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Home > Auctions > 21st February 2023 > Neo-Babylonian Cuneiform Administrative Tablet with added Aramaic Graffiti to Edge

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LOT 0168

Estimate
GBP (£) 800 - 1,000
EUR (€) 900 - 1,120
USD ($) 980 - 1,230

Opening Bid
£720 (EUR 807; USD 882) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0
NEO-BABYLONIAN CUNEIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE TABLET WITH ADDED ARAMAIC GRAFFITI TO EDGE
6TH-5TH CENTURY B.C.
2 5/8 in. (114 grams, 67 mm wide).

A pillow-shaped administrative clay tablet bearing cuneiform text to both principal faces, recording a promissory note to pay barley; Aramaic graffiti to one edge; Babylonian name.

PROVENANCE:
Specialised collection of cuneiform texts, the property of a London gentleman and housed in London before 1992.
Thence by descent to family members.
Examined by Professor Wilfrid George Lambert FBA (1926-2011), historian, archaeologist, and specialist in Assyriology and Near Eastern archaeology, in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The collection is exceptional for the variety of types, including some very rare and well preserved examples.

LITERATURE:
Cf. The Metropolitan Museum, New York, 86.11.163, for similar.

FOOTNOTES:
The tablet records a promissory note of a typical kind to pay for barley. It concludes with the names of witnesses, town and date. The Aramaic script transcribes the cuneiform name of the debtor into Aramaic script, making it easier for scribes to identify who each tablet refers to.
It dates to the Achaemenid period, possibly to the reign of Artaxerxes I (465-424 B.C.) or II (405-359).
Such late administrative tablets are typically carelessly written, as is apparent on our example as some script has been rendered slanting sharply downwards.

CONDITION