG ),

363 No doiry cccounis known lo me contain o notation with five or more N2, in compliance with ihe expected replacement of 5N?wilh IN, KUj .

3M I mighl draw attention lo the (act lhal tokens often related lo this sign hove been found in clear association with sealed clay envelopes in Uruk and possibly within still complete envelopes from Susa (see above, seel ion 3).



Texls �rom ihe Lote Uruk Period

ujrv mil '9""" mronirg Lfnt'tľV f-Zi nor-*

DUGU *#> or^mj> KASfc dairy fai roix^d wirli mushed rurtilpy?

KASe H�ii> d-3 ry 'a1 mixed wifh crjJied boiley3

KtSlMfc butter lal from sKeep's m:lk butrer fcl rVom goat) milk O 0 NU r;-,i,y Ful �

oo DL�Gb cfairy fc1 1 EEtet. SAa m: k ľ

DUGC dairy lal

a� UKKltvfc -Nl0 dairy lal o GARA?0 ci cam ?

Figure 60: Probable archaic emigrations o: liquid and semi-liquid products

N: Cľ5


JO nb

N u Ni uUS./UKKINd-iNI;, Ni KUj0



Nm • -

N r t>jGt

Ni SlUVjg

Figure 61: Metrological systems employed in dairy notations

The application of the upper system with dairy piodjcts is not proven, the lower two systems are only known the Uruk III petiod.

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

The numerical and metrological systems used to quality measures of dairy products mirrored in their complexity the pictograms designating the different products themselves (figure 60). According to data derived from excavations, above oil measurements conducted on the masses of beveled-rim bowls found in Late Uruk settlements, and in accordance with textual analysis, the most olausible current working hypothesis of the absolute capacities of these vcrious units is the following:-"'85

GAR - 1N, )?; Uruk IV) = SllAta = 1N2 = ca. % liter !Ne= IN, KU3c = ca. 4 liters

IN, DUGb,c etc. - ca. 8 liters

figs (SAH,a, SUBUR)-86

That pigs represented on important facet in the social and economic lives of archaic Mesopotamia is obvious from archaeological and textual evidence. Of the former, seals dated to Uruk IVb-o present the best evidence, consisting of various depictions of the hunting of boars both by apparent professionals and by administrative elites.387 Similar hunting scenes are known from a relief on a stone bowl ftom the late Uiuk period, and from incised and painted depictions on Early Dynastic ceramic vessels frorr the Diyala region as well as ftom a small alabaster relief from Ur (figure 62388).

Although archaic cylinder seals and reliefs depicted only wild pigs, osteo-archceological identifications38' as well as proto-cuneiform tablets demonstrate that ihe exploitation of

385 Cp. ATU 2, I5360; see also R.K. Englund JESHO 31 (1988) 16037, ond P. Domerow and R.K. Englund, Tepe Yohya, 24-27.

3� See R.K. Englund, 'late Uruk Pigs and Olher Herded Animals," FS Bcehmer (Mainz 1995) 121-133.

3I' See above, fig. 10 Impression 10c depicts two boars standing or running amongst conventionally drawn reed thickets, confronted by what may be the vaunted ruler of Uruk ('Stodtfurst'j accompanied by two cogs. Accoiding to loter sources, pigs were delivered by fishermen, certc'nty from then fishing grounds in the marshlands of southern Babylonia. See Ur lll-Fischerei. 174-177 + 177SM.

3,6 62a: H.R. Hall, la sculpture babylonicnne et assyrienne ou British Museum, Ars Asiatica 11 [Paris-Brussels 1928) pi. 1, no. 2. BM 1 18466, and id., The British Museum Quarterly 211927-1928] 12-14 -t pi. VI (probably from Uruk); 62b; P. Delougaz. Pottery from the Diyala Region, OIP 63 (Chicago 1952) pi. 80c ,from Khofo[e; kindly drawn to my attention by U. Moorlgct-Corrcns). In Iheir habitat in the reed thickets of ihe southern marshes, wild pigs were parliculorly menacing and certainly no easy bog for ruler oi professional hunler. Aggravated boors, feared for their slrenglh ond phenomenal charging power, or d'Sturbed sows protecting young, con easily bring men to the ground end with violent bites or a whipping oclion of their lusks inflict grave ond, unless rendered harmless, fatal injuries lo internal organs. Wild pigs trapped on islands curing the Hooding season, on the olher hand, were eosily killed by spear front boats once the animals were forced into ihewoler. See W. Thesiger, The Marsh Arobs (London 1964) 34-43, 167-169; A. Blum, A pilgrimage lo Ncjd (.. ), vol. I (London 1881) 122-128; R.T. Halt, The Mammals of liaq. University of Michigcn. Museum of Zoology. Miscellaneous Publications no. 106 (Ann Arbor 1959) 57-59; D.L Harrison, The Mammals of Arabia, vol. 2 (London 1968) 372-375.

3!0 See R.J, Matthews. The World's First Pig Formers.' Pig Forming 33 (Morch 1985) 51-55; K.V. Flannory, 'Early Pig Domcslicalion in the Feilile Crescenl: A Relrospeclive look,' FS Braictwocd, SACC 36 (Chiccn go 1983) 163-1 88; P. Chorvol, 'Pig. or, on Ethnicity in Aichaeology,' ArOi 62 (1994) 1-6; and most recenlly my conlribulion lo the Festschrifl Boehme.' (cited above, n. 386).



Texts from Ihe Late Uruk Period

"administrative Systems - Administrative offices

domesticated races, and probably as later also of wild animals kept for purposes of breeding, was closely controlled by the early administration.

Indeed, the importance ol pigs and pigherding to archaic bookkeepers is mosl clearly underscored by a lexical composition described above, section 5, of 58 designations of pigs enc their keepers. All entries in this unique Uruk III period list from Uruk (W 12139, figure 63) include the sign SUBUR ;&=■), 'pig',390 and, with the exception of the first entry, one or more ideograms representing apparent qualifications of this animal such os age, color or provenience. Since P. Steinkeller has stated that "this source is hardly a "swine' list,"3" it may be worthwhile to review the reosons behind ihe identification SUBUR = 'pig' made by P. Damerow, H.J. Nissen and rnysell.

Not only ihe clear graphic relation of this sign lo the sign SAH,a - it is the same sign minus the gunification of the back of the depicted animal's neck, i.e., its b-istly mane - but above oil the sequence SUBUR, I N,7+SUBUR and 2NS^SUBUR (=h ol the first three cases of the text392 present a clear correspondence to the age qualifications of pigs attested in later periods.

The identification of this list with designations of pigs seems justified, moreover, by a number of qualifications of the sign SUBUR in the lexl which would be incompatible with other interpretations, for instance, SU8UR - 'dog'.3'3 The lines rev. i 2-3 and 7-8 with AB? SUBUR, NEo SUBUR and Gl6 SUBUR, U„ SUBUR, i.e., "cow'/reddish SUBUR" and "black/white SUBUR", for example, contain adjectival pairs particularly characteristic in lexical lists and administrative texts dealing with livestock, namely, wilh large and small cattle. A furthet excmple is the entry rev. iii 5 wilh SE3 SUBUR; the sign I seems lo represent a product delivered by herders, best attested together with sheep and goats - possibly dung, a highly desirous fuel used in cooking and healing in antiquity.3*J The entries iii 6-7 wilh SEo SUBUR and GURUSDA SUBUR also provide hard evidence, since it would be difficult to imagine the purpose of fattening a dog (assuming a correspondence of SEc SUBUR lo later sah; niga) or of a fattener (gurusda) of dogs-or of humans for that matter.3'5 Finally, it may be

™ A. Falkenstein mentioned ihe text in ATLI 1, pp. 45-46, equating the sign 'SUBUR' wilh UR - 'dog'; he did not, however, stale lhal the lexl contained o list of designations of dogs, rather "a list of animal names ... comparable to ab2, "cow*, gud, 'steer", and amar, "calf" in ihe Faro tablet VAT 12806 (*--SF 81)." The improbable idenlificalion of the text as o dog lisl neve-lheless was assumed in M. W, Green's signlist of ATU 2 s.v. SUBUR, and has since been corrected in ATU 2, 15670; ATU 3, 22-23 and 100-103 + pi. IV, and my "Late Uruk Pigs [...],' FS Boehmer, pp. 121-133.

301 In his review of ATU 3 in AfO 42/43 [ 1995-96) 212.

3.2 The entry 3N57+SUBUR in rev. iii 4 � line 54 (fig. 63) may or may not belong lo this progression; Ihe sign 3N57 is known in other combinations to be a graphic variant of the sign KUR0 (•■'$, designating o mole onimo! or possibly an animal from the eastern mountains.

3.3 An interpretation SUBUR = 'human' was considered and rejected by A. Falkenstein, In ATU 1. 46, reoding UR, since no parallels from Sumerian prosopogtaphy to the sign combinations in W I 21 39 were known to him; UR is, moreover, a different sign, which in its ED I-11 form - UET 2, sign no. 284 -assumes precisely the expected furtclicn in personal nomes. The interpretation SUBUR - 'humon' seems further excluded by the proboble age qualifications in the lexl noted above.

See Archaic Bookkeeping, p. 93. 3,3 The qualification in the list of SUBUR wilh loponyms, for examp'e, ADAB (ii 8 and see W 20497 iii 1, ATU 3 p. 101,1 18; the sign combination is also found in the administrative lexts MSVO 4, 54, obv, i

Reconstructed depictions of boa-s being hunted with a spear from ski-is in tne marshes, m one cose o relief en o stone bowl frorn tht? Jemdel Nosr period (a; note the use of o hunting dog), in ihe other on incised dravcing on lht> shoulder ol a cloy |or horn the Diyolo region, doted lo ED Nlo (b; pig together wilh the other major food resources of Tie marshes, birds and fishi (after original drawings by U. Moortgot-Corrons; scale; co- 1:4).

noted that the archaic entry GALo SUBUR ol line 7 of the lexical lisl ED Lu2 A is apparently in all witnesses ftom later periods, beginning wilh the witness from ED l-ll Ur, replaced by GAlo SAH^.3"' It is thus probable that the two signs coalesced during the hiotus between ihe late Uruk and the Early Dynastic periods.

While evidence for a so involved terminology of pigs and organization of pig herding as would seem to be implied by ihe existence ol a lexicol pig list including 58 entries is nol known from later periods,3W still ihe nalure of archoic lexical lists as often fanciful paradigmatic

4, and 58, obv. i 2bl, i 5 and re-/, i l) or UB (ii 10), does not assist in identifying the meaning of ihe sign, but would certainly nol exclude the meoning pig'. Cp., for instance, MSL8/2|Rome 1962) p. 20, II. 165-166: sah; Mo,.gon.nol,sigj.gaj. '(fine (possibly in the senseaf unlattened]) Mogan-pig' (ond see the Old Babylonian correspondence in SIT 51 v 2); I. 171: sahj Si.mur.ro, '5imum>pig'. s*0 See below, n. 399,

3<!' The lact thol the list was so long seems most lo hove motivated Steinkeller in AfO 42/43, 212-213, to doubt out identificalion - although swine are recorded in II. 158-183 ol the 14lh tablet of ihe lexicol series HAR.ro ■ hulxjllu, thol Is, in fully 35 eniries (including insertions) representing pigs of different cobrs (white, black, red, speckled, yellow), habitat (reed thicket), quality ('lordly, royal'; fattened) and origins (see B. landsborgor. Die Fauna des alien Mesopotamien noch der 14, Tolel der Serie HAR-RA �tjUBULLU ASAW 42/6 jlcipzig 1934] 12-15. 100-103 and id., MSI 8/2, 19-21). This section oF HI, 14 implies ihol pigs were indeed dealt wilh in earlier lexicol lisls in the some paradigmatic and artificial completeness inotc lhal mosl of itw Hh pig designations ore not attested in the contemporary administrative lexis), ond. of course, the odmimsMive importance ol pigs throughout the third millennium makes their exclusion from Ihe lexicol record unthinkable. A number of other mistakes in Sleinkeller's atgumenl con be corrected here:

1) The ideo of o list ol dogs derives Irom Falkenslein and not Irom Green (see above, n. 390).

2| Steinke'let docs not know the meoning ol mosl ol ihe sign oombinalions accompanying SUBUR in the

list and so cannot contend that rhcy were nol 'even remotely connected wilh pigs or pig products'

[p. 212; In loci, rhr. comb 1 no I ions listrtd above unquesiionobly represent quolificottons ol domesticated

□nimols and am fully consistent with pigs'. 3) ZATU539 is not 'undoubtedly SUBUR'. The reoding ol this sign was. in foot, only determined by opting

tor one 0i il,o two signs which .n the f010 period swmed to have replaced it in line 7 of Ihe lexicol list



Texts �rom the Late Uruk Period

Administratis Systems - Administrative offices

name-generating exercises - a phenomenon well documented from later periods but olso known, fot example, in Hie archaic list of domestic animals3''8 - would make such a complex list imaginable, if not plausible. Thus the list here would presume a categorizat cn of primarily domesticated animals, their products, prooably including meat cuts and means of cooking or preservirg/salling, and workers involved in the breeding, herding and slaughtering of

Pigs-Only one presently known prolo-cuneiform account records the keeping of herds of (wild ?] pigs (archaic sign Cc, conventionally read SAHjo [-SUBURgi-rrw]3'*'). The Uruk III period

Liij A, the signs SAH2 -LAK40ond 1N57+SAH7 ■- IAK39. Sumerian iubur, for which see ATU 3, 70, and E. Arcari, La lisla di profession 'Early Dynastic IUA'\... \ (Naples 1982) 13 and 31, and below, n. 399. t have demonstrated in PS Boehmcr (Mains 1995', p. 1258, that this presumed correspondence to SUBUR was in fact erroneous, and again proposed a conventional reading SAH ol the archaic sign.

4) SUBUR - 'pig1 is dearly attested in MSVO 4, 72 obv. i 5 (1N, SAKIRa [-DUG+N1.J SUBU?. following entries with notations of quantities of fish and fish containers; note the probable precuisor of the sign UZU [SUBUR+X] in the p-occding entry of the same text, also found in W 2 14 18,3 [ jnpubl.j obv. iii 3 after entries for dairy fat and fish), and probably in 55 obv. i 5 and ii 5 11N57^SUBUR), possibly in ATU 5, pi. 49, W 9206. c ond pi. 97, W 9656,cs (these are the texts identified by Steinkeller p. 213 as ATU 1, nos. 85 and 1 B4, respectively, erroneously identifying ATU-55 [=1N57-i SUBUR] with SAHj]. The entries SUHURand SUBUR concluding the two accoun's vV 1201 5 and 20572.2 (unpubl.). moreover, reflect a practice known From pre-Sarganic Grrsu (|. Morzohn, VS 25, 42 obv. if 2: 2 sah5.9 tgj os las' ent-y following several recording fish and turtles, all delivered by a named fisheries foreman|. Note also the Inclusion in VV 13946,a (ATU 2, pi. 47) obv. ii 4 of SUBUR with a metal object AN TAG ., possibly o slaughtering oxe (cp. the Old Akkadian text TMH 5, 147, 2: sen sah2 tag,,",d',).

5] The identification of age designations in the list is not 'merely a supposition" (ord correct 'horizontal 1, 2H 3' to 'horizontal 1, 2'). It is tiring to repeat the consistency with whici these designations are used In archaic sources, including the text W 23948 ci'ed by Steinkeller o. 212 as evidence- of archaic pigherdlng (the account [see below, fig, 64] does nol lis) two herds of 5AH? and "'K:�?-SAy2, os Slelnkeller seems to imply; note additionally that ihe combination IN^+SAHj in the account is fully parallel to lN^+SUBUR in MSVO 4, 55, etc., cited above, and constituting the second entry of the 'Piglisl), ond the logical development later age designations of domestic animals represent relative to these early qualifications

Nevertheless, it would be foolish not to entertain suggestions of alternative interprefaliors to -ho reputed 'Prgtisl' if they show some merit. However, the old argument of personal designations {p. 213) makes no more sense now than when it was first considered and rejee'ed by Fa ken srein - particularly in light of the new evidence not available to the German scholar concerning ihe orcfioic designations of laborers, which makes superfluous a discussio". of 'dogs/seivan's', 3,3 See above, section 5.

m Pictography and later use o! the sign make sufficiently clear its referent pig The sign is also found inscribed in the sign DUGjO) representing a container of lard in Ihe archaic exreat lisl Vessels' (above, fig. 29, I. 48); see ATU 3, 123-134, in particular the lines 21-61. SAH. is in fact the piciographic precursor of the s:gn with Sumeriar reading soh2 or sah? - the s'-gn inscribed in ihe vessel DUG^ was in the corresponding line of both of the Early Dynas'ic text witnesses [SF 64 iii 1 2 ond OIP 99, no. 9 iii 3") replaced by 5AH2 - IAK 4Q (•**--*), Compare the entries SAH? c b? ,/g uj/amar/om) in the ED cattle list (SF 81, CUP 99H 25-26, MEE 3, nos. 12-17, ond Ihe syllabic version MEt 3, no. 62 (edited most recenlybyj. Krecher, OrAnt 22, 1983, 179-189]| corresponding to SAhLAB, etc. in lines 20 and 46 of ihe archaic version (ATU 3, pp. 90-91; meaning unclear, usually teod dun), the entry SAH, kus in Ihe ED fish list[SF 9-1 I, MEE 3, nos. 27-38) corresponding to SAH?o KU in I. 15 of theatchaic version (ATU 3, p. 94; pig fish), and the entry 1A2:SU SAH> in the ED grain list {SF 1 5-16, MEE 3, nos, 48j-49, and see the Old Akkadian vetsion AADP 27, 196) corresponding to I. D5 of the archaic version (ATU 3, p. 144; probably 'po-k on a Hook').



IN�?.Šl!Btlt ŠUBUR AB;


u/lNjrt ŠUBUR' 'SUBUR'[ ]




'KUj,'1 SUBUR rĚUBUR' u4

ZAIUoSo,, bu0 ŠUBUR ŠUBUR �.la















URq šueur SNjy.ŠUeuR






SAG�J ŠU3JR logo


Figure 63: The presumable pig lisl W 12139

Note the lirsl ihree erlries of the obverse with the progression ŠUBUR, IN57<ŠU8UR and 2N57+ŠUBUR ["pig", "pig (in its) firs' (year)", 'pig (in its) second (year)'). The left edge of the toblet contains a numerical notation recording the tool number of entries in the lisl (58).



