HISTORIC CONNECTIONS

Bringing the Past Alive...

Sumerian Calculus Tablet

Plimpton 322


A reproduction of a Sumerian Trigonometry Tablet from Larsa dated 1822-1762BC which is around the time of Hammurabi.

This tablet was found in the early 1900s and sold to philanthropist George Plimpton and hence named Plimpton 322.

It has been brought to a new attention after University of NSW Professors Daniel Mansfield and Norman Wildberger as Mathematicians reassessed the tablet and its handling of Pythagorean Triplets or the 3/4/5 of right angle triangles.


We today use a base 10 decimal system while in ancient Mesopotamia they used a base 60 sexagesimal system from where we get our 60 minutes, 360 degrees and so forth. This tablet describes the proportional shapes of the triangles using a different version than that of the alternate angles and circles.


Pythagoras didn't invent the theorem after which he gave name to. It was in existence over a thousand years earlier and in many more diverse form that we realise. Mankind today is still trying to work out just how much the ancients did know about mathematics, science and astronomy.


130 x 90 x 25mm


$99.95AUD plus P&H

Pythagoras Tablet


Old Babylonian Tablet 19-17th century BC depicting the square root of two.


$39.95AUD plus P&H Quote PYTHTABSML1

Old Babylonian Geometry Tablet


The tablet represents one of the oldest mathematical diagrams ever found and the earliest use of thePythagoras Theorem. Originating from the eighteenth century BC city of Larsa in southern Iraq, the tablet is part of an ancient mathematical textbook that includes a problem involving the construction of an equilateral triangle.

It displays several geometry problems that concern shapes drawn inside a square of 60 rods (about 360 meters) on a four by four grid of smaller squares. They are organised in increasing order of complexity, without solutions or numerical answers, giving the clear impression of a teaching aid or text book.

Each of the illustrated problems (which remain in whole or in part) consist of a description of the figures in the accompanying diagrams along with the question, "What are their areas?" Students are believed to have solved individual problems on small hand-tablets. The combination of text and diagrams has allowed researchers to restore most of the missing figures and obliterated technical terms.

The tablet has achieved great notoriety amongst mathematicians and remains controversial because it represents hard evidence that the ancient Mesopotamians used the "Pythagorean Theorem" thousands of years before the birth of Pythagoras.

 

 25 x 17cm Early second Millennium BC.

Comes with description of the tablet and translation.

$89.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE OLDBABMATHTABLGE2

Babylonian Pyramid Plan Tablet - Mathematics


7th Century BC

Akkadian cuneiform tablet excavated from ancient Babylon by Hormuzd Rassam in 1880 depicting drawing & measurements for the construction of the six lower sections of a Ziggurat pyramid.

Babylonian multiplication tables express both fractions as well a spherical mathematics and shows that the science of developing such large structures was the result of a complex understanding of mathematical principles.


Comes with full description and translation.

See VIDEO below.

50 x 40 x 25mm

$54.95AUD plus P&H Quote PYRAMIDTAB1



Gudea of Legash Foundation Cone.


 Cuneiform Cone or nails were used in ancient Mesopotamia around 2000 BC as a dedicatory text when a monarch built or rebuilt a major building and dedicated it to the city deity. This nail has a clear inscription written by the scribe of Gudea, who ruled ancient Legash one of the biggest cities in the known world at the time. Every character of the cuneiform script can be read and this item comes with a translation sheet that you can use to work your way through translating the text. A great exercise in ancient textual analysis! 130mm tall.


$39.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE GUDEACONE1


Agatha Christie Envelope with Seal Impressions.

650BC


Unopened Cuneiform Tablet Envelope with 2 Seal Impressions.

Excavated by Archaeologist Max Mallowan and his wife Agatha Christie at Nimrud (Assyria).


This is a cuneiform tablet the original sealed inside and covered with a second layer of clay, then the agreement for a loan of silver is rewritten on the outer "envelope" and sealed on the reverse with 2 stamp seal impressions. It was then witnessed by six witnesses. Dated 28 Nisan 650BC. In the event of a disagreement as to the loan, the outer envelope would be broken off and the inner text checked against the outer to make sure it hadn't been tampered with.


$39.95AUD plus P&H


Old Babylonian Tablet with its envelope.


Babylonian Tablet with Envelope. The tablet dates about 1822-1763 BC from the reign of Rim-Sin, King of Larsa a contemporary of Hammurabi. The tablet is a receipt for grain sufficient for 6 month supply. The same text is contained on the envelope and on the tablet. The envelope could be broken if there was any dispute over the text, so that the tablet inside could confirm the reading on the envelope. In this reproduction the outer clay envelope has been broken open. When you remove the inner tablet you can see on the inside of the envelope an impression of the rear text from when the outer clay envelope was pressed over the inner tablet.


Scholars at Macquarie University in Sydney Australia are now using high Resolution 3D CT Scanning to view the inner text of a series of clay tablets from the Museum of Ancient Cultures, allowing the inner text to be read for the first time in over 2000 years without breaking open the tablets.


Tablet 45 x 35mm

Envelope 55 x 48mm


$39.95AUD plus P&H


Babylonian Map Tablet

Reproduction of an ancient map with inscription from Sippar in southern Iraq dated to c19th century BC.

It is the only known map from the Neo Babylonian period and it depicts a "birds eye" view of the world with Babylon at the centre.

$44.95AUD plus P&H Quote MAPPAMUNDI1



Assyrian Medical Tablet

A cuneiform tablet fragment recording an ancient Assyrian herbal remedy which uses cannabis for aiding a woman at childbirth. From Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, dated 700BC.