Teds from Id? Lote Uruk Period

Figure 64; Pig-herding account

The copy and transliteration of the archaic Uruk text W 23948 follow A. Covigneau*. BoM 22 [ 1991) 57 (small differences between Ihe drawing here and lhal ol Cavigneaux result Iro-n my collation mode in Baghdad in April 1986). The lower drawing contains a secure rcconsriuc'ion of ihe totals on the reverse of the loblel,


Admiristtotrve Systems - Admrmsirctive offices

account (figure 64) does, however, offer a good general outline of pigherding in ihe archaic period. The text apparently records the distribution of animals from a large herd of 95 pigs into two groups of adults assigned temple units in Uruk and a third comprised of juvenile animals. Despite the fact lhal the obverse of the text is almost entirely destroyed, its preserved traces of deeply impressed numerical signs confirm the assumption (hot this side of the tablet contained specific information about numbers of animals subsumed in lolols on the tablet reverse. Il is ihus possible to recognize three columns on the obverse which likely correspond to the three main entries of the first column on the reverse face.4™

The reverse of the partially destroyed account can be completely reconstructed. The first of three columns (counting from the right) consists ol three entries, of which the first and third are further divided into two sub-cases to the right and one case to the left lhal contained a subtotal of animals listed in the sub-cases. Individual entries of numbers of pigs were qualified with the sign conventionally read BA [$-}, distributed' / 'inspected"401 or through the addition to their corresponding numerical notation of horizontal strokes (system S'), apparently designating slaughtered animals402 The two qualifications BA and the numerical system S' are employed la form ihe second subtotals in the second column ol the reverse of the occount, comprising 84 BA animals and 11 counted using system S'; the addition of these two entries results in the final total of animals, qualified in the last (left) column of the reverse as'altogether (LAGABb/niginj) 95 grain(-fed, SEj pigs'. The animals are also qualified in the text according to their age; young pigs in their first year denoted 1 NJ7+SAH!o (-ftp)403 were not assigned one of ihe two households recorded in the first two cases of the reverse.404

0 The closest parallel to ihis lent known to me was pub'ished by M.W. Green, JNES 39, 33, no. 39 -W 1772�,gi (photo: UVB 1 I [ 1940) pi. 3Bb), an account of □ herd of 77 sheep.

11 The sign. In subsequent periods used to denote the distribution of rations to dependent workers and animals, seems best translated in archaic sources with 'inspected' ('and found lo be available, piclogrom 'eye'), roughly corresponding to later Sumerian gub or gal3, or possibly gurum, (IGI+GAR). See P. Steinkeller, 'On the Reading andrVieaning of igi-karond gutum(lGI.GAR),'AS) 4 (1982) 149-151.

" First discussed by M.W. Green, JNE5 39 (1980) 8, and interpreted as □ qualification of sacrificial animals. A.A. Vojmon, VDI 1981/4, 81-82 (see Ihe German translation in BaM 21 (1990) 116-117), subsequently proposed a translation 'staug^tered', which seems to make better sense in context, connecting the sicn semantically and graphically to lotei BAD.

:3 The horizontal stroks belore the sign SAH3o is fully parallel lo the sign combination U4+1NJ7 BAR used in the herding accounts discussed above, fig. 49, to auolify or.imo's born in the accounting year of ihe text whereby the first sign is known lo represent 'one' or the 'first" year (cp. R.K. Englund, JESHO 31 [ 198BJ 156-162]. Old Sumerian accounts record the following corresponding qualifications of pigs: sob; u2 SAl/nito 5a3.HI for piglets/shoals, Jab, Uj SAl/nilo mu. 2-3 for pigs in iheir 2nd and 3rd years (in oil likelihood including gilts, sows and borrows), ond sohj.s'rgi for breeding hogs, possibly boors ("reed thicket' pigs; cp. A. Deimel, Ot 20 [1926] 57-59; R.K. Englund, JESHO 31, 141-147).

u The institutions were signo'ed oy the signs TUR. (**<1| and ZATU648 f*9), comprised of a simplified lorm of ihe sign DU^, o piclogrom of a reed hut, ana a sign representing a cultic standard or emblem attached to a pole which stood at the from of and was possibly a struclutgl pari of the hut. These are two of the pictograms which represented presumable temple households in Uruk (see fig. 31 above).



Texts from the Laie Uruk Period


Administrative Systems - Administrate offices

6.3.3. Labor organization

The type of accounting format we have seen employed in recording household herds, including sheep and goats, cafileand pigs, during the archaic period toward the end of the 4lh millennium b.c., and the administrative structures which must be assumed to underlie this format, in particular the goal of maximizing control and regulating production of the animals, was not restricted to domesticated beasts. Prolo-cuneilarm documents seem also to reward us wilh intriguing, albeit obscure information about the organization and exploitation of men and women, whose labor ond low maintenance created the economic surpluses requisite for a growing urban elite; for the same archaic administrative interest in recording, as an example, the age of herded animals may be demonstrated in the organization of dependent labor. Individually named laborers are commonly found in archaic accounts, in which persons involved are totaled and specified by the signs SAL and KURo ;i.|). Both signs are probably pictographic representations of human genitalia, the first sign designating the female and the second the male laborer. The compound sign called GEME, [p-ifi in the sign list AT U 2 represented both male and female laborers in the same way as the sign combination (^J>> (ABj+GU,, 'cow+bull', see above) denoted 'cattle' in dairy accounts. The text w 23999, 1 depicted in figure 65 contains an account of eight humans designated in the summa'ion SAl+KURa {fXjl-J05 SAL and KUR, are here, just as in occounts recording herds of small and large cattle and, in the case of w 23948, pigs, booked separately according to sex and age: a group of five females consists of four women and one girl, a group of three males of one man and 2 boys.''06 The only difference between the method of accounting for herded animals and for ihis group of humans, possibly slaves, lies in the fact 'hat Following entries of numbers of each sex and age category individual cases record the names of the persons involved.*7 These accounts thus give a strong impression not of being an early census, but rather of being an account of a "herded" family of name-cognizant humans,

405 This compositum was first recognized by A.A. Vajman, 'Die Bezeichnung von Skbven und Sklavinnen in der protosumerischen Schiifl,' BaM 20 [1939) i 21-133 (German translation o( Ins Russian article in VD! 1974/2, 138-148; seealso td„ VD1 1981/4, 81-87 - BaM 21 11990) 1 16-1 23), to represent male and temale humans; the stril seen reading geme? of ihe composilum in archaic lexis is to be rejected. See now the treatment of the signs in proto-cuneiform and proto-Elamite texts in P. Damerow ond R.K. Englund Tope Yahya, 24 and 53-57.

404 Based on this account, it has been possible to identify a number of other archaic texts of like formol and parallel contents, including the second accounr in fig. 65 (and cp. thejemdel Kasr accounts MSVO 1 212-214 [see also Archaic Bookkeeping, 72-75). Nate ihe clear correspondence in the boolkeepinai of Ihe children qualified SA3 TUR in W 23999,1 (cf. ihe entry obv. ii 3a; 2N, ; 1 N^+U^ TUR in W 20274,2 as a possible further correspondence; the qualification n lolet periods was so,.HI [for children and juvenile animals!]) and Ihe animals quolilled 1 N^'kJ, ond I N5.,r SAH?„ for large and small cattle and p;gs, respectively. This is not to say that llie designation SA)(| TUR will have qualified infants in their first year, but rather probably children which weie 'non-exploitable', i.e., loo young to be set to some task. H. Wcelzofdt estimated in 'Die Situation der Frauen und Kinder anha.nd ihrer Einkommensverhdllnis-se zur Zeit der III. Dynaslie von Ur,' AoF 15 (1988) 40, ihol children wil! hove been employed during ihe Ur III period beginning al iho age of 5 or 6.

i0? These together with fu't'ner sign combinations in comparable lexis should, as inconl'oveilible designatiens of individual persons, play a role in any attempt ot language decipherment of iho archaic lexis see above, section 4). It must be kept in mind, however, thai, as is known from historic periods, dependent laborers ond slaves often bore foreign names.


io M\ . SAl

Ibis 4N| , SAL

Iblbl 'NAB^H'BUo+DUtT

Iblb2 r3„! AN"

Iblb3 ANStt 7Nj7 CUSz DU

IbIM GAR �fc

Ib2c IN) ;5A3„l TUR

Ib2b TUb

2a '3N,1. KUH,

"2b lo 1N| , KUR�


<b!= 2Ni :SAs„l TUR"

2b2bl 'Git, KISIKo UU^

2b2b2 [ ]


8Ni ; SAl+KUk EN„ EZENb AN HI URIjo ZAtU/74

W 20774,2

i la 1N| ; Al


2a INi .EN,TUB


3a 2N) ; INs^UjUJ

3b 1 GAULU2

3b? XWSEN&Ns?

.la 2N| ;BULUG3

4b' SUZI„

4b! Zi„ SUBUR PAP,,

5a INi tkllbA

5b GtrGI PltiGbi

6a INi ; SU

6b M�l DURj

obv, i

8N| iBARS^/vb'EZENorSlV 3Ni7.NUNIJZ0i

Figure 65: Accounts o' herded humans?

Cooies and liansliteialions el the human 'herd accounts W 23999,1 (ohei A. Covigneaux, EoM 22, 74; collated) and W 20274,7. The lexis record a g'oupof eight probab'e slaves, divided into smallei groups according lo so< and age in rhe lirsl, and possibly in the second texr, and named. The reverses are uninscribed.


Tc'xb Frcm trc _aic Uru*. Period

Adininiiiroiive Sys'ems - AdminisValrve atfices

Figure 66: W 9827

The lext contains an apparent account of a njmber of groups of male and female laborers, listed Individually on the obverse ([ |+23 in the fits, column, ?2+[ ] in ihe second) and totaled on the reve-se (preserved is □ notation representing in rhe sexagesimal system 21 1 +( ] Wale and mole laborers, in potO-c'J neiform SAUKURj.

Figure 67: W 20274,93

According to later rationing sys'ems. grain was distributed ro Icbo-e-s on o regular basis, wool or finished garmen's irregularly, usually once a year. A similar system seems documented in the above account, which records the cppa-enl distribution to individuals of one TUG3tJ i BAD i BAD (a lype of lexti'e] and 360 producis coun'ed in the bisexagesimal system and thus presumably discrete groin rolions.

It has not been possible to more closely quantify the numbers o: persons controlled in this fashion by the archaic administrations of Mesopotamia. Such persons, who might conventionally be called 'slaves™6 until further text finds offer us a belter basis far understanding

toe see discussions of V.V. Strove, 'Some New Data on the Organization of Labour and on Social Sttucture in Sumer duri ng the Reign of the lllrd Dyna sVcJUr,'intl.Vi.DiokmcJfied.),Ancientj'v^esopotamb [...] (Moscow 1969) 1 27-172 (English translation ol cn article from 1949), G.A. Melikltvili, 'Esclavage, feoooiismeetrrodedeproductionasiolique dans lOrienl ancieV in: Sur le'Modede production asiolique' (Centre d'Eludes etde Recherches morxistes, Paris 1974) 257-277, I.M. Diakonoff, 'AAoin Feolures of the Economy in the Monarchies of Ancient Western Asia,' in; The Anient Empires and The Economy (Section Vlllj, Troisieme Conference Internaliona'e d'Hisloite Economique. Munich 1965, (Paris, The Hague 1969) 1 3-32, id., "Sieves, Helots ond Serfs in Early Antiquity,' AciAnlH 22 11974) 45-78,' and

theit exact status, are, however, booked into larger accounts. Such lexte as W 9827 [figure 66), presumably of Uruk IV date, reoresenl a consolidation of at least several smaller accounts, each of which wos recorded in one case of the text's obverse face. The groups of 20+ individuals in those entries were added on the reverse of the tablet in a total of 211 + SAL+KURo.

Several archaic 'exls from Jemdet Nasr more precisely qualified laborers designated SAL and KURc wilh the signs SAG+MA (tS3f?j and FRIM ft)409 The latter sign was a pictographic representation of a yoke and presumably denoted fetered captives of war, consistent wilh reliefs from later periods depicting yoked enemies being led into captivity.'"0 The sign combination SAG+MA did not survive past the archaic period. Nevertheless, we con, wilh some confidence, interpret its constituents to signify a human [the head SAG, known also as a constituent part, together with GAR, of the sign GU7, 'ration for a human') and a pictogram for a cord used to hong fruit to dry (MA), employed in the archaic texts to denote certain categories of fruit. Consequently, the sign combination SAG+MA probably originally signified captives being led awoy with a rope tied round their necks. Both signs ERIM and SAG+MA q-jaiified, following ihis interpretation, persons subjected to forced labor, and these were generally qualified SAL and KURo.

Further data regarding the administration of dependert laborers can be culled from accounts of their victualing.'''1 Since no less than in later periods these laborers will have been given only enough to guarantee tor their productivity, we can assume thai in line with Ur III practice they received approximately a liter of grain daily, and in yearly allotments a new garment, o' the amount of wool necessary to make one. One acccunt might reflect such o system of distribution in the archaic period. The obverse face of the text W 20274,93 (figure 67] consists of entries divided into two notations. The first represents '1' of the garments designated TUG,a+BAD+BAD followed by sign combinations representing apparent persons or officials,"'2 the second is only numerical and represents 3 120 = 360. We can assume that this otherwise unqualified notation stands for grain rations since these are the particular field of application o" the bisexagesimal system, and given the fact thai the administrative timekeeping system of

I. J. Gelb, 'From Freedom to Slavery,' in: D.O. Edzard, (ed.), Gesellschaftsklassen im Alien Zweistrom-lond und in den angrenzenden Gebieten, CRRAI 18 (M�nchen 1972) 81-92, id., 'Prisoners of War in Early Mesopotamia,' JNES 32(1973) 70-98, id., 'Definition and Discussion of Slavery ond Serfdom," UF 11 (1979| 283-297 (with detailed bibliography pp. 295-297), id., 'Terms for Slaves in Ancient Mesopotamia,' FS D.okonoff |Wcrminster 1982) 81-9B; for later periods cf, R. Weslbrook, 'Slave and Master in Ancionl Near Eostern Low,' Chicago-Kent Low Review 70 (1995] 1631-1676; M.A. Dondomaev, Slavery in Babylonia. From Nabopolossor to Alexarder the Great (626-331 B.C.) (DeKalb, IL. 1984), in pcrliculor pp. 30-35 [history of research). <w 5^ the lex's MSVO 1. 212-214 and 217.

4.0 The sign came lo rep re sen! 'military troop' and later 'soldior/loborer' (Sumerian reading erin;) only after its immediote pictographic meaning wos losl.

411 The question of the ihird millennium system of rationing has oloyed an important role in judging the nature of those receiving rolions. The semincl wotk of I. J. Gelb, 'The Ancient Mesopotamian Rotion System," JNES 24 (1965| 230-2rl3, remains a primary source bra general survey of rations.

4.1 The second case contains Ihe combination EN„ BA KIQ ZATU647, also found in the geography lisl ATU 3, 160 no. 1, obv. iii 9 (meaning unclear].



Texts from the late Utuk Per on

ihe archaic period operates with a 360-day year i- may be posited that tie counted rations represent one 'man-year'.'"3 Unfortunately, no other accourts exhibit this gaiment/grain product relationship.*""1

Numerous accounts, as well as the archaeological record, do support on assumption thai in ihe redistribulive archaic admin istralion grain was rationed to household dependents at a late consonant with later tradition. A. Deimel firs' recognized in 1933 the pictographic referent of the sign GAR (Sumerton 'ninda' and Akkadian correspondence akdu) cs a dining bowl;*"5 since H.J. Nissen's discussion of the beveled-rim bowl, c so-called diagnostic wore dating from the Middle Uruk, but at its most common duing the Late Uruk period and found in great masses in archaic levels of Uruk, which he interpreted to be a rationing bowl represented by GAR, no consensus has been reachea in the field as to the ultimate function of these devices, Suggestions have ranged from the reasonable bread-baking mold, to the less plausible vessels for yogurt or salt/10 Certainly the written sources give cear testimony to the correctness of Nissen's original interpretation. Counted cereal products in grain accounts are generally totaled and qualified wild the ideographic sign GAR.*"7 These products can contain the equivalent of grain represented by Ihe sign N, down to a measure represented

by N,

the archaic grain capacity system. The ideogram does have a specific

metrological equivalent in archaic accounts, however; with some variations, it corresoonds lo ihe numerical sign N3Ckj equal to '/50 of the sign N, in the capacity system"10

413 Note the I the same relation applies to the preceding, damaged entry. T.ne only other reasonable interpretation of this 1 ;360 rot:o is thai the grain product notation represents a value equivalent of the garment, but the reverse summations suggest that the textile products SU, and TUG2 -BAD • BAD and the small cattle UDU were held in the account as discrete objects ana not consolidated into a common value equivalent such as groin.

*"J Two unpubl. accounts, W 21016,4 ond 21019,4 share common notations of 3N,, - '360' (rations}.

Thctr fragmentary state, however, makes a |Udgmenl of the putpose ol these quonlilies impossible 413 SI 2, 597,

416 Indeed, die discussion o' the function of these bowls continues unabated. Beyond R.K. Englund. 'Administrative Timekeeping in Ancient Mesopotamia, JESHO 31 (1988) 121-185, in parliculor pp. 162-164 with the treatment of the text MSVO 4, 27 (fig. 68 here), accord ng lo which the role ol GAR as a raiioning unit rep-esenting one day of grain in the archorc system oF administrative liT.ekeep\ng wos firmly established, see the mosl recent discussions in A.R. Millard, 'The Bevelled-Rim Bowls: Their Purpose and Significance,' Iraq 50 (1988) 49-57, and G. Buccellati, 'Salt ol the Down o! History: The Case of the Bevelled-rim Bowls," in; P. Matlhiae etal. (edsj. Resurrecting the Past |...J (leiden 1990) 17-40.

417 The pioduct GAR seems to stand in contrast lo GUGJt, ideioling baked breeds ?); see MSVO 1 109 obv. iii la, 111 rev. ri lo, and compaJe the summation rev. i 1 of groin producls booked in ATU 5 pi 38, W 9123,oe (DU8c, SIG2o3, ZATU7260. and GA5) with ihe similar Qualification of o total in the'texl W9169,c.

418 See above, fig. 41.

•�"> See P. Domerow ond R.K. Englund, ATU 2, 153-15460, and add MSVO 1, 140, ob/. i 1 a, with an explicit N30j qualifying c GAR reconstructed accotding lo Ihe parallel text MSVO 1, 13 B, and Archaic Bookkeeping, p. 42, Fig. 38, obv. ii 5o(co. 1N„ pe- unil), and R.K. Englund, JE5HO 31, 162-164. For a comprehensive list of further qualifications of the producls GAR wilh metrological and ideographic signs, see the appendix to my article 'Groin Accounting Praclices in Archoic Mesopotamia,' in: J, Hayrup and P. Domerow (eds.), Changing Views on Ancient Neot Eastern Mathematics (Be-lin. forthcoming).

Adrrinisliclive System* - Administrative olfices

• 1

MSVO 4, 17

Figure 68: Daily bread

Our best evidence surjejests that the beveled-rim bowl was an instrument of the archaic raiioning system, equivalent to a doily ration of about 0.S1. The grain no'otion in the first case cf the text MSVO 4, 27, represents a measure equal lo 24 x 30 x M3yo. thai is. 24 30-day months at one-thiitieth N, per day. This one-lhirlicth ol the basic measure t>],, represented by the sign N30d, is known to correspond to the sign GAR inscribed immediately after the tirnekeepina notation and th s piclogram represents ihe beveierj-rim bowl. The notation 2N, 2Nj<j (=2.4 NT in the sub-case of the firsl entry represents exactly one-tenth of the omcunt recorded in ihe notation 4N)4 (- 24 nt).

The Tag men' of an account pictured in figure 68 offers the clearest textual evidence for Ihe meaning of the sigr GAR. MSVO 4, 27,*7� contains a notation recording a grain dislributton, qualified as GAR, over a period of 24 months (represented by ihe sign combination U4x2Nl4.4N,). The resulting measure of grain (represented by 4N.J divided by (24 months* 30 days per month -) 720 days gives us a measure of V3!> * N, (remembering that 4NM = 24N,), or exactly 1 N30o of grain per day. This is precisely the amount we would expect to correspond to GAR and, as was discussed obove, section 6.2, implies a close relationship between the archaic system of administrative timekeeping ard the giain capacity system, namely, that GAR grain' equals one day, and lhal'lN, GAR grain' equals one month. The absolute size of the beveled-rim bowl shows a variance of between aboul0.5 and 1 liter,'1" and so is fully consistent with the amounts of grain distributed daily to dependent workers in later third millennium administrative centers.

6.3.4. Grair and grain products

The major activity of loborers al all times in Mesopotomian history consisted of the tending ol fields. Third millennium accounts recorded ihe plowing and sowing of individually surveyed fields, the necessary irrigation and 'ending of the crops, ond the lobor-intensive harvest and storage ol the grain. Legendary yields of 50:1 and better were documented, and even the norm of 30:1 according lo which cereol harvests were predicted and rents and interest calculated in the Ur III period would have appeared fabulous to medieval farmers in Europe."*''

4M Edited in JESHO 31, 162-164.; see above, n. 266.

431 See slil ATU 2, 153-154�, ord Ihe literature cited above, n. 385.

177 See K. Butz. Tandwirlschall,' in RIA 6 (19B0-B3) 470-486, K. Bui?, ond ?. Schr�der, 'Zu Getreideer-Ircgen in Mesopotamien und dem Millelmeergebiel,* BoM 16(19B5) 165-209, andMA Powell, 'Salt. Seed, ond Yields in Surr.erion Agriculture. A Critique of the Theory of Progressive Solinization,' ZA 75 (1985) 7-38. B. Hruška hos published on excellent survey cl current knowledge of Mesopotomian agricultural p-oclices in ihe preprint series of the Mox Planck Institute for ihe History of Science, Berlin, entitled Sumerion Agriculture: New Findings (no. 26, Berlin 1995).



Texts from ihe Lore Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

figure69:MSV0 3. 79 the single enliy probably represents u consolidation of an account corilairrcd or: ano'hrrr loblet, including notation u' u targe amcunt ol grain inn 135,OX liters;, on accounting period of 37 months, and the responsible ollice KU SIM".

It is thus not unexpected that I he majority of crchoic accounts ore concerned with cereals. However, texts currently available to us seem to document with very few exceptions exclusively the storage and distribution of grain. Such accounts can be recognized above all through the inclusion, usually in ihe key position of colophons, ol ihe sign SEn , a pictogrum of

a barley spike}, of a numerical notation using the grcin capacity system, or of an ideogram which denotes a grain product, often collectively qualified with the sign GAR |JJ>, a piccgran of a beveled-rim bowl probably used to hold a daily ration of grain) or DUG (c�>, a pictogram of a clay jar with spoul) representing dry groin pioducls and beer, respectively. For example, the account MSVO 3, 79 [figure 69;/" contains a atge grain capacity system notation'124 corresponding, il our interpretation of ihe absoljle si?e of 'he measures represented by the individual members of the grain capacity system are correel, lo approximately 135,000 liters of grain. The nolation is qualified with the object designation SEo and the largest monlh nolation known from the archaic lexl corpus, namely, a notation representing 37 months.'"5 Even though we are not in a position to interpret the firal neaping of the ideographic notation cccompanying these signs,''"' ihe size ol ihe groin measuie recorded in this text remains an important indication of the size and probable camp'exily of household economies active in the Late Uruk period.

A pair of Uruk III period grain accounts, bolli possibly from Uqaii, reco'd in eigh- cases amounts of grain again qualified with ihe sign SEo and with sign combinations representing

451 The text idenlilicolion refers to the archaic tablels ol ihe Erlcnmeyer collodion [sec above, n. 49), to be

edited forlhcoming by P. Damcrcw and myself in the volume MSVO 3. JJJ Recognizable in ihe final sign N J5a t—; the repetition of the sign NIit six limes would also exclude both ihe

sexagesimal arid bi sexagesimal syslerns Irom consideration). J'5 Thai is, Ihiee years plus one monlh. Whelher litis in any way reflects an archaic inkiicolotion in o three

year cycle, as was common in later administrations, is a matter ol speculation 43ft They mighl reflect an exchange transaction account consolidating lite gram tr.ed in the brewing ofiice of

the official 'KU SIM' (see Archaic Bookkeeping, pp. 36-37; dunng ihis period o! 37 inonlli. To put ihe

amounl in perspective: 135,000 liters ol groin would be sullicicnt rations la Ined a crew of I 50 workmen

for o period of three yeors.

MSVO 4, ?

Figure /0: l.ight-yeoi giotn accounts MSVO 4, 1-2

'he fitsl ihiough the eighlh year of an uncleor adminisltative period (figure 70).''" Although the individual grain measures aie furlher qualified according lo the apparent field connccled with the gra n, the pu-pose of this connection is unclear, since the grain would appear to have neilhet served as sued nor have been ihe harvesl of the named fields'128

'■'J? 1 -8NW ■ wli'-i"!)y in in second 'ex! 8N,i7. U, is replaced by lire simplified 8NW inscribed with two rows ol four slrok'ts nrich. Sire cjbovo, section 6.2. This type of account with ordinally reckoned years is comparable lo IN- lim" notation:, ovd summations in the artificial 10-yeor Ur III occcr.nl TCL 2, 5499, for which see Archaic Ronll.r-opmg. pp. 97-102,

"* Tlx? apparent tjitificiol calcutalions ol giom rotion dislnbutions (signaled by notations represenling round numbers and Ijy th" sign GU. i SAG ■ GAR| in no. 1, rev. i 1) and Ihe loci Ihol both totals ore equal to a lorgo measure t*quivolr-nt lo 660 of ihe Ixisic giom mcosure units N, (represenling a measure of appronnxjtfly 7ti ItiTs cjnd :o cittogelner co. 16.500 liters oi 10 tons of gram) ol least suggest Ihol the lexis might ri'pn.'ynt picxluclion or cost norms.



Texts From the Late Uruk Period

Administrate Systems - Administrative oHices

Grain distribution

Aside from such accounts of larger amounts of grain measured in the capacity system, numerous archaic accounts record the distribution of grain in the form of dry grain products and beer. The Uruk III period text presented in figure 71 is a good example of these types of accounts. The first case of ihe text's obverse contains two sub-cases. In the first, o bisexagesimal notation tepresenting 598 discrete units is qualified by the sign GAR, so denoting grain rations. In the second, a sexagesimal420 notation representing 59 units is qualified by the sign DUG,., denoting jars of bee\"x The function of the text seems indicated on its reverse face. The sign BA (*r) inscribed alone in the final column to the tight must represent a global qualificalion of the grain products and beer recorded on the obverse; the often close relationship of this sign with notations including the sign GAR seems to suggest that is had □ meaning similar to the later tradition of distribute .

This qualification 'distribution' was particularly common in ihe archaic texts and was used to represent the transfer of goods to lower- and to higher-level stale dependents. A BA transaction concerning high-level officials is recorded in the texts MSVO 3, 64 and 58 (figure 72;. The obverse of ihe former tablet has 4 entries, each recording a specific amount o: grain in the capacity system, and each including the title of an official. The first, second end fourth entries include professional designations which are fouid bolh in the lexical list Lu; A and in many administrative accounts. The sign combination ENc SAl of the third entry is not found in ihe professions list; it is, however, very common in accounts, particularly in this form in accounts from Jemdel Nasr, where it probable describes the wife of the ruler, ENc. The reverse side of ihe tablet contains the usual sum of the entries, qualified by the signs SEo and BA (presumably "grain distribution'), and further sign combinations "KU SlM" and 'Nl SA", which stand for two persons or offices; these are probably co-signers lor the transfer of the grain. A similar account is MSVO 3, 58. Numerical notations representing relatively large measures of grain are booked into entries quolified with sign combinations designating persons, including here the same 1KU SIM" and 'Nl SA' who in the first account signed the grair out. The receiving persons in this account, however, are not known from the professions list. A working hypothesis lo explain both accounts would be that the named individuals were heads of rather large households who received grain distributions from communal storage facilities."3'

41v We know this notation, which in another context might be bisexagesimal, is from the sexagesimal system, since all archaic notations ot vessels which cross the ' 120 barrier' continue with the r60' (t" -) and not with the 'l 20 (Hi signs characteristic of the bisexcgesimal system

430 Note the close approximation of a 10; l reialionship between dry grain products and jars of beer, which may themselves have hod a capacity of ca. eight l:ters. If the beer was brewed at the rale of l; l (one measure of grain per measure of finished beer] - the brewing ratio of the common man in later periods -ond if ihe sign GAR represented the standard measure equal lo that represented by the sign N30a (see above, seclion 6.3.3), these sizes would imply that the two notations of GAR and DUG0 were roughly value-equivalent.

431 Bolh texts also offer straightforward evidence of calculations in the capacity system. In AASVO 3, 64, the addition consisls of 2 units of -he size("->, i 2 units of ihe size •. + 22 units of ihe size�, + I unit of the size n=. The lotol con be seen to be fully consistent with the replacement rules ol the capacity system

i 3^

discussed above, section 6.1, of N3„ = 3N,j, and NJ;


Figure 71: An account of 'bread and beer'



Texrs from fhe Late Uruk Period

AdminpHioilrvcr' Srystemi - Ad minimi ulive offices

••• •UP/ IS


msvo 3. sa



Tigure 72: AASVO 3, 64 and 58

These two consolidated accounts contain noiaiions on their obverse faces icpjraoniing gram dislnbuf-ons (sign BA f on obve;se ond revei&e) to ntgh officials, and a oumma'inn or- il-p u?vnim. Tlte office "KU SIM' cppiirenlfy signed the norc with Nl SA' in (he upper account; note Ihol hoifi offices were tliems5rw?s beneficiaries ordisfrrbutions recorded in foe lower accounL

I Bo



• • -• • > • • — *8\

• • — as;* 1*1

• # j v-

• :r

\^' '- #■ eg!

M5V0 3.51

Figure 73 MSV0 3. 57 and 51

The Nvo tablets. Inscribed only on tlx? obverse, represent presumably consolidated nccounis of beer prccuc-Han drown From separata tablets. In tlx* first cose, natations representing amounls ol barley grools ond mall were subsumed .n a total qualified as 'BA, distribution"; ihe account is o functional duplicate of the led half o1 'lie second tablet, which inducer] oddil oini'y. ml- es recording distribution to two separate offices (?'l t'NAGA i ij� I ontl "DUE" :c|gl)). The graphics to the right indicate the indwduol summanda of the respective- texts


Texts (torn the lote UrtA Period

Adnnnistrolive Systems - Administrative offices

Another pair of accounls from the Erlenmeyer collection, MSVO 3, 52 and 51 [figu-e 73) offer more explicit information about the function of the official 'KU SIM'. Since these two and a series of further accounts identify KU SIM" as an official responsible for the processing and distribution of large meosures of cracked grain or grocts on the one hand (represented by notations in the derived capacity system S*], and of malted barley on the other (represented by notations in the derived capacity system S'), we have concluded that he is responsible for a brewery directly related la an archaic central administration,^ Although only noted on the former, we can assume lhat both accounts dealt with distributions [sign BA) of the brewing ingredients - these being the expenditure journals of the office of "KU SIM". Like the accounts discussed above, these texts offer fine examples of the complexity of a-choic grain accounls. The same sort of complexify, however lo a somewhat higher degree and centered on the use of the global qualifier Gl instead of BA, is found in ihe unprovenienced accounls MSVO 4, 45 and 43 in figure 74. Both lexis register on the obverse face, in two sections separated by a double dividing line, measures ol giain qualified as either barley (by ihe sign SEo and numerical notations in the basic capacity system) and/or emmet wheat (numerical notations in the derived system S")433 together with an ideographic notation whicli must represent individuals who either received or delivered the measures of grain recorded in the same coses, dependent on our understanding of the sign Gl. If ihis sign has o semantic function similar to that of later Sumertan gi/gi4, that is, qualifying ihe movement of goods into a central administrative authority, ihe individuals would be delivering agents.

Grain calculations

Archaic accountants recorded the movement of grain measures from one office to the next, but also were responsible for overseeing the use of groin in the production process. We have seen that barley and emmer were above all ground and processed into dry grain products, probably a mixture of breads and simple ralioning measures, and into barley beer, ledgers recording the amounts of grain in various stages of processing needed lo produce bread and beer belong lo the most numerous ol oil archaic texts. The tablet depicted in figure 75434 is in Fact nol one of those accounts; it is, instead, one of bul several archaic administrative exercises, as is obvious by ihe very large and round numbers represented in its individual cases, and by the fact thai no petsons and no designalions of the purpose of the text are recorded.

432 The loiter of the two texts is only on its surface more complex. Trie left upper half ol the account can be seen to parallel the entire account ol the former text. To the right, more detailed information was included concerning presumable condiments (NAGA0 and DUB ) Gdded to the brews.

433 Barley (six-rowed, Hotdeum hexastichum, and emmer wheat I Tfiticum d/coccum! are in tact the two major cereals which have been paleabolanically idenlifiea in archaic levels ol Uruk; see W. Nogel, RIA 3 (1957-71) 316, ondJ.M. Renfrew, BSA 1 (19B4i 32-44. Thederved capacity system was created by simply adding two short strokes lo eilher side of signs from [he basic system, occasionally simplified to two long strokes drawn through the whole sign. See A. A. Vojman, "Liber die p'olosurnerische Schrift," ActAilH 22(1974) 21-22.

434 MSVO 4, 66; see above, section 6.2, and the first successful treatment of the text in J, Fribetg, ERBM II 33-43, in copy in id., Mothemalik,' RLA 7/7-8 (l 990) 539. According lo Ihe dealer who sold il to the Iraqi department of antiquities in 1933, ihe lablel came from larsa.

The first column of MSVO 4, 66, records numbers of dry grain products counted with the bisexagesimal system, followed in each case with the amount of groin used in their production. In the firs" case, the production of 60 units of 'he product rr {= '/5 • --) required 60 x '/j o -12)-.; (and since 6i = 1 • in the groin capacity system) = 2 �. The same kind of calculations are made in the following coses with ever larger numbers of ever smaller grain products,435 ending not with a memljer of the capacity numerical system, bul with its ideographic equivalent, ihe sign GAR+6NJ7, which as we have seen was the pictographic representation of the beveled-rim rationing bowl supplemented with a varying number of strokes and which had ils correspondence in the capacity system with ihe sign N30o (iSl) representing Vx of the basic unit N, ji ). The second column of the obve.-se face of this lexl records in like fashion jars of beer, using 'he sexagesimal system, and in an accompanying sub-case ihe arnounl of barley grools used in their brewing.436 These clear calculations thus demonstrate the close relationship between numerical systems employed in archaic occounts to qualify discrete objects and the capacity" system used to quclity measures ol grain:

obv. i 1 2NM

2 INS,; 1NM

3 [IN j 1N!6

4 r2N5; 1NM; 1NM 2N;o3Ns

5 5N5,;

6 r5N^ ; GAR~6N57 1N3? 3^2^

ii 1 2N„ ; DUG.+U,. r5N2;iN„ lNJ5o

2 3ISL ; DUG+AS 6N20

3 5N3„ ; KASQ 3N:o 2N5

rev. i 1 1N;,; BA GAR

2 5NH ; GAR+5N57 \N373NK 2N,

3 1N„;DUG0KAS0 1N„ 4Nffl 3N�liM42o

ii 1 IN* 2N„7 QN^, 4N5 1 N„o

2 8N„4N51NW

The� rain calculations:437

obv. i 1 60 x '/j. ■• H " 12xr--

2 120 x1/,,,. (S) =12X1.-- 2x.

Eacr o: ihe products is in foct well represented as such ir, the archaic text corpus, in all cases emptoying the bisexagesimal counting system.

As with ihe dry grain producls, the type of beer recorded in ihe First entry required more grain for its production, the lollcwing two types progressively less, due probably lo the fact that higher beer qualities lequired moie barley in the brewing process than did the beer of the 'common man'. The sign DUG0 is according to ihis text ihe denoter ol o beer vessel of a particular si^e, KASa the c'enalerof ihe liquid itself, The differentiation between DJG0 and DUG,, (cO and d>) wos In the archaic sources very strict. The latter sign lacking Ihe representation ol a spout referred without exception lo vessels containing different kinds of fcls, for Ihe most par' animal fots such as ghee, lard and the like.

The results are shown in the basic capacity system. All calculated groin 'costs1 are in fad in the derived system S* (see above, lig. 41).

1 08


Texrs Ifom fho Laic Uruk Period

• ••so •••5

•• (S� • >^

m \b

'• -rr>-


: t;

pi s

MSVO 4. 45

MSVO 4, A3

Figure 74: A comparison of the ccidilions in the Iwo groin occounls MSV� 4r 45 and 43




rev. i 1

120 x (w) - 8x.

300 x ['"') - 15xi

600 x '/„■ ■ - 24x.


Ix • 2x I 2x. 3xi 4x�


I x • 5x I

The first column of the reverse o! MSVO 4, 66, contains the tola Is of ihe dry grain prcducls and of the beet vessels, in each case with a nolalion of the tola! atr-ounl ol grain used in iheir produclion, added together for a grand Idol of borley g-oals in lite second column to

Administrative Syslems - Administrative t-TfiLes

Rev ill Cj-ond IcM ol boric, �nd cmn-e- wheal

totals o) ;■"/■■. ord e-^r-er hvhprrl

Ov i lbl-2ond 2bl-2: Totals ol bailey und emmei wheol fftr ihu olficicils PA„ AM MAE, and BU„ PAfVj NAM;

?ev I Id ond ?o: ice's ol grorli im the ofiicinls PA^ AN AnAFt0 grid BUt, PAf„ NAM;











the left. A final nolalion below litis grand total represents, as we know from complete accounts of atchaic brewing offices, the anounl of mall added to ihe beer during ils processing.'"" The quantity ol moll added varies occording to the sort of beer (figures 76-77); in the cose of MSVO 4, 66, the molt was added to all three sorts at an average rale of 3 measures ol mall to 5 cf barley groals.

"3B The oblique slrohe adVJed lo lite signs of ihe system 5' is ptesumably ihe pictographic representation of the sprout Irom the individual kernels, jnsl os ihe dotted impressions of the system S * are suggestive of cracked or ioi,g'"-grounr] bar!f?y g-ocit:.

I go


Texts from the late Uruk Fericd

The account recorded on the tablet MSVO 3, 11 (figure 76), offers more exact calculations. The entries on the obverse of the text consist of varying numbers of numerical notations qualified by the signs S�Nb, SENjenO and DUGQ (o(J>, and 5f>i designating types of beer, and followed by an ideographic notation representing a temple household or a high officio!. The reverse of the tablet catries the sum of the jars for each beer type together with the ornount of barley ond malt needed for iheir ptoduction.'"'

The same sequence of entries representing a delivery to one office, recorded in the middle column of the obverse ol MSVO 3, 1 1, is found in another account, MSVO 3, 6 (figure 76). It may be that the latter text merely records a different deliver/ of the some measures of beer; however, we suspect that the oblique stroke added to the sign Gl in the large account1^0 acted as an accounting check-off that the entry had been successfully carried over. A veritable manual of grain calculations was inscribed on one tablet from the Erlenmeyer collection [figure 77). Eleven different ceteaI products ard five kinds of beet wete compiled in a form which, giver subscripts indicating the purpose of the account and for whom if wos drawn up, would have been ascribed So a normal account ng office, lacking ihese ideographic qualifications, the text is, like MSVO 4, 66 (ligure 75), lo be considered a school exercise, AsinMSVOd,66, five different numerical systems were used in theoccount: the bisexocjesimol system For the cereal products, the sexagesmal system lor the beer containers, and three different systems lor the measures of cereals The grain calculations in MSVO 3, 2;

obv. i 1 10 x 7> & = 5x — Ixt:

2 10 x = 3 '/,x-

3 20 x ■■/- (*! = 5x-< Ixi:

/. 30 x M = 6xrr = Ixt.-. Ix-

5 20 y = 4x-

6 60 x '/> - IOx-t - 2x

obv. it 2 30 x (an*) - 5x-. = Ixt- 3x-J"

30 x '/10- km -3x-=

Beers qualified SENl were brewed with ihe addilion of mall at l'ne rate of 1:1 For boih types GAL ond TUR. The beer qualified 511110}/ DJG^ was supplemented wilh mall at [he rote of 2:3. 4J0 Note the same check mork added lo Ihc sign L4 at 'he boltorn oF the firal column, and lo Gl in ihe fourth cose of the ihird column oF ihe text.

The basic system was used for rhe specification of (he quantities of I he ceieal ingredients contained in the products; tfie other t\ro are ihcse de-ived systems used b qualify barley groafi and malt. 412 Differentamounts oFrougrvground barley were requred in the production of the respective units SAgvnO (x) ond [y]. In the first ca� {obv. ii 2[, 30 x o-.d 30 y required the equivolenl of 8N30 grain, or

on average per unit; in the second (obv. m 2), I 20 of ihe former and 60 of Ihe latter products

required the equivalent of ?6N~. Since trie replaeemert of x and y with the Factor V1; would in rhe sccorid case result in (180 x 2/Xi =} 24 instead of ihe recorded 26 Nao, ihe solution which fits both equations 30* + 30y � SN5„ and 12Cx + 60y ^ 26MJ? will require x ^ y. This solution, which also harmonizes with what we '(now from other ottestalfons ol the prodjds concerned, requires thol x ^ 1/ and y - V]0 (solving far y; 120x = 32NW - 120y and \ 20x - 26NOT - 60yp or 60y = 6NW# or y -_- �/lC N3?r with, directly, x = 76 N3J.

Anminisrroiive Systems - Administrative offices

• IBM k---—L, �.-^\


■i> •�.



11 • •

II II • • •

11 11 D '.5�

& AS 1 •f i - 51?

Fiyur^75: MSVO 4, 66

The text piciured above represents one of onty several admin'slralive eKcrcr^c !ab(c1s from ihe archaic corpus. Firsl putJishod and porholly understood by A. Fcltprtsfeir,, MSVO 4# 66, was o key reirl in jcron Fhbeigs correci icenli^ical on 0' rhe itruclme ol the crcticic metroLac|ical sys'ent used lo counl grain measuieSj in poiti-cuiar the leFationship of 1:6 between 'he two signi Nh ond Ni ea;liei believed to be 1:10.

5 1800 x1/,- {[>) = 360x- = lx� 2x-4J3

obv. iii 2 120 x Vt- jgfJP"; = 20x —

5X I- lXTT44"

60 x '/10- =6x-Knowledge ol the calculations of archaic groin processing evident in the artificial texts discussed above substantially eases the task of understanding the meaning of large numbers of real grain accounts, ond even aids in reconstructing ail or pari of damaged texts. The preserved text end a nearly complete reconstruction ol a grain account from Jemdet Nosi4Ji offered in figure 76 ore good examples of this process.

Note the deviation from the norm olGAR -= Vj„ N, JJJ See above, n. 442.

Mi Cereal grains found inside pots at Jemde' Nosr were discussed by H. Field. "Ancient Wheal and Baticy

Iran Kish, Mesopotamia,' American Anthropologist 34 (1032) 303-309. M,J See the detailed Itoolmenl of this text in my 'Grain Accounting Practices in Archaic Mesopotamia,' in:

J. Heyr-jp ond P. Domerow ;eds.}, Changing ViEws on Ancient Near Eastern Mathematics (Berlin,




Texts from the late Uiuk Pynod

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices


• ~>^Y flitfe?

—--^ ^(Kh I

•5IU • -v

••••• NIL ffW.9


boo' djlr Lui on lo l'i" '.w

M�VCJ a, 6 ob�.,

Figure 76: MSVO 3. I I otid 6

The large account on pntjn l��l ir-piescnrs tic consolidation of at least live texts, one cl which is depicted above (note purlicukjily lire nltlrqir"" srrolr (Hr.lwtfi <il the Iwse ol tl>e sign Gl j ] in 'he lormer loxl. missing in

rl-.� lallni, it p:<-'.wr,nU'/ irdir.crlrd tlxit llic rrsprxtiv*' *.>ntry had boon checked lor occuracy). The counted measure: o! beei l|ug-., p'olxibh; '>! vulioia MZes and/a representing beer sorts ol dillerenl strengths) recorded on the obverv ol WfiVO 3, II, win m the reverse ol t'rir- accojnl lotalud and quablied with the amount of the gram ptrelrcfc Ixrrlr-y cjluotl find trait required lor then brewing Ihc entire account was siqncd bv the re ^wl*'<fc. K.J MM



lexts From the Lole Uruk Period

Administrative Systems- Adm nis'rolive offices

icribol mr; ibfiuld be e iher:


^ =10 (noted in the btjeKacjesifnol system)

IV1 " dcsigrvalion o) � 9rc�n P*cxJucf '; C*J {baked item2) witri the groin



- omount of barley • • •.'• ■ iec ■:■; /; ly fey 10 _

- 70 Inoted1 in the b; S�xogcjmal jystcml

= grain pioducr

= arnoun) o1 barley groats necessary



■ 60 (r�oted in ihc bisexogesimai system}

- grain product

= omnutft of bňrlfty

tl> gtoD's necessary for 60 rWl

Figure 77: MSVO 3, 2

the text seems lo have served as a school s

* 5

- laigi� (w 'tor al big [moh''l

- [on cl u coriam type ol botu

amount al neeciiory bcufcy groats

^\J~"^T • amount ot wxciwty man�

; in rjdminislrolive bookkeeping.

The obverse face of the tablet contains three discrete sections. The first presents o number of grain products 'ogether with the amount of grain necessary for their production, clearly parallel to the format seen in figures 75 and 77 above. These objects are quantified using the bisexagesimal system for dry grain products and the sexagesimal for jugs of beer, and the measures of grain needed are, as seen before, qualified with notations from the derived capacity systems designating groats and, in the case of beer, malt.447 A double dividing line below the last grain notation in obv. ii 3 seporctes this section from a second section with entries recording non-cereal objects. These include animals and animal products (dried fish [SUHUR, see above, secti o n 6.3.1 ], shee p a nd goats [ U Dll^, see above, section6,3.2j, containers ol animal fats, textile goods) ana dried vuits4"9. With the exception of the still poorly understood notation N52 from the derived bisexagesimal system B* in ihe case ii 6440, all notations derive from the sexegesima! system. The final, ideographic section describes the function o: the text. This notation seems to include a toponym Nlo+RU (possibly the archaic desigration o:Jemdel Nasr4S0), a time notation 2N57 SUo GIBII.45' and a qualification of all the recorded products, GIL, which may be translated "rations".4"

447 The total of the amount of barley groats used in its brewing, recorded on ihe reverse of the tablet, allows us to confidently reconstruct the first of he two oeer no'olions as 20 beer iugs iDUG0 KASJ, requiring

(2N, N30NJ<Lrev. ii 2bl ] -each jug of KASu required

obv. ii 2b) -] N, 3N,„ or 8 of the units N3�. This means thai , a or perhaps just 1 '/, - 2 liters of barley groats. The second beer qualified with the sign com bi not on E3n DUB^ required '/3 Nj„ of grain far each of 10 jugs. The same V3 N39 is also attested as the groin cuenlity necessory for tne prcdaction of a jug of beer in the text MSVO 4, 66 (fig. 75), with obv. ii 3: 5N3i KAS0 / 3^ 2N5, .e., 3C0* [|3 6 + 2} 5 -) 10ON3, - 3 jugs per Nl�ř. There seems to have been no fast rule concerning the inclusion or moll measures with entries of indivicua1 types of beer. See fig. 79 below. 448 The entries obv. iii 1-4 include object designations which form a particular set of goods best documented in a large group of Jemdel Nosr tablels sealed will the so-colled City Seal (RJ. Matthews, MSVO 2, 34-38, ond see above, fig. 27). Based primarily on ihe pictography and letter use of ihc sign MA together with length measurements (see above, n. 1 16), it is plousibiy equaled with o string used lo tie up ond dry fruit, and in a transferred sense with Ihe truil ilscll. 440 Notalions in this system might represent c type of fish producl.

450 Note lhal 1) the sign combination is attested only in thejemdet Ncsr text corpus, yet in very large numbers [in fully 5� of 244 lexis), 21 a chatecteristic entry sequence in 'he brge city seal texl group, PN / Nl0( RU / 3Ni7 MUŠ3ti / UK'UG0 (perhops "from PN of Jemdet Nasr, for the mole(?; 3N„ - KURj Inanno in Uruk"), exhibits lire pattern PN / GN, / DN / GN; known from ether texts, ond 3) the combination NIoh RU is most often attested with ABQ, which ntay be ihe "slronge building" of Jemdet Nasi (see above, section 2) os well as with SANGA , bookkeeper', ll cannot be excluded, however, that Nla+RU itself refers 'o a SANGAC official at Jemdet Nasr.

4,1 In a posilion otherwise occupied by signs denoting years, nN5,+U„. The double stroke 2NJ7 seems lo lend numerical meaning lo the entire combination, allhough it has been impossible to discover the numerical slructu'e of the apparent system in the some fashion os was possible lo de'ineote the orchoic administrative time notations for year, monln and day (above, section 6.2). We have in this system the numerical notations 1N57, 2N„, 3N57, 4NJ7, in MSVO 1, 94, 6N, ond 1IMU 2N,, and in MSVO 1, 90. the complex rotation 3NS7-t U,, SU^�N, GIBIL (cp. my remarks inj. HssyrupandP. DomBrow(eds.), Charging Views on Ancient Neor Eastern Mathematics [Berlin, forth coming),.

J" See above, n. 380



Texts from the Late Uruk Pence

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices



Texts from the Late Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

Figure 79: Complex grain accounts homjemdet Nasi

The two texts MSVO 1. 107 and 108, contain accounts from the same lew] of bookkeeping as MSVO 1 93, discussed above. The two accounts on page 201 ■eptesenr a level of consolidation of such lexis as MSVO I, 93 and 107-108; each column of those occounts consisted of o series ol entries drown from ihe summations of individual accounts now Ics*. The goods recorded were presumably delivered lo central authorises by the individuals named in Ihe respective columns.



Texls tram she Lote Uruk Period

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

The groin calculations in MSVO 1, 93:

obv. i 1 [4] 1 sts

2 6 (2)

3 8 '/,-

4 138 y6w (D>)

5 4 '/>

6 10

7 40 '/, 9

= 4 —

= 3 -

- v/2 -

= 23 TT

i !'/, -

= 5

4 i:

2'/, -

MSVO 1, 93, is one of a number of examples of rationing texts Irom Jemdel Nasr which exhibit parallel Formats and contenls. The besl currently known pcrallel text, MSVO 1, 108 (figure 79, page 200 lop), records ir its first section numbers of dry grain products logelher wilh the barley greats necessary for their production, followed by a second recording quantities of beer together with both measures of groats ond malt. The third column of the obverse contains a section of non-grain products in the same sequence as thai recorded in MSVO 1, 93. The reverse face of MSVO 1, i08, also closely parallels that of no. 93 in both summalions and subscript.

The text MSVO 1, 107 [figure 79, page 200 bottom] represents a shortened form of the two accounts MSVO 1,93 and 108, merely recording the lota Is of a separate ledger/53 The text includes all the elements of full accounts, i.e., notations representing barley groats (and malt) used in the production of dry and liquid grain rations (first column), notations representing o total both of numbers of dry grain rations (GAR) and of jars of beer together with their respective grain (and mall) equivalents (second column) and notations representing non-grain products, including both small cattle and dried fruits.

The IwoJemdel Nasr accounts MSVO 1, 95-96 (figure 79, page 201), represent ihe highest level of grain accounting known to us from thct site. Each column of the obverse of these texts contains a consolidated account of the type discussed above, cleansed of all details. The first entries in each column represent relatively large measures of milled grain (and malt] used in the production of dry grain products and beer151 - neither of which is mentioned at this level of accounting - and are followed by entries concerned wilh the same types of non-grain goods, including sheep and goals, fishery products (?; system B*) and with products from the textile manufactories.''-5 The apparent delivering agents [?) 0f the goods listed aro high officials of the central administration of Jemdet Nasr/56

These accounts offer a wealth of information concerning the processing of grain and the constitution of beer, bread and other cereal producls - as is obvious from a perusal of

JS3 Few examples of individual receipts or journals which were copied into larger accounts (see above, fig. 76) have been identified, although the accounts con scarcely be explained otherwise.

454 We can assume that only those columns which include o notation representing c measure of mall (in MSVO 1, 95, cols, i, ii and iv; in 96, cols, i and 11) derived from accounts including beer processing.

ai Including, however, a number of undeciphered ideograms, omong them in MSVO 1, 96 obv. i 4; MAR i 5: KIDb, i 6: ML) and ii 9: W^gunB.

�0 See below, with figs, 83 and 87.


B> I m> 4> O i>



s a & � * f f � � � �

ix ,�j "81 IS

N3vVb N2.i N20 N28 Nyj, Ny*. N30o N30d N31 NjJ N33



� <� 4


DRY CEREAL PRODUCTS AND RATIONS: IDEOGRAMS GUG;„ <fUG2, SJjAj^ S|c2o| 5�^ sic™ SIG2l>* 011�, DU& CUfc OUecginu1^^ "Jjjf-

m> ^ ^ *> 9 11

SA J*i* Ji*- SAu"™ �t 2hlS8 ZATU72cy- ZATU72cvj ZATU727 ZATU68I ZATU625 trSlgwririjg +Hfrpunui) 9


so SO i..',i ii 11,1 h ...J 11 o aj> C:


DUG„ CUCo KA5� *U3o DUG GAlc SEN:: SENb TUR SENtlenll ZATU710


IMN lr l1 W


Figure B0: Designations of cereal products and ta I ions in ihe archaic texls



lex's From the Laie Uruk Period

Administrativ� Systems - Administrative offices

figure 80 - which fed the archaic communities of Mesopotamia. More importantly, the accounts formed pari of a complex system of victualing bo'h at tne high, ond of course at the lower level cf organization. Some, as J. friberg has suggested, might also reflect o specific aspect of the temple household organization known from the Icter third millennium in which provisions, known as sa7.dun rations, for deities or revered elites were registered. These included, in a striking parallel, bread and beer, sheep, fish, dairy products and fruits, often in this order.

6.3.5. Fields

Of course the grain registered in the majority of archaic accounts rep-esented the yield of difficult work in the fields (proto-cuneiform sign GAN„, JML45'') surrounding documented settlements. Few texts combine notations both from the grain capacity and from the area measures systems,458 thus probably implying lhal seed or harvesl grain from fields was being recorded. One of the best known examples of this combination is found in the Uruk III period account W 19726,a in figure 81. The 'obverse' face of this tablet45'1 preserves one numerical notation representing, in later Sumerian tradition, 40 bur3, or about 6'10 acres.410 To the left of this notation are two damaged signs, one of which is certainly the piclogram GAN?. The 'reverse' contains a grain notatioi, indeed one which represents far and away the largest capacity measure in the archaic texl corpus, corresponding to ca. 550 tons of emmer.461

457 The sign presumably represent irrigated fields defined on a long axis by two parolle canals, with feeder canals running between rirem; compare the hypolhelrcal plots calculated in the lex" MSVO 1,2, presented in fig, 83. An unusually involved numerical sign system was used in the archaic period to qua lily the size of fields, for which sen the table in fig. 41 above. In no instance has it been possible to isolate an occurrence of an area measurement which could be interp'eted to be a qualif calior. of a city lot. We might expect such a notation to consist of c small fraction of on ik u, represented In archaic lexis with the sign N,, However, the only likely candidate for such a division is ihe sign Nfl (-) found in several texts From Jemdel Nasi a nd probably representi ng 1 / ,0 N, f see here f i g. 8 3 a nd ny re marks i n N. A. B ,U. '995:38); these all refer to divisions of o fie'd. The ideogram SAf�u as precursor of the later sign s or, representing 1 ninda' or ,/loa iku, seems in all notations cf suiface measures to qualify, .1 anything, the type of produce grown on fields concerned, and in no case can disctelely counted SARfl be confidently interpreted to represent surface measures and thus measures ol gardens or vacant or developed lots, as was the case in later periods.

41s See above, fig. 41, for fac'or diagrams representing these systems.

459 As is the case with many such text Iragments, it is difficult to recognize a diffcrcce between obverse and reverse. Assuming lhal W 19726,a represents o harvesl account led necessarily to ihe recording lirsl ol field measures ond including on Ihe reverse the groin measures representing ihe harvest.

440 The sexagesimal ond ihe field measurement systems were ihe two most conservative numerical systems in Ihird millennium Mesopotamia, and were presumably linked by a system of lengths which, ihougli not evident, is certainly implicit in ihe archaic lexts, in particular in the calculation of field areas. In order lo establish the size of o field surface, two diFferen! slondcrds were employed, the linear measure based on a metrological unit approximately equivalent lo 6 meters ijatcr Sumerian 'ninda'], and the surface measure 'garden' (plot; Sumerian 'šar'), ihe equivalent of one square nirda. Allhough units ol length were sexogesimally based, field measurements lollowed an irregular system probably derived Irom trodilional methods of sowing arid harvest.

441 The notation in fact represents an amount live times as large os the next largest measure, lhal recorded in W 17729,ou(unpubl.). Note lhat assuming our interpretation of this text is carrecl (see A*U 2, 140), ihe

Figure 81: W 19726,o According b yie ds known from later texts, the har-ves' fiom the ficfd surface recorded in the preserved notation on the cbverse of Ihis occoun' (4 bur'u, ca, rMO ceres) would be cbout 220 Ions of gram. Ihe preserved par' of the notal.on on the reverse corresponds 'o an amcunt ry abou' 550 Ions o: emmer.

Figure 82: MSVO 1, 10

Th;s is the only archaic text which implies a standard

relation between field arid groin measures ot 15N|,

or, according to our calculations, ca. 360 I per bur.

This would be in mjgh accordance with seed ond

feed rates pel bur known from later 3rd millennium


Based on the Ur III normed yield of 30 gur (9000 liters) per bu r3, Ihis amount of grain would correspond lo somewhal more than twice os much os would be expected from the field recorded on the obverse of the occounl, suggesting thai that nolalion was one of two or more which registered grain fields surrounding Uruk.

A second, complete occourt, presumably but not certainly fromjemdet Nasr (figure 82], seems to bear evidence of an archaic norm for sowing groin. There, ihe grain notation on one face of the tablet stands in a -elation lo an area meosure on its reverse face of 15N, grain per Nu (bur3),4t>5 Using our hypolhelical absolute values of GAR = - */s liter,

sign N4i would have served in the derived capacity system S' to represent both o measure 10 as large as that represented by Nl<3, and o meosure 1800 as 'arge (see above, lie. 41). Mot onf/ would the connection wilh Field measures on the obverse of the account speak lor Ihis interpretation, but the use o: KL6 to represeni a rnjltiple of Nrifl would find a good analogy in ihe use of Nde lo represent a multiple of N34 in the basic groin system, both based on the sequence N45 > Na8 > N3J in ihe sexagesimal system (the sexagesimal system served to record larget grain measures in later grain capacity systems as well). It may be noted thai ihis laige measu'e al emmer wheal would provide over a million rations of the size distributed in ihe archaic period lo deaendenl laborers (ca. i/i liter); thol would correspond to yearly rations far 3000 workers.

465 The area oil 'bur'u' ( • - 10 bu i3) on the reverse corresponding to an amount of 25 * of groin on the obverse. Relative to ihe orea, Ihis would equal 25 0 ('GAR units') per iku.



Texts From the Late UriA Pwiod

Administrative Systems - Administrative offices

1st field

2nd field

3rd field

4lh field

5tfi lield



ft� •0;


MSVO 1. 7 reconstruction

Calculation of Ihe first Field:

length 2�0 (ninda) X width 100 (ninda

ml 1 d


field a<eo 16 bw • 2 ev? additional [that n fogofhot 300 imtoad of 290 ihu:

cc'culcition ciro'"'



lengih measures:

t> � 1 nindn fca. 6 ml

60 ninda

• = 10 ninda

surface -neaiuies;

riguro83: MSVO 1, 2 IrocoFisiiuchjdl

u - Thif. accounf i*> cl ci group oi lovlj recording the divi-

sion ol iieldj HnKMnrj rnjjK oJficitili in jbmdcl Nasr, in-

D - 1 ileu t_j 0.9 acre dudinrj ihn i;lor 'fjN If-Mtjllr. ;ind vs/id'hs of indivi-

ft ilaj dual fiuldi rnrotrktl foycilw-r wild calculated

>• 1 eie - rn 5.2 cere J sufaco innoujro^on |fi" obvwv? Tlie liypohSchcal

fJci!:. dofjtcV'd on jjwg'f 20/ orr* on tiHr-nipl to undur

• - 1 bur 3 dse ca 15.6 acres aland fiOW l]ie ufcukllt-d hrJds rmgrnr flaw been

jilViaf'-d olctiy u wti^wsiy, Note ibn' llir- umuunl

0 ) bur'u lObur ca 1 56 aa� of agricultural loud Md try lin- rul'-r IN ond his

[i-pj'.iffiahl^ v^ii*- SAI iN wfi-. (ippitj/irncilcly

• 1 *>r - 6 bur'u ca. 936 acres oi the field', riK.aidt'd in ih^v- accounts

Field c; the EN

Fin'd 1 5

Field l-i

FWd of hoirsehc ds cf officials

Field I

=%ld 2

Field 3

Field A

J] Freld 5




rVteandering wrjlenvay ct a distance ol co. 1300 m.

Fields 1-5 of the olficlals

Field 5 (SAL EN)

Field ol Ihe EN



Text* from ihe tote Uruk Period

Administrative Sys'ems - Adninistrative offices

15N, would represent 360 liters of grain, an amoun' which would be fully in line with the amount of grain expended in sowing a plot of 1 bur3 in the Ur III period, reckoning either with 360 sila3 seed + 180 sila3 fodder for the draft oxen for a total of 540, or with 240 + 120 for a total of 360 si la3.463

How field areas were calculated in the archaic period is clear, at least on the surface, based on a series of texts fromjemdet Nasr.4*4

The best-preserved ol these tablets, MSVO 1,2 (figure 83),445 contains entries relating to length measurements and the areas of five fields (one in each of the five horizontal columns, or lines, an the obverse of the tablet). The first two sub-cases of each line record the linear measurements of a field assigned a high official in Jemdet Nasr, named in the first subcase.442 Qualilied by the horizontal stroke NJ7, the first numerical notation, a sexagesimal notation qualifying units of linear measurement equal to later 'ninda', represents the length of the fields and so corresponds to later Sumerian us2, 'side. The second sexagesimal notation is qualified by the vertical stroke NM, representing the width of the fields and so corresponding to later Sumerian sag, head'.447 The exact method according to which the ancient surveyors derived the fields' area from these two linear measures is not known; for us the multiplication is straightforward, 290 (nin da) 100 (ninda) = 29,000 (sar) = 290 (iku), and finally 16 bur3 2 iku. In this and other field texts, a large section of the calculated field was entered in the third sub-case and qualified as GAN2, that is, irrigated and arable land, and often a small remainder appended in a fourth sub-case and qualified with the sign BAR. This small parcel is presumably border land, possibly wooded to protect the fields against wind erosion or simply planted with producing dale palms or some other trees or shrubs.4*8 All GANj measures are added to a total of arable land denoted Klo BUa, probably the same as land called ki g i d (a) 2, 'measured land', in later third millennium texts. The notation representing this total is entered in the second case of the first column on the reverse of the

463 This would then 'end to support those absolute values, with the warning that the g'oin is not qualified as

seed groin and thol such nice numbers' can derive (torn artificial ca'culalions. "M MSVO 1, 2-6.

405 The text was (irsl understood and edited by F.-M. A'lotle de la Fuye, RA 27 (', 930| 65-71, and has since been the object o: regular inleres'. See A.A. Vojmcn, Peiedneazio'skij sbornik 1966, 13-15 [German Ironslation in BaM 21 [1990] 101-103); P. Steinkeller, Johrbuch fijr Wirlschoflsgeschichle 1987, 1 3; Archaic Bookkeeping, 55-57; and most recently, J. Friberg, AfO {forthcoming).

JK: 'Tie persons cesrgnoled GAL0 SA3=, PAo CK-jgunu^. MAM; Dl, ME , and ENt SAL we'e presumably officials ranking immediately below the city ruler in status. Of these five officials, two - NAM, Dl and GAL SABQ - ore attested in lines 3 and 25 respe:lively of the iisi Lu3 A, and at leas! three are welfat-ested os persons of high status who delivered grain p-oducts, animals and other goods to central ou'horities in Jemdet Nasr, os was tecorded ir accounts such as MSVO 1, 95-96, in fig. 79 ohove.

d67 These wete almost certainly averages of opposing sides, since the resulting otea measures are in three of the five cases split into apparently arable fields ond 'GIS KI BAR', 'wooded border1', that is, areas outside the measured and exploded surface. This irregularity of ihe fields was gene'ally the cose in liold calculations in third millennium Mesopotamia and is clearly attested already in ihe Uruk IV period, see for one example below, fig 85.

J48 The small parcels added logolher on ihe reverse ol Ihe tablet were quolified GIS Klc BAR (see preceding n.). The collated copy of the first BAR crea of MSVO 1,2, shows 2 es e 3 (w) insieod of the expected 2 iku|.4

tablet above the total of BAR land. The first case of this column contains exactly twice the total of the 'measured land' of the five officials calculated on the obverse, and is qualiied GAN. EN,, arable land of/for the EN'.

The EN is in all likelihood Ihe chief administrator of the large building excavated in the 1920s in Jemdet Nasr (see above, section 2) and represented by the sign AB . Indeed, the sign combination ABa NN-RU which qualifies the grand total of lond divided among the EN and his high officials - apparently including his own wife (ENc SAL, who was assigned the largest plot or those recorded on the account's obverse440) - can be reasonably interpreted to mean 'household of NIRIT, whereby NIRU might represent Jemdet Nasr itself.470 Based on the hypothetical yied of 30; 1 and a seeding rote of 15N, per bur3 (see above, Figure 82), the pcrcels of the high officials registered in this account would, on overage, support a working household of ca. 500471 dependents, and thus that of the EN a household of 2500. Of course, the variables in such calculations, for example, the likelihood thai livestock, trade and elite luxuries will have commanded a large portion of such harvests, warn us to be cautious.

Only one fragment from Uruk offers evidence of the same type of field accounts in the much larger urban center of the Late Uruk period (figure 84). Nonetheless, other texts prove the existence of comparably large agricultural households, and ihe greater antiquity of field surveying there. The oldest evidence known of the calculation of field areas is found in a group of texts from the Uruk IV period, of which W 19408,76 (figure 85), unearthed by P. Damerow in the Uruk collection of tie German Archaeological Institute in Heidelberg, is certainly the most important. The fragmented Uruk IV period tablet contains only numerical signs and the ideograms we have seen above denoting the lerglh and width of measured fields. Both obverse and reverse contain notations representing imaginary fieids whose opposing sides averaged 1200 and 900 ninda in length, respectively. The multiplication of these average lengths results in ihe highly regular and unrealistically large field of 10 sar2, or 600 bur3 (the largest otherwise attested field notation is of a little more than 334 bur3; see below, Figure 87). Since, moreover, no further ideograms qualify the purpose of this account, it is certain that the text represents another school exercise/73 the oldest accounting exercise known to us, containing 'difficult" exercises on surface calculation. Another field account from Uruk (figure 86) bears some resemblance to the texts MSVO 1, 2-6 discussed above. Porcels ranging from 45 down to just 8 bur3 are registered in the middle and right columns of this text, together with ideographic notations which probably represent officials whom the parcels were assigned. These parcels are totaled in the first case of the left column - of the reconstructed total of 150 bur3, 141 are at least partially

44' Note iho- taken together the plots of the EN and his wife accounted for approximately V4 of all arable lond regisleied in MSVO 1, 2. j 470 Sec above, n. 450. I con offer no explanation for the final sign combination at ihe bottom of this left


471 As a very rough basis lor estimation: 15 (burj > 15N, (seed/bun,) * 30 (:1 yield) � 30(GAJV'N )

■r 3601days per yeor) = 562.5. 471 See above, seclion 5 lo Learning bookkeeping', ond ligs. 75 and 77.



Te>te from the Late Uruk Period


The occounl rep-esenfj fhe only recovered -exr from Urut wfiieh parallels in farmer fhe field calculation te�rs V�VQ 1. 2-6, kncwn fram J^mdet Nosr. Accordingly, ihe first Iwo ^n-ii^-i ol :hc upper linn would rBp'Bianf ihe lenglh ord widlh, lespcclively. ihs bsr en'rv fhe crea of a field (i'us perhaps r10O\82(nindo) = 32 iKu[4 bur [l eie 4 iku] J.

W 19408,76



1,200 + 1,200 930 i 870

1,200 X vOO(ninda) - 10,800 iku - lOidr

990+ 1,410

,280 + 520

>- 1,200 x 9DO (ninda) 10,800 iku - 10 sar

2 2 Figure 85: W 19403,76

The text depicted above represents the earliest known accounting sshool text. The unrealistic pracNce exercises on both locesof the tablet, based an slight variations of a multipliedian ol 1200 x 90n nirrdo, result In an implicit field area of approximately 39km!, ar about 11,500 acres. P. Damerow was the first to recognize the importance of this text.

Administrative Systems - Administrative ofiices

Figure 86:W20551,1 The 150 burj or ca. 2340 ceres recorded in ihis account [H leverse bee is uninscribsd) represenl one of the larger such parcel* found in the archaic texts from Uruk. Assuming the lex! documents agricultural lond in productionh the fields would piuduce enough barley to sustain □ household of co. 5000 individuals. The pooily preserved texts W 1772^ a+■ and ,be jbolli unpublished) contained notations re-presenling, substantially larger fields.

preserved in the individually registered parcels - and qualified in lwo following cases with ideographic notations. The sign combinalion S!lAJa-i-DUGa En fhe second case has been cited as evidence that this lexf belongs to a group of stone documents registering ihe sale of agricultural land in the archaic periods

Tne largest account of fields from Jemdet Nasr, depicted in figure &7H exhibits a unique formal, but also records the activities of acquaintances met in other texts from that settlement. MSVO 1,1, records an its reverse face a totol of over 334 bur3 of land qualified as LAGAB GAISL BU Kl NI+RUAB APIN , 'total of measured arable tand, (from) the plowing office of the household of NIRU', This land is comprised of three types of parcels: ihose qualified cs SEo+SEo BA, as GURU5Q SAL, and os GAN2 Kl„ A, and in each of the first five cases of the obverse face the parcels so qualified ore assigned to the same Five officials, including the wife of the EN, as were Fields in ihe account MSVO 1,2 (figure 83). Unfortunately, all three field qualifications are peculiar to this text, but the other field accounts fromjemdet Nasi, and known farmland utilization practice from later periods, con help to make an informed judgment about the meaning of ihese notations. In ihe firsl place, the accounts MSVO 1, 2-6, register fields ronging from on overage of 6 [MSVO 1, 3-4) to an average of 35 (MSVO 1, 5) bur3 per official. This would accord rather well with the average of ca. 22 burq per oFficial of SEo+SEo fields in MSVO 1,1, and suggest that these parcels were really 'distributed as grain-growing plols' (SE^+SE, BA). We might further imagine lhal group of workmen were assigned to each plot and ot the same lime themselves given subsistence

I.J. Gelb, P. Steinkellei and R.M. Whiting, OIF 104 (19911 28.



Texts from Ihe Lola Uruk Period


Figure 87: MSVO 1. 1

The rotal area of 5 '/^ iw recorded on the reverse represents ogiicullurol fields of more thon 5 203 acres

fields, ranging from 2 bur3 jobv. i 1-2, ii ?) io 4 (obv. i 3) per leom. Fields of this size could he expected to support a crew of, roughly estimated, between 20 and 100 persons, male and female (G'JRUSo SAL), presumably enough to manage the doily tending ol the fields in grain. Finally, there is good evidence that farmers understood the need ol rotating follow and producing fields in later third millennium agriculture; this may be the meaning ol the qualification GANj K\a A, which literally Iranslaled according to later sign meanings would result in 'arable land, wetland'."74

7. CutNausONS

Of the four best documented early indigenous writing systems, namely Babylonian cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphics, pi clog raphe Chinese end Meso-American, cuneiform assumes perforce a dominant role in any discussion of the development of scripl. From ihe period of its explosive development toward ihe end of the 4th millennium B.C., cuneiform texts document a continuous reccrc of transmission through more than three millennia. A number of historical developments have been posited os causal, or at leosl in the aggregate extant, in periods immediately preceding the Inception a* writing. The first seems to be the development of an early state form, so far removed from trioal association; as to suppo;l a hierarchical division of labor and the omassing ol those surpluses which can result in less dependence on farming for primary livelihood. The administration ol the goods and services circulating in 'his system required involved methods of bookkeeping, including calculation aids and, ultimately, writing. Yet thai this development is not a necessary precondition of writing can be demonstrated not only by reference to those cultures which have flourished without the aid of writing, but also with the uneven use af bookkeeping during the archaic period in mind. Whereas the level of communal activity and thus the best indicator of state strength in Uruk during the periods Uruk V-IVa was intensive, monumental building apparently came to an abrupt holt in the succeeding Uruk III /' Jem del Nasr period, precisely when administrative documentation became its most impressive, both in numbers of documents and in the quantities ol goods and services recorded in the accounts. Assuming that we do have a roughly representative group of accounts from both periods, the size of economic activity reflected in Uruk III texts, in particular insofar as il concerns agricultural production, musl have been on the order of ten limes or more as large as that of the earlier period. Indeed, nearly everything ol substance which con be culled from ihe archaic lexis, from cancnicily and breadth of lexical compendia, to methods of timekeeping and complexity and Fields of application of numerical sign systems, derives ultimately from the Uruk 111 period; whether these elements o; writing were also in use during ihe Uruk IV period a hundred years earlier but not visible to us is a matter of speculation. At the same time, we can see that the very rapid development of all the basic tools inherent in pioto-cuneiform concluded in the

i7i One rnighl speculate that the sign A reflects waler being drawn off ihe Fields, ihat is, bnds being drained to leach cut sails.



Texts from the Lote Uruk Period


Uruk IV period, and a text such as the artificial field calculation found in figure B5 above makes us wonder at the already playful use of the script, and makes us ask ourselves haw much we are missing in the texts available to us, and in those that are not. Available evidence can be interpreted in different ways, as certainly the debate between D. Schmandl-Besserat and her critics has shown. Based on what has been presented in this paper, the development of proto-cuneiform can be sketched in the following manner: }. Period ol early tokens

Prior to ca. 3400 B.C., simply formed geometric clay counters were used in ar, ad hoc fashion to record simple deliveries of goods, primarily grain anc animal products of local economies. Distinct transactions represented by an assembloge of counters were presumably contained in bags of leather or some other perishable material. These counters qualifying discrete objects (animals, humans, jars, e!c] probably rep-esenled traditional forms of tallying with one-to-one correspondence between counted object and counter; larger counters qualifying measures stood for lorger containers and so only apparently represented a metrological structure.

2. Period of day envelopes

Co. 3400-3300 B.C., geometric clay counters with some further ideographic differentiations, representing the derived numerical signs of the archaic period, were enclosed in clay envelopes, and these envelopes wete coveted with impressions from cylinder seals. Each clay envelope and its contents represented a discrete transaction concerning primarily grain and animal products of local economies. The oule- surfaces of some envelopes were impressed with counters in o one-lo-one correspondence to the enclosed pieces. There is insufficient evidence la determine whelher with statistically relevant probability numerical systems with bundling steps had formed.

3. Period of early numerical tablets

Ca. 3300-3250 B.C., Hal and rounded clay tablets, sealed and unsealed, were impressed with counters or wilh styli cut and shaped to imitate counters, thus representing numerical notations. In some cases it is evident that a standardized numero-metrofogical structure with set bundling steps was not employed. The end of this phase saw the lost direct contact belween the north (Syria and northern Mesopotamia) and southern Babylonia.

4. Period of late numerical tablets

Ca. 3250-3200 B.C., flal and rectangulat-shaped, sealed day tablets were impressed with styli to record numerical notations. A standardized numero-melrologicat structure with set bundling steps was employed. Njmerical sign sequence and seals of officials attached to specific administrative units such as herding or grain storage signaled the type of numerical system used and thus the objects) of the transaction.

5. Period of numero-ideographic tablets

Ca. 3200 B.C., flat and reclangulor-shaped, sealed day tablets were impressed wilh styli to record numerical notations and one or at mosl two ideograms. All ideograms represented the objects of the transaction, including sheep ond goats and products derived from them (texliles, dairy oils]. Numerical sign sequence and seals of officials signaled the type of other numerical (melrological] systems used ond thus the objedfs) of

such transactions, including fieds and groin. This phase saw the last direct contacl between Persia and southern Babylonia.

6. Period of early proto-cuneiform

Ca. 3200-3100 B.C. (Uruk IVo.l, flal and rectangulat-shaped, as a rule unsealed clay tablets were impressed wilh styli to recorc numerical notations and a full anay of pictograms. Piclograms represented the objects of the Iransaclion, and pidograms in ideographic use the persons and offices, and the type of transaction involved. A co. TOO picto-ideogrom reperloty and a developed means of reckoning employing five basic numerical sign systems were developed in the first years of this period; there was a coterminous developmenl of lexical lists, of which only the professions list was canonized. Multivalency is likely but nol demonstrable with available texts and knowlecge of third millennium Babylonian languages. Tie early phase of this ideographic writing system is only ot*ested at southern Babylonian Uruk.

7. Period of developed proto-cuneiform

Ca. 3100-3000 B.C. (Uruk III), this period is characterized by the refinement and abstraction of early pralocuneiform, with ihe oddilion of an involved system of timekeeping and a syslemalizolion both of complex accounts and of more than a dozen lexical lists dealing with oil facets of archaic adminislralion and including the first use of writing to record literatu-e. Multivalency is likely but nol demonstrable. Developed proto-cuneiform, serving the accounting needs of a complex administration including offices of ihe fisheries, of herded animals and animal products, of field management, grain production and processing, and of labor, is altested ihroughout Babylonia and is coterminous with a native system of writing In Persia called prolo-Elamite.

8. Period of late protcKuneiforrn

Ca. 2800-2700 B.C. [Early Dynastic l), this period is characterized by the earliest apparenlly multivalent use of proto-cuneiform to write Sumerton words in personal names. The archaic numerical systems were used, but in simplified forms, and the lexical lists were copied and transmitted, but no new lists were added. Tablets were as a rule clumsily formed and inscribed,



Texfc from the Lq'q Uru'i Period

List c( figures

fig-fi� r.g.



r'S Fg.

Fig-Fig. 11: Fig. 12: Fig. 13: Fig. 14: Fig. 15:

Fig. 16: Fig. 17: Fig. 18: Fig. 19: Fig. 20: Fig- 21: Fig. 22: Fig- 23: Fig. 24: Fig- 25: Fig. 26: Fig. 27: Fig- 28: Fig. 29: Fig. 30: Fig. 31: Fig. 32: Fig. 33: Fig. 34: Fig. 35: Fig. 36; F<g. 37: Fig. 38: Fig. 39: Fig. 40: Fig. 41: Fig. 42: Fig. 43: Fig. 44: Fig. 45: Fig. 46: Fig. 47: Fio. 48: Fig. 49: Fig. 50: Fig. 51: Fig. 52:

8. �Sr Of FIGURcS

Mop of Western Asia

Third millennium chronology

The 'large building' of Jemdet Nasr

Table! loci al Uqair

Plcn ol Uruk

Plan ol (he central district Eonna

The so-called Red Temple

The White Temple

Common archaic seal molils

Archaic seals with scenes of wild pigs

Examples ol tokens from Uruk

Clay envebpe with contents, from Suso

Numerical tablets

The gypsum tablet W 10133,a

Three numerical tablets

Examples of numero-ideographic tablets

Tablet formats found in the archaic texts

Archaic 'legs'

Tablets with varying degrees of complexity

Complex summations

Tablet rotation in complex archaic texts

Paleographic differences

Archaic scribal exercises

Major lexical lists al the third millennium


Composite copy ol the lexical list "Cities'' The archaic "City Seal' The 'Wood list' W 20327.2 Composite copy oF the lexical list "Vessels' Composite copy oF the lexical list Tribute" Signs representing orchotc temple households Composite copy of the lexicol list Lu? A The first lines of the list lu2 A Paleographic development of selected signs Administrative occurrences al lexical entries Archaic accounting exercises Dairy oil and barley accounts Archaic replacement tules Determining numerical sign sequences W20568

Numerical systems used in archaic texts Vaimans timekeeping system Key texts for understanding archaic timekeeping W21671

Bone recovery in excavations Dried fish

Administrate documentation of archaic fisheries

Plan of the Ibzur fish trap

Uruk 111 accounts ol herds

Accounts cf large sheep herds

Archaic signs lor large and small cattle and for pigs

Simple receipts For cattle

Fig. 53: Examples of complex accounts of cattle

Fig. 54: Conta triers cf dai ry products

Fig. 55: Accounts ol dairy produc's

Fig. 56: Met'ological relationship between SILA3 and DUGb

Fig. 57: Accounts concerning dairy fat stored in tnc jar DUGC

Fig. 58: Account concerning dairy fot stored in the jar DUG,.

Fig. 59: W 20274,39

Fig. 60: Probable archo-c designations of liquid ord semi-liquid products

Fig. 61: Metrological systems employed in dairy natations

Fig. 62: Ancien' boar hurls

Fig. 63: The presumable piglist W 121 39

Fig. 64: Pig-herding account

Fig. 65: Accounts of herded humans?

Fig. 66: W9827

Fig. 67: W 20274,93

Fig. 68: Daily bread

Fig. 69: MSVO 3. 29

Fg. 70: Eigfl-year groin accounts MSVO 4, 1-2

F:g. 71: An account of "bread and beer'

Fig. 72: MSVO 3, 64 and 58

Fig. 73: MSVO 3, 52 and 51

F'g. 74; A comparison of the additions in the two grain accounts MSVO 4, 45 and 43

Fig. 75: MSVO 4, 66

Fig. 76: MSVO 3, 11 and 6

Fig. 77: MSVO 3, 2

rig. 78: MSVO 1, 93

Fig. 79: Complex grain accounts from Jemdet Nasr

Fig, SO: Designations of ceieol products and rations in the archaic texts

Fig, 81: W I9726,a

Fig. 82: MSVO 1, 10

Fig. 83: MSVO I 2

fig. 84: W I5772,k

Fig. 85: W 19408 76

Fig. 86: W 20551,1

Fig. 87; MSVO I, 1

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Altertumskunde des Zweislromlandes von der Vorzeit bis zum Ende der Ach�menidenherrschoft Text banc, Tafelband, Leipzig 1940.

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The Home of ihe Fish. A New Sumerian Lilero7 Composition, Iroq 23, 1961, 154-175.

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The Animal Remains from Abu Salobikh: Preliminary Recoil, Iraq 40, ' 978, 89-100. Couon, D.

First Impressions: Cylinder Seals in the Ancienl Near Easl, London 1987. Couon, D., Rem�, J.

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Die Zahlzeichensysteme der Archaischen Texte aus Uruk, in: Green, M.W., Nissen, HJ.. Zeichenliste der archaischen Texte ous Uruk, ATU 2, Berlin 1987, 117-166

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Bemerkungen zu den vorangehenden Aufs�tzen von A. A. vdiman unter Ber�cksichtigung der 19B7 erschienenen Zeichenliste ATU 2, BaM 20, 1989, 1 33-1 38.

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Die Entstehung der Schrift, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Februar 2/1988, 74-85.

Die ersten Zahldarstellungen und die Entwicklung des Zohlbegriffs, Soekitum det Wissenschaft Mi�rz 3/

1983,46-55. Damerow, P., Meinzer, H.-P.

Compulerlomog-aphische Unlersjchuna unce�ffneler archaischer Tonkugeln aus Uruk W 20987 9

W 20987,11 und W 20987.12, BaM 26. 1995, 7-33 + plls. 1-4. Dandamacv, M.A.

Slavery in Babylonia. From Nabopo'assar ta Alexander the Greal (626-331 B.C.;, DeKalb, IL, 1984, Danihs, P T , Bright, W. (eos.)

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Die Inschriften von Faro I: Liste der archaischen Keilschriflzeichon, WVDOG 40, Leipzig 1922. Die Inschriften von Foro II: Schultexle aus Fora, WVDOG 43, Leipzig 1923. Die Inschriften von Fora III: Wirtschoftstexle aus Foro, WVDOG 45, Leipzig 1924. Die Viehzucht det Sumerer zur Zeit Urukaginas, Or 20, 1926, 1-61. Delitzsch, F.

Handel und Wandel in Allbabylonien, Stuttgart 1910.

Deiougaz, P.

T're lerr.pe oval al Khatajati, OIP 53, Chicago 1940. 'otter,- from the Diyala Region, OIF 63, Chicago 1952. Deiojgaz, P., Kantor. HJ. (fd. bv A. Aiizadeh) Chogha Mish, OIP 101, Ch'cogo 1996.


EtriScskij i social'nyi faklory v islorii diebnego miro (no maleriale sumera), VDI 84/2, 1963, 167-179. Main Feclures of the Economy in the Monatchies of Ancienl Western Asia, in: The Ancient Empires and The Economy .Sectio- Villi, Troisieme Conference Internationale c'Hi5to:te Economique, Munich 1965, Paris, the Hague 1969, 13-32.

Slaves, Helots and Serfs in Early Antiquity, ActAnlH 22, 1974. 45-78.

Some Refections on Numerals in Sumerian: Towards a History of Malhemolical Speculation, JAOS 103 1983, 83-93,

DjK, J van

Ein sp�toltbofciylor scher Katalog einer Sammlung sumerischer Briefe, OrNs 58, 1989, 441-452. Dittmann, R.

Seals, Sealings and Toblels. Thoughts an 'lie Changing Pattern of Administrative- Control from ihe Lote-Uruk lo the Piolo-Elomite Period at Susa, in: Finkbeiner, U., R�llig, W. (eds.) .Gomdat Nasr, Wiesboden 1986, 332-366.

Betrachtungen zur Fr�hzeit des S�dwest-Iran: Regiorole Entwicklunger vom 6. bis zum fr�hen 3. vorchristlichen Jahrtausend, BBV0 4, Berlin 1986. Drfyes, G.

Umrn ef-Oaab I: Das pr�dynas1;sche K�nigsgrab U-j und seine Ir�hen Schriftzeixjnisse, f-tobtfifations-schrilt, AV 86, forlhcoming. D�lrl, G. van

"ablets fromjebel Aruda, FS Kraus, leiden 1982, 12-25.

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Fischknochen aus Abu Salabrkh/Iraq, Iraq 48, 1986, 31-38. Dr'lhon, F. Laval-Jeantet, Pr. M„ Lahm, A.

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The relolive ond absolute chronology of Hissor II and ihe Prolc-Elomile horizon of Northern Iran, in: Aurenche, O., Evin, J., Hours, F. (eds.J. Chronologies du Proche Orienl - Chronologies in the Near Easl. Relative Chronologies and Absolute Chronology 16,0004,000 B.P., C.N.R.S. International Symposium, Lyon (France) 24-28 November 1986, BAR Inierno'iona' Series 379 (i-ii), Oxford 1987, 647-680. EnzAfo, D.O.

Sumerer und Senilen in de- fr�hen Geschieht Mesopotamiens, Genava n.s. 8, 1960, 241-258. Die Keilschrift, in: Hausmann, U. (ed.), Allgemeine Grundlogen der Arch�ologie: Begriffe und Methode, Geschichte, Problem der Form, Schriflzeugnisse, Munich 1969, 214-221. Keilschrift, RIA 5, 1976-80, 544-56B.

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Texls fror" llic� Ln1e Uruk Penod


Euison, R.

Diet in AAesopotamio: The Evidence of Ihe Barley Ration Texts |c. 30O0-14O0B.CJ, Iraa43, 1981, 35-45.

Some Thoughts on the Diet of Mesopotamia home. 3000-600 B.C., Iraq 45, 1983, 146-150. Engund, R.K.

Administrative Timekeeping in Anc:ent iVK;sopolamia, JESHO 31, 198B, 121-1 85. Organisation und Verwaltung der Ur lll-Fischerei, BBVO 10, Berlin 1990. Archaic Dairy Melrology, Iraq 53, 1991, 101-104.

Review of Schmondt-Besserat, D., Before Wriling, Auslin 1992, Science 260, 1 1 June 1993, 1 670-1671.

Review of lafonl, B., Yildrz, F.. Tablettes cuneirormes de Tetlo cu Musee d"s!onbul I...] I, leiden 1989 AfO 40-41, 1993-1994,98-103.

Archaic adminisltative texts Irom Uruk: the early campaigns, ATJ 5, Berlin 1994.

late Uruk Period Cattle and Dairy Products: Evidence from Prolo-Cuneiform Sources, BSA 8, 1995, 33-


late Uruk Pigs and Other Herded Animals, IS Boehmer, Mainz 1995, 121-133. Regulating Dairy Productivity in the Ur III Perfcxi, OrNs 64, 1995. 377-429. Question Mark Relrievol, N.A.B.U. 1995:38.

Protc-Cuneiform Tex's Irom Diverse Co lections, MSVO 4. Berlin 1996.

Grain Accounting Practices in Archaic Mesopotamia, in: Heyrup, j., Dameraw, P. feds.]. Changing Views on Ancient Near Eastern Mathematics, Berlin, forthcoming.

Engwnd, R.K., Gregoire, j.-P.

The Proto-Cunelfatm Texls from Jemde: Nasr. I: Cop;es, transliterations and glossary, MSVO 1, Berlin 1991.

Engiukd, R.K., Nissen, H.J.

Die lexikalischen listen der archaischen Texte ous Uruk, ATU 3, Berlin 1993,

Evans, j.G.

The exploitation of molluscs, in: Ucko, PJ„ Dimbleby, G.W. (eds.j. The domestical on and exploitation of

plants and animals, London 1 969, 479-484. Faies, F.M., Kdispijn, ThJ.H.

An Early Ur III Copy of the Abu S�l�bikh 'Names and Professions' list, JEOL 26, 1979-80. 39-46. Faikenstein, A.

Die Houpitypen der sumerischen Beschw�rung literarisch untersucht, leipziger Semitische Studien, Neue Folge 1, Leipzig 1931.

literarische Keilschrifttexle aus Uruk, Berlin 1931.

Archaische Texte aus Uruk, ATU 1, Berlin, Leipzig 1936.

Aichaische Texte des Iraq-Museums in Bagdad, OlZ 40, 1937, 401-410.

Fek, j, (ed.)

Herodot Historien, vol. I-Il, Munich 1963.

FirM, H.

Ancient Wheal and Barley from Kish, Mesopotamia, American Anthropologist 34, 1932, 303-309. The Track of Man; Adventures of an Anthropologist, Garden City, NY, 1953.

FlNKBEINER, U., R�lllG, W. (eds.)

Gamdal Nasr: Period or Regional Style? Papers given at a symposium hed in Tubingen November 1983, Beihefte zum T�binger Atlas des Vorderen Orients, Reihe B 62 (Geisleswissen sc ha hen), Wiesbaden 1986.

FlNKEl, l.l.

Inscriptions from Tell Brak 1984, Iraq 47. 1985, 187-201 + plls. 32-36.


Early P.g Domestication in the Fertile Crescent: A Retrospective look, FS Brcidwood SAOC 36, Chicoqo 1983, 163-188. foms, R.J.

Studies in Ancient Technology III, Leiden 1955. Fraser, j.

Travels in Koo.-dislon. Mesopotamia, etc.. Including an Aceounl of Ports of Those Countries Hitherto Unvisilec by Europeans, London 1840. Fravne, C R

The Early Dynastic Lisi of Geographica: Names. AOS 74, New Hoven 1992. FRIBERG, J.

The Early Roots of Babylonian Mathematics, vols. HI, Go'eborg 1978-79.

Numbers and Measures in the Earliest Written Records, Scientific American 250/2, February 1984, 110-118.

Mathematik. RIA 7, 1987-90, 531-5B5.

.Review ol Sah man dt-Be�serat, D., Before Writing, Austin 1992, OLZ 89, 1994, 477-502. Geis, I. j.

A Study ol Writing. Chicago 31963.

The Ancie.-it Mesopatamion Ration System, JNES 24, 1965, 230-243. G-owth of a Herd ol Cattle in Ten Years, JCS 21, 1967, 64-69.

From Freedom la Slavery, in: Edzard, D.O. led.), Gesellschahsklassen im Allen Zweislromland und in den angrenzenden Gebieten, CSRAI 18, M�nchen 1972, 81-92. Prisoners of Wor in Early Mesopotamia. JNES 32, 1973, 70-9B. Methods of Decipherment, JRAS 1975, 95-104.

Definition ond Discussion of Slavery ond Serfdom, UF 1 1, 1979, 283-297. Terms for Slaves in Ancient Mesopotamia, FS Diakonoff, Warminster 1982, 81-98. Sumerian and Akkadian Words for 'String ol Fruit*, FS Kraus, leiden 1982, 67-82.

GEI.B, I. j., SlEINKEllfR, P., Wl MING R.M.

Earliest land Tenure Systems in the Near East: Ancient Kudumis, Texl, CUP 104, Chicago 1991. Gibson, McG, Biggs R.D. (eds.)

Seals and Sealing in the Ancient Near East, BiMes 6, Molibu 1977.


Foium. Ethics and Ihe Reburial Controversy, American Antiquity 55, 1990, 585-591. Gosdon, C.H.

The Ancient Near Easl, New York 31965. Gsaeve, M.-C. de

The Ships of ihe Ancienl Near Eost (c. 2000-500 B.C.), OLA 7, leuven 1981. Green, M.W.

A Note on on Archaic Period Geographical lisl from Wcrko, JNES 36, 1977, 293-294. Anirnol Husbandry at Uruk in the Archaic Pe'iod, JNES 39, 1980, 1-35.

The Cans'ruclian and Implementation of ihe Cuneiform Wriling System, Visible Lanquage 15, 1981, 345-372.

Miscellaneous Early Texls Irom Uruk, ZA 72, 1982, 163-177. Early Sumerion Tax Collectors, JCS 36, 1984, 93-95. Urum and Uqair, ASJ 8, 1986. 77-B3. Green, M.W., Nissen, H.j.

Zeichenlisle der archaischen Texte aus Uruk, ATU 2, Berlin 1987.



Texts from ifie Laie Uruk Period



Inscriptions el archives administratives cuneitormes (lr partiel, MVN 10, Rome 19G1.


Sumeriari and Akkadian Administrative Texts Irom Predynastic Times to the End of the Akkod Dynasty, BIN 8, New Haven 1958. Bearbeitung: Selz. G.J., Allsumeiische Verwaltungstexte aus Lagos, 2: Alt-sumcrische Wirtschaftsurkunden aus amerikanischen Sammlungen, fAOS 15/2, Stullgart 1993 509-642. al-Hapithi, A.

Oplimal Utilization of the Water Resources of the Euphrates River of Iraq, UAnzana dissertation. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor 1979. Hau, H.R.

ta sculpture bobyonieme et assyrlenne an British Museum, Ars Asiatica 1 1, Par is-Brussels 1928. Halo, WW.

A Sumerian Amphictyony, JCS 14, 1960, BS-114. Harrison, D.L.

The Mammals of Arabia, London 1964-72. Hatt, R.T.

The Mammals of Iraq, University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology. Miscellaneous Publications no. 106, Ann Arbor 1959. Heimpei, W.

Sumerische und akkadische Personennamen in Surner und Akkad, AfO 25, 1974-77, 171-174. Heinrich, E.

Schilf und Lehm. Ein Beitrag zur Baugeschichte der Sumerer, Studien zur Baufo'schung 6, Berlin 1934. Kleinfundc aus den archaischen Tempelschichlen in Uruk, ADFU 1, Leipzig 1936. Die Stellung der Uruklcmpel in der Baugeschichle, ZA 49, 1950, 20-44. Bauwerke in der altsumerischen Bildkunst, Wiesbaden 1957.

Die Tempel und Heiligt�mer im ollen Mesopotarr.ier, Typologie, Morphologe und Geschichte Berlin 1982.

Heinrich, E,, Faixenstein, A.

Sechsler vorl�ufiger Bericht �ber die von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft in Uiuk-Warko unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB 6|, APAW 1935/2. Berlin 1935.

Hoch, E.

Reflecliors on Prehistoric Life at Umm an-Nar (Trucial Oman) Based an Faunal Remains from the Third Millennium BC, in: Taddei, M. (ed.j, South Asian Archaeology 1977, vol. 1, Naples 1979, 589-638.

Hole, F., Fiannery K.V., Neely, J.A. (eos.)

Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Deh luran Plain. An Early Village Sequence from Khuziston, Iran, Memoirs of the AAuseum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, no. 1, Ann Arbor 1969,


Sumerian: The descendant of a proto-historicaf Creole? An alternative approach lo the "Sumerian Problem', Annali delI'lstitulo Orientale di Napoli: Annoli del Seminorio di studi del mundo cbssico Sezione linguislica 14, 1992, 21-72.

Hcyrup, J., Dambjow, P. (eds.)

Changing Views on Ancient Near Eastern AAalhemalics, Ber'in, forthcoming.

Hruska, B.

Sumerian Agriculture: New Findings, Preprint Series of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science no. 26, Berlin 1995. Jacobsen, Th.

Early Political Development in Mesopotamia, ZA 52, 1957, 91 -140.

On the Textile Induslrv al Ur under Ibbi-Sin, Studio Orienta:ia loanni Pcdersen (...) diccta Copenhagen 1953,172-187.

The Iii, of d=n-lil:, FS Sjoberg, OPSNKF i 1, Philadelphia 1989, 267-276. Jasiwl, S.A., Caies, J.

Hath/ tokens and lablets in Mesoootamio: new information dam Tell Abodo ond Tell Brak, World Archaeology 17, 1986, 348-367.

Je-tn. (

TabeMes sumeriernes de Suruppak censervees au Musee de Stamboul. Atemoires de I Institut francais d'nrrhelogie ce Stamboul III, Paris 1937.

Jordan, J.

Aus den Berichten aus Warka. Oktober 191 2 bis M�rz 1913, MDOG 51, April 1913, 47-76.

Aus den Berichten ous Warka. Marz bis Mai 1913, M.DOG 53, April 1914, 9-17.

Uruk-Worka nach den Ausgrabungen djrch die Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, WVDOG 51, Leipzig


Erster vcil�uligct Bericht �ber die von der Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft in Uruk-Worko unterno-nmeneri Ausgrabungen (UVB 1), APAW 1929/7, Berlin 1930.

Zweiter vorl�ufiger Bericht �ber die von der Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft in Uruk unter-nommeren Ausgrabungen (UVB 2), APAW 1930/4, Berlin 1931.

Dritter vorlduliger Bericht �be' die von der NctgeTeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft in Uruk unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB 3), APAW 1932/2, Berlin 1932. Khmaf, KT.

Reotilesol Iraq, with some Notes on the Amphibians, Baghdad 1959.

The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of Iroq, Boghdad 1961. Khoihaas, W.

Hillcr-Abenteuer in Irak, Freiburg 1989. Kos=, A.

Walter Andraes Besuch in Uruk-Warko vom 18.12.1902, FS Boehmer, Mainz 1995, 299-306. KnAus, F.R.

Staatliche Viehhaltung im o'lbobyloniscfien Lardc larsa. Amsterdam 1966.

Sumerer und Akkoder. ein Problem der altmesopotamischen Geschichte, Amsterdam 1970.

K?t3ERNIK, rVl.

Die Beschw�rungen ous Fara und Ebla. Untersuchungen zur �ltesten keilschrifllichen Beschworungsliterotur, TSC 2, Hildesheim, Z�rich, NewYotk. 19B4.

.Review of Green, MW., Nissen, HJ., Zeichenliste der orchoischen Texte aus Uruk, ATU 2, Berlin 1987, OLZ 89, 1994, 380-385. Kreber.nik, M., Nissen, HJ.

Die sumerisch-okkadische Keitschrifl, in: G�nther, H., Ludwig, O. (eds.), Schrift und Schriftlichkeit, Berlin 1994, 274.288.

K�echer, J.

Eine unorthegrophisebe sumerische Wortliste ous Ebla, OrAnl 22, 1983, 179-189. Kpispijn, Th.J.H.

Die Identifikation zweier lexikalischen Texte aus Eb'a: MEE ill Nr. 62 und 63, JEOl 27, 1981-82, 47-59.

Kuckenburg, M.

Die Entstehung von Sprache und Schrift. Ein kulturgeschichtlicher Uberblick, Cologne 1989. Labat, R.

Manuel depigraphie akkadienne (Signes, Syllabaire, Idcogiammes). Nouvelles edition, revue et corrigee per F'orence Malbran-Labol, Paris 61988. Latont, B., Yiioiz, F.

Tablettes cuneiformes de Tello au Musee d'lslanbul, Datanl de I epoque dela Iii* Dynoslie d'Ur. I [ITT 11/1, 617-1C38), Uilgaverivan liet Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Ins'iluul le Istanbul 65, Leiden 1989.



Texts from ihe Lote Uruk Period

TabletisscuneifotmesdeTalloauMuseed'lslonbul, Dalanlde lepoquedeloIK' Dynastied'Ur. II(ITT 11/1, 2544-2819, 3158-43^2, 4708-4713), Uitgoven voir hot Ncderionds Historisch-Archaeologisch Insliluut te Istanbul 77, leiden 1996.

lanusberger, B.

Die Fauna des alten Mesopotamien nach der 14. Ta:el der Serie HAR-RA - HU8ULLU, ASAW 42/6, Leipzig 1934.

Three bssays on the Sumerinns{ 1943-1945). Inlroduction and Translation byM. de.', tllis, SANE 1 /2, Los Angeles 1974. Langdon, S.

Excavations at Kish I. The Herbert Weld (for the University o?Oxfordl ond Field Museum aF Natural History

(Chicago) Expedition to Mesopotamia, vol I, 1923-1924, Pons 1924.

Ausgrabungen in Eabylonien seil 1918, Der Alte Orient 26, Leipzig 1927, 3-75.

The 1 lerbert Weld Collection in ihe Ashnoleon Museum: Piclogrophic Inscriptions from Jemde' Nasr

OECT7, QJord 1928.

A New Factor in the Problem of Sumerian Origins, j RAS i 931. 593-596. New Texts from Jemdct Nosr, JRAS 1931, 837-844 Le Brum, A.

Recherches slraligraphiques a I'Acropole de Suse, 1969-i 971, CahDAFI 1, 1971, 163-216, Le Brun, A., Vauat, F.

L'originede I'ecriture � Suse, CahDAFI 8, 1978, i 1-59.

Lenzen, H.J.

Die Entwicklung der Zikurrcl von ihren Anf�ngen bis zur Zeil der III. Dynastie von Ur, ADFU 4, Leipzig 1941.

Die Tempel der Schicht Archaisch IV in Uruk, ZA 49, 1950, 1 -20.

Mesopotamische Tempebnlagen von der Fr�hzeit bis zum zweiten Jahrtausend, ZA 51, 1955, 1-36. Die Architektur der Schicht Uruk Arch. III (Djemdet Nasr) in Eannc, FS Sahnen, 5tOr 46 Helsinki 1975 169-191. Lieberman, SJ.

Of day Pebbles, Hollow Clay Bolls, ond Writing: A Sumerian View, AJA 84, 1980. 339-358. Limit, H.

L'Anlhroponymie sumerienne dans les documents de la 3* dyroslie d'Ur, Bib'iolheque de la Foculte de Phibsphic et Leltrc-s de I'Unrversilece Liege - Fascicule 180, Paris 1968. LlOYD, S., Satait, F.

Eridu: A Preliminary Communication on the First Season's Excavtions: January-March 1947 S'jmer 3

1947, 84-1 11.

Errdu: A P.-eliminarv Communications [sic] on the Second Season's Excavations: 1947-194B Sumer A

1948, 115-125.

Tell Uqoir. Excavolions by Ihe Iroq Government Directorate of Antiquiries in 1940 and 194 I, JNES 2 1943, 131-158 + pits. Loftus, W.K.

Travels and Researches in Choldaea and Susiana; with an account of excavolions at Warkn, the 'Erech" oF Nimrcd, and Shush, 'Shushan ihe palace' ol Esther, in 1 849-52, London 1857. Mackay, E.

Report on Excavations oljemdet Nosr, Iraq, Field Museum ol Natural History, Amhropology Memoirs 1/3, Chicago 1931.

Mai*. V.H.

Modem Chinese Writing, in: Doniels, P.T., Bright, W. (eds.), The World s Writing Systems New Yo-k Oxford 1996, 200-208.

Margueron, J.

Recherches sur les palais mesopotamiens de l�ge du Bronze, Parts 1982


Martin, H.P.

Fara: A Reconstruction of the Ancient Mesopolambn City of Shuruppok, Birmingham 198B, Marzahn, J.

Altsumerische Verwollungstexle aus Girsu/Logas, VS 25, Berlin 1991. Matthiws, RJ.

The World's First Pig Formers, Pig Fnrrreng 33, March 1985, 51-55. Excavations at Jemdct Nosr, 1968, Iraq 51, 19B9, 225-248 + pits. 33-24. Exceptions al Jemdel Nasr, 1989, Iraq 52, 1990, 25-39.

Clay Sealings in Early Dynastic Mesopotamia: a Functional and Conlexluol Approach, Diss. University of Cambridge, 1989.

Jemdel Nas-: ihe Site ond the Petiod. Biblical Archaeologist 55, 1992, 196-203.

Cities, Seols and Writing: Archaic Seal Impressions from jemdel Nasr and Ur, MSVO 2, Berlin 1993. Mee�, P.E. van der

Dix-sept lobleltes semi-pictogrophiques, RA 33, 1936, 185-190. MelkSyiii, G.A

Esclovage, feoctalismeel mode de production asiolique dans i'Orienlancicn, in: Sur la'Mode de production asiatique', Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches marxistes, Paris 1974, 257-277. Merggi, P.

Altsumerische und protc-elamische Bilderschrift, ZDMG Spl. 1, 1969, 156-163.

La scrittu'o proto-elamica ML, Rome 1971-74,

Der Stand der Erforschung des Proto-Ebmischen, JRAS 1975, 105.


Review of Schnondt-Besseral, D., Before Writing, Austin 1992, American Anthropologist 95, 1993, 996-999.

Memory and Deed: The Historiography of the Political Expansion of the Akkod Stale, in: Liveiani, M. (ed.), Akkad. The First World Empire. Slruclure, Ideology, Traditions, HANE/5 5, Padua 1993, 69-90. Writing ond Literacy in Early Stales: A Mesopolomionist Perspeclive, in: Keller-Cohen, D. (ed.}, Literacy: Interdisciplinary Conversations, Cresskill, NJ, 1994, 49-70. Miliars, A.R.

The Bevelled-Rin Bowls: Their Purpose and Signi'icance, Iraq 50, 1988, 49-57. Moorev, P. R. S.

Kish Excavations 1923-1933, Oxford, New York 1978. Muoar, K.

Early Dyncslic III Animal Utilization in Lagash: A Reporl on theFounoof Tell Al-Hibo, JNES 41, 1982, 23-34.

Mynors, H.

An Examination of Mesopolambn Ceramics Using Petrographic ond Neutron Activation Analysis, ii: Aspinoll, A., Worren, S. (eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd Symposium on Archaeometry, School of Physics ond Archceologico! Sciences, Brodford 1983, 377-387. Nagei, W.

Gelreide. C. In der Arch�ologie, RIA 3, 1957-71,315-318.

Fr�he Grosspia slik und die Hochkulturkunst cm Erythro Ischen Meer, Berliner Jahrbuch f�r Vor- und Fr�hge-schich'e�, 1966, 1-54 ■<-plis. 1-14.

Nl55EN, HJ.

Remarks on Ihe Uruk IVa and III Forerunners, in: Civil. M. (ed.), The Series l� = so and Reloted lexis MSL 12, Rome 1969, 4-8.

Grabung in den Guadroten K/L XII in Uiuk-Warka, BaM 5, 1970, 101-191

Aspects of the Development oF Eorfy Cylinder Seols, in: Gibson, McG., Biggs R.D. (eds.|, Seds und Sealing in the Ancient Near East, BiMes 6, 1977, 15-23.



Texts from the Late UriA Period ,

Bemerkungen zur Listenlileralur Vorderasiens im 3. Jahrtausend (gesehen von den Archaischen Texten von IJruk), in: Cagni, L (ed.), La lingua di Ebb, Naples 1981, 99-108.

Grund��ge einer Geschichte der Fr�hzeil des Vorderer. Orients, Giundz�ge 52, Darmstadt 1983. Orlsnamen in den archaischen Texten aus Uruk. OrNs 54. 1985. 226-233.

The Development of Writing and of Glyptic Art, in: Fiokbeiner, U., S�llig W. (eds ) Gamdct Nasr Wiesbaden 19S6, 316-331.

The Context of Ihe Emergence of Writing in Mesopotamia and Iran, in; Curtis, j. (ed.). Early Mesopotamia and Iran: Contact and Conflict 3500-1600 B.C., London 1993, 54-71. Katalog der archaischen Texte aus Uruk, ATU 4, Berlin, forthcoming, Nissen, HJ., Damerow. P., Engiund, R.K.

Fr�he Schrill und Techniken der Wirtschaftsverwaltung im aTen Vorderen Orient, Berlin 21991. Archaic Bookkeeping: Early Writing and Techniques of Economic Administration in 'he Ancient Near East, Chicago 1993 (levised English edition ol Fr�he Schrift).


An Asymmetrical Janus Parallelism in the Gilgamesh Flood Story, ASJ 16, 1994, 306-308.


Vierter vorl�ufiger Bericht �ber die von der Notgcmeinschofl der Deutschen Wissenschah in Uruk unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB 4], AP AW 1932/6, Berlin 1932.

F�nfter vorl�ufiger Bericht �bet die von der Notgcmcinschalt der Deutschen Wissenschaft in Uruk unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB 5], APAW 1933/5, Bctlir '934.

Siebenler vorl�ufiger 3ericht �ber die von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft in Uruk-Worka unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB 7). APAW 1935/4, Berlin 1936.

Achter vorl�ufiger Bericht Uber d'e von der Deutschen "crschurigsgemehschcfl in Uruk-Wo'ka unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB 8), APAW 1936/13, Berlin 1937.

Neunter vorl�ufiger Bericht �ber die von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft in Uiuk-Warka unferr.om- I menen Ausgrabungen (UVB 9), APAW 1937/1 1, Berlin 1938.

Zehnler vorl�ufiger Bericht �ber die von der Deulschen Forschuncsgerreinschafl in Uruk-Warka unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB 10), APAW 1939/2, Bertin 1939.

Elfter vorl�ufiger Bericht �ber die von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft in Uruk-Worka unternommenen Ausgrabungen (UVB 1 1), APAW 1940/3, Berlin 1940. North, R.

Status oF the Warka Excavation, OrNs 26, 1957, 185-256. Oates, D., Oates, j,

The Rise ol Civilization, Oxford 1976.

gates, J. Ei Al.

Seafaring merchants of Ik?, Antiquity 51, 1977, 221-234. Oppenhewi, A.L

On on Operational Device in Mesopotamion Bureaucracy, JNES 18, :959, 121-128.

Ancient AAssopotomia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization, Chicago '964. Rev. Ed., Compl. by Erica Reiner

Chicago, London 1977.


Der alte Orient, PKG 14, Frankfurt. Berlin, Vienna 1975. Parpola, S.

Transliteration of Sumerian: problems and prospec's, FS Salonen, StOr 46, He'sinki 1975, 239-257. pAtrjor, A

lesFouillesdeTelloetdeScnkereh-Larsa. Campagne 1932-1933 IRappoil prelimincire'l RA 30 1933 169-182.

Tello. Vingt campognesdefauille5|1877-1933), Paris 1948.

Les fouilles de Mari. Quatorzieme Campagne (Ptintemps 1964), Syria 42, 1965, 1-24.


Pavnf, S.

Partial Recovery and Sample Bics: The Result of Some Sieving Experiments, in: Higgs, E.S. |ed.). Papers in Economic Prehistory I, Cambridge 1972, 49-64.

Parlial Recovery and Sample Bios, in: Orison, AT. (ed.). Archneo70olngiml studies. Papers aF the Archaeo�oological Conference 1974, held at the Bidaajsch-Atchoeobgisch Inslituulolthe 5lole University cf Groningen, Amsterdam .Oxford, New York 1975, 7-17. Petti nato, G.

lAllanle Geogiclico del Vicino Oriente Anlico attestalo ad Ebla e ad Abu Salabikh (l), OrNs 47, 1978, 50-73 i pits. 7-12

Testi lessiccli mono! r.gui della Biblioteca I. 2769, MEE 3. Napfes 1981.

L ste presarconic'ne d uccel'i reib documentozione di Fora ed Ebla, OrAnt 17, 1978, 165-178 + pits. 14-16.


The Fara Lists oř Proper Names, JAOS 104, 1984, 553-558. Pew*, E.

Iio-ian Art and Archaeology: A KepO't of the Fitth International Congress, 1968. Archaeology 22, 1969 54-65.


Excovations at Abu Safabikh, 1975. Par! 1: The Excavations, Iraq 38, 1976, 133-161. Early Dynastic Buricl Customs at Abu Salobikh, Sumer 36, 1980, 65-82. POSTGATE, J. N., MOOR�ť, P. R. S.

Excavo'ions ot Abu Sobbikh, 1975, Iraq 38, 1976, 133-169. Pons, D.

On Sal' and Salt Gathering in Ancienl Mesopotamia, JESHO 27. 1984, 225-271. Poweh, M.A.

The Or gin lo the Sexagesimal System: The Interaction of language ond Writing, Visible Language 6, 1972. 5-18.

Sumerian Area Measures ond the Alleged Decimo' Subsfatu.ri, ZA 62, 1972, 165-22 I.

Three Problems in the History of Cuneiform Writing: Origins, Direction ol Script, literacy, Visible Language

15, 1981, 419-440.

Salt, 5eed, and Yie'ds :" Sumerian Acricullure. A Critique af Ihe Theory o! Progressive Solinizanon, ZA 75, 1985, 7-38. Qua.ls, C.

Early shipping in Mesopotamia, UCclumbia dissertation, New York, 1981. Reade. J.

An eaify Warko tauet, FS Slrommenger, Munich 1992, 177-179 + pi. 79. Redoing, R.W.

Tie Faunal Remains, in: Wright H.T. (ed.). An Early Town on the Deh luran Plain. Excavotions at Tepe Farukhabad, Memoirs of the Museum o' Anthropo'ogy, University ol Mchigan, no. 13, Ann Arbor 1981, 233-261. Reiwei.. W.

Geschichte der babylonischen und assyrischen Keldung, Berlin 1921 .

Renfrew, J M.

Cereals cultivated in Ancienl Iraq, BSA 1, 1964, 32-44.

RivovRE. D sties vra is �ra be 5 el leurs pays. Bagdad el lesvilles ignorees de l'Euphrole, Poris 1884,

RoAt, M

Excavations at Al Markh, Bahrain: a lish midden ol the fourth millenium B.C., Paleorient 2, 1974 499-501.


Texts Irom the Late Uruk Period


Robinson, A.

The Slory of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs and Pictogrophs, tendon 1995. Rohr, H.M.

Writing: its evolution and relation to speech, Bochum 1994. R�mer, W.H.Ph.

Einf�hrung in die Sumerologie, Nijmegen 1982.

Die Sumrxolagie. Versuch einer Einf�hrung in den forschungssland r-.ebbt einer Bib'iographie in Auswahl AOAT 238, Neukiichen-Viuyn 1994. Safa�, F.

Eridu: A Preliminary Report on the Third Season's Excavations, 1948-49, Suncr 6, 1950, 27-38. Safar, F , Mustafa, M. A., Iioyd, S.

Eridu, Baghdad 1981. Saionen, A.

Die Wasserfahrzeuge in Babylonien nach šumerisch-okkadischen Ouellai I mil besonderer Ber�cksichtigung der 4, Tafel der Serie HAR-ra= hubullu). Eine lexikalische und kulturgeschichtliche Untersuchung StOr B/ 4, Helsinki 1939.

Nautica Babyloniaca. Eine lexikalische und kulturgeschichtliche Untersuchung. StOr 11/1, Helsinki 1942. Die Fischerei im alten Mesopotamien noch sjmerisch-akkcd'schen Quellen, AASF Bl 66, Helsinki 1970. Sampson, G.

Writing Systems: A Linguistic Introduction, Polo Alto 1984. SCHEiL, V.

Textes ebmitcs-semiliques. Premi�re s�rie, MOP 2, Paris 1900. Textes �bmlfes-s�miriques. Tro�siěme s�rie, MDP 6, Poris 1905. Documents el arguments 9. Tablettes plctographiques, RA 26, 1929, 15-17, Schmandt-Besserat, D.

Tfie Use of Clay before Pottery in trie Zagros, expedition 16/2. 1974, 11-17.

An Archaic Recording System and ihe Origin of Writing, SMS 1 /2, 1977, 31-70.

The Envelopes that Bear the First Writing, Technology and Culture 21,1980, 357-385.

From Tokens to Tablets: A Re-evaluation of the So-colled 'Numerical Tablets' Visible Language 15

1981, 321-344.

Before Numerals, Visible language 18, 1984,48-60.

The Origins of Writing. An Archaeologist's Perspective, Written Communication 3, 1986, 31 -45. Tokens at Susa, OrAnt 25, 1986, 93-i 25 4 pits. 4-10. Before Writing, vols. I-II, Austin 1992.


Sumerische Ph�nologie: Zu Konsonanienverbindungen und Silbenslruktur, Acta Orientalia 54 1993 7 30.

Selz, GJ.

Review of Heyes, J.L, A Manual of Sumerion Grammar and Texts, Malibu 1990 OLZ 87 1992 136-148.

Maš-da-rl-a und Verwandtes. Ein Versuch �ber da-ri 'an der Seile f�hren': ein zusammengesetztes Verbum und einige nominale Abbilungen, ASJ 17, 1995, 251-274. Serjeant, R.B.

Fisher-Folk and Fish-Trops in ol-Bafrain, BSOAS 31, 1968, 486-514. SHENEX3E, M.J,

The use of Seals and the invention of Wriling, JESHO 26, 1983, 113-136,


Messenger Texts from the British Museum, Potomac, MD 1990. Sumeiian Archival Texts I: Texts from Ihe British Museum, �ethesdo 1993.

Smith, J.

Historical Observations on the Conditions of the Fisheries Among Ancienl Greeks and Romans, and on Their Mode of Salting and Pickling F sh, U.S. Commission on Fish and F sheries, Report of the Commissioner br 1873^1 ond 1874-5. Washington 1876.


Sumerica, ZA 53, 1959, 1-8. Steinkhier, P.

Alleged GUR.DA = ugub-ges-da and me Reading of the Sumerion Numeral 60, ZA 69, 1979, 176-137.

On me Reading ond Location of ihe Toponyms �Rx�.KI ond A.HA.KI, JCS 32, 1980, 23-33.

On the Reading and Meaning of igi-k�r and g�rum(IGI.GAR), A5J 4, 1982, 149-151.

The Administrative ond Economic Orcaniialion of the Ur III State: The Core and the Periphery, in: Gibson

McG , B ggs, R.D. Jeds.), The Organization of Fower: Aspects ol Bureaucracy in Ihe Ancient Near Eosl,

SAOC 46, Chicago '1987, 19-41 = '1991, 15-33.

Grundeigentum in Bobybnien von Uruk IV bis zur Ir�hdynostischen Period II, Jahrbuch for Wirtschaftsge-schichle 1987, 1 1-27,

Review of Green, M.W., Nissen, HJ., Zeichenliste der Archaischen Texte aus Uruk, ATU 2, Berlin 1987, BiOr52. 1995, 689-713.

Review ol Englu-.d, R.K., Nissen, HJ.. Die bxikalischen listen der archoischen Texte aus Uruk, ATU 3, Berix, 1993, AlO 42/43, 1995-96, 21 1-214. Stoi, M.

Milk, Butte-, and Cheese, BSA 7, 1993. 99-113.

Milchprodukte). A. In Mesopotamien, RlA B/3-4, 1994, 189-201.

S'rovasemc-ek, E.

Mesopo to mische Gewand typen von der Fr�hsumerischen bis zur larsa-Zeil, Ada Proehislorica et Archaeolcgica 2, 1971, 37-55.

Habuoa Kabira. Eine Stadl vor 5000 Jahren, Mainz 1980. Kleidung. B. Arch�ologisch, RIA 6, 1980-83, 31-38. Struve, V.V.

Some New Dolo on the Organiza'ion of Labour and on Social Structure in Sumei During Ihe Reign of the lllrd Dynasty of Ur, in: Oiakonoff, l.M. (ed.j, Ancient AAesopolomio. Socio-economic History. A Collection of Studies by Soviet Schobrs, Moscow 1969, 127-172. S'Jse-jhagen, D.

Relative Chronology of ihe Uruk Period. New Evidence form Uruk-Warko and Northern Syria, Buletin of The Canadian Society lor Mesopotamien Studies 25, May 1993, 57-70. SZAtZYNSKA, X.

Some of Ihe oldest cult symbols in archoic Uruk, JEOl 30, 1987-88, 3-21. Thesige�, W.

The Marsh Arabs, London 1964. Thomsen, M.-L.

The Home of the Fish': A New Interpretation, JCS 27, 1975, 197-200. F. Thureau-Dangim

Tablettes d signes p'Cluroux, RA 24, 1927, 23-29. Tike, M.

Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des orientalischen Kosl�ms. Berlin 1923. Tost, M.

Catalogue to the exhibition ol the Museo Nazioncle d arte Orientale, 14.5 - 19.7,1981.

Early maritime cultures of the Arabian Gulf ond the Indian Ocean, in: Al Khalifa, S., Rice, M. (eds.),

Bahrain ihrough ihe ages: the Archaeology, london 1986, 94-107.


23 i

Texts from the lole Uruk Period

TuRNBua, P.F., Reed, C.A.

The Found from the Terminal Pleistocene of Palegawra Cave. A Zo-zian Occupation Site in Northeastern Iraq, Fieldrano Anthropology 63/3, 1974, 81-146. Vacvian, A.A.

Uber die prakKumerische Schrift, ActAntH 22, 1974, 15-27. Eisen in Sumer, AlO Beih 19, 1982, 33-37.

�ber die Beziehung der protaelamischer zur protosumenschen Schrill, BaM 20, 1989. 101-114. Protosumehsehe Mass- und Z�hlsysteme, BaM 20, 1989, 114-120.

Die Bezeichnung von Sklaven und Sklavinnen in der p-otosumeiischen Schuft, BaM 20 1989 121-133.

Zur Entzifferung der pralo-sumerischen Schrift (vorl�ufige Mitteilung), BaM 21, 1990, 91-103. Formale Besonderheiten der proto-sumerischen Tente, BaM 21.199C, 103-1 13, Die Zeichen E und III in den proto-sumerischen Texten aus Djemdel-Nasr, BoM 21,1990, 114-115. Die Deutung einiger Zeichen in prolo-sumerisehen Sklaven- und Sklaviinenlis'e.n, BaM 21 1990 I 1 6-123. Vaiiat, F.

les documentsepigraphique de lacropolef 1969-1971), CahDAFI 1, 1971, 235-245.

Le materiel epigraphique des couches 18 � 14 de locropole, Poleorieril 4, 1978, 193-195. Vanstwhout, H.LJ.

An Essay on The Home of the Fish1, OlA 13, 19B2, 311-319. VtCNHOf, K.R.

SAG.IL.LA - saggil�, 'Difference Assessed' on Measuring and Accounting in Some Old Babylonian Texts, FS Bird. Pans 1985, 285-306. Veidhuis, N.

Review of Englund, R.K, Nissen, HJ, Die lexikalischen Listen der archaischen Texte aus Uruk ATU 3 Berlin 1993, 6iOr52, 1995, 433-440. Vilo. R,A, Dt

Studies in Third Millennium Surnerian and Akkadian 'ersonal Names. The Designolion and Conception of the Personal God, SlPohl SM 16, Rcme 1993. Waet2chdt, H.

Untersuchungen zur neusumerischen Textilindustrie, Rome 1972.

Zu den Sirandverschiebungen am Persischen Golf und den Beze chnungen der Hors, in: Sch�fer j 5imon, W. (eds.), Slrandverschiebjngen in ihrer Bedeutung f�i Geowissenschahen und Atch�oloqie' Rupeila Carola Sonderholt 1981, Heidelberg, 159-184.

Zur Termindogie der Meto le in den Texten aus Eb'a. in: Caani, L. (cd,1, La linqua di Ebla Naples 198 1 363-378.

Kleidung. A. Philologisch, RIA 6, 1980-83, 18-31.

Die Situation der Frauen und Kinder anhand ihrer Einkommensverh�llnisso zur Zeil der III Dynastie von Ur

AoF 15, 1988, 3044. Wateun. LCh, Lancbon, S.

Excavations at Kish, irre Herbert Weld (for the University of Oxford] and Field Museum o( Natural History

(Chicago) Expedition to Mesopotamia, vol. IV 1925-1930, Paris 1934. Waierman, J.

The Production of Dried Fish, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper no. 160, Rome 1976. Watt, B , Mlrrhi, A.

Composition ol Foods, Agricultural Handbook No. 8, Washington, D.C., 1975. Weiss, H-, Young, T.C.

The Merchants of Suso. Godin V and Plateou-lowland Relations in the late Fourth M.llennium B C Iron 13, 1975, 1-17. ' "


Wes-bsook, R.

Slave and Master in Ancient Neor Eastern law. Symposium on Ancient Law, Economics and Society I,

Chicago-Kent Law Review 70, 1995, 1631-1676. WtSrpHAl-hel.busch, S.. Wespi-a„ H.

Die Mo'don. Kultur und Geschichte der Ma-sclieribewolirie: im S�d-Iroq, Forschungen zur Ethnologie und

Sozial Psychologie 4, Berlin 1962. Wickeue, A. von

Pr�historische Slempelglyptk in Vorderosien, MVS 6, Munich 1990. Wiggerwann, F.A.M.

Aan de wieg van hei schrift: Wtsopotamische spijkcrscHrifltabletten uil 2900400v.C, Exhibition cotabgue, Vri|e Iniveisileil Amsterdam, 24.4.-9.6.1992. Wi'.cke, C

Formo'e Gesichtspunkte in der sumerischen Lileratur, FSJacobsen, AS 20, Chicago 1976, 205-316. Genealogical ond Geographica! Thought in the Sumerion King List. FS Sj�berg, OPSNKF 11, Philadelphia 1989, 557-571.

Wim-, O

Hnrdbuch der Fischkonservierung, Hamburg 1949. Wiusom, K.l

Mippm: The Definilion o: a Mesopotamian Gamc'at Nasi Assemblage, in: Finkbainer, U,, K�llig, W. ieds.), Gcndal Nasi, Wiebaden 1986, 57-89.


Die Al-ertums- urd Orientwissenscholt :rn Dienst des deutschen Imperialismus, Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Universit�t Helle XX/2, 1971, 85-95. Yosh t*w�, M.

Review ol Thomsen, M.-„, The Sumerion longuagc: An Inlroduction to its History ond Grammatical StruOLre, Mesopotamia 10, Copenhagen 1984, 3iOr 45, 19B8, 499-509. Zririci:, S.l.

Sealing5 os Arlilacls of Institutional Administration in Ancient Mesopotamia, JCS 39, 19B7, 197-240.


Review of Schmandt-Besserot. D.. Before Willing, Austin 1992, Journal of Field Archaeology 20, 1993, 513-517.


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