This tablet comes with text and translation.

$49.95AUD plus P&H ASSMEDTAB1

Israel Land Tablet


An URIII Period 2200 - 2000BC tablet written in Akkadian Text but using Sumerian as a language.

Excavated in northern Israel this tablet it is either an inventory or a commercial transaction concerning fields identified in part by which canal (Irrigation Channel) they were next to. The text mentions land measurements and specific canals.

A BUR was a measure of a large land estate (1 BUR = 64,800 square meters).

One ESHE/EBEL is 6 IKU or 1/3 of a BUR (About 21,800 square meters or 18 hectares = 5 acres)


Translation:

1 --------

2 ---next to the Kasi Canal

3 ---next to the Wedutum canal

4 ---next to the Wedetem canal

5 ---

Breaks

1 ---1'---

2 ---

3 2 (Eshe area units) ---20---

4 2 (Eshe area units) ---20---

5 (Indented)---

6 1 (BUR area unit) 2 (EBEL area units)---

7 (Indented)

8 2 (ESHE area units) ----20--- breaks.


This tablet was part of a larger cuneiform tablet.

Suitable for discussion on land measurements and mathematics.

Original in our collection. 50 x 42 x 20mm.

$34.95AUD plus P&H

Babylonian School Tablet


A replica of a 3700 year old clay tablet used as an exercise in a scribes classroom. A young boy was learning to be a scribe. He sat on the floor, his teacher or "Dubsar" 

gave him a ball of clay shaped into a "bun" or "Lentil" as it was called. The Dubsar would write two ones of cuneiform text and the student would copy them on lines three and four. 


$29.95AUD plus P&H

Akkadian Beer Tablet - Key Ring


This tablet is a receipt, written in the Akkadian language of Mesopotamia, for the delivery of a large order of beer and beer related products. It was written during the Kassite period, the mid 13th century BC and was excavated at the site of Nippur (Iraq) at the turn of the last century.

The front reads about quantities while the reverse gives the date and the name of the scribe.


$19.95AUD plus P&H




Cuneiform Dictionary from the Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.


The words are arranged in three sets of double columns. The left hand column of each set contains a rare Assyrian or foreign loan word for furnishings. For example, the word "door" appears in the centre. The right hand column of each set contains the equivalent Assyrian word in common use. The left hand column ends with the colophon of the royal library of Nineveh. The original, found in the library of Nineveh, dates from the 7th century BC. 220 x 140 x 35mm.


$89.95AUD plus P&H

Eshnunna Law Code Tablet


A cuneiform tablet containing a series of laws similar to Hammurabi but earlier than it. It was found in the city of Eshnunna NE of Babylon and dates to c2000BC. One law on the inscription accounts for the owners of "Mad Dogs" who bite people and the recompense due to the victim.


$59.95AUD plus P&H

Sumerian Slave Tablet

 Sumerian tablet from the period of King Shurrupak 2550BC describing the gift of a house and land (one and a half "SAR" approx 54 square meters) which includes a male slave. Early Cuneiform text with text groupings (words) in boxes. This technique developed from the very early pictographic text and soon after this period was changed in favor of text written in horizontal lines.

$44.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE SLAVETAB1

Inscribed Brick - Nebuchadnezzar


Bricks such as these of Nebuchadnezzar II  are very common around the ruins of ancient Babylon.  
Nebuchadnezzar used them in his official building projects and they were made by the millions, every one of them was stamped or written on with a  cuneiform inscription. Our Nebuchadnezzar II Brick is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it contains a declaration by king 
Nebuchadnezzar II,  who is mentioned in the Bible and is the one who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BC and carried the Jews away into exile.

·                 Baked Mud Brick

·                 Neo Babylonian

·                 604-561BC

·                 Babylon

It is estimated 15 million bricks were used to build his official buildings. Bricks were baked clay and usually bore a stamped inscription but some were inscribed by hand. Inscription says: 'Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who cares for Esagila and Ezida, eldest son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon'. 
Esagila was the temple of Marduk in Babylon, Ezida was the temple of Nabu, god of writing in Borsippa.

Cast from an original in a private collection.

 

$39.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE NEB1

Inscribed Brick from Sennacherib's Palace


A casting of a paving stone found between the palace and the temple in Nineveh where Sennacherib was murdered.

The paving brick is inscribed with cuneiform characters.


180 x 140 x 45mm


$49.95AUD plus P&H

UR III Tablet


A small cuneiform tablet recording numbers of Ewes.
50x40x20mm clearly readable text.

$29.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE TABUR3

Proto Elamite Tablet


A reproduction of a Proto-Elamite accounting tablet. The text reads right to left and is dated to 2900BC from the region of Elam (Southern present day Iraq). Proto Elamite is quite different to the cuneiform script used elsewhere in Mesopotamia at the time and was more linear with strokes, lines and circles. All existing examples appear to be accounting records as they contain what appears to logographic sign groups followed immediately by numbers. Proto Elamite has not yet been deciphered as there is not yet a large enough corpus of samples to develop the information required.

$39.95AUD plus P&H Quote PROTOELAMITE1 

Early Counting Tokens


These are reproductions of small clay counters or tokens used in the Near East in particular Mesopotamia from about 9,000 B.C. to 1500 B.C. Archaeologists have found over 500 distinct types, although not in all times and places. Tokens start to be found at widely separated sites as of 8,000 B.C. (C-14), such as Level III of Tell Mureybet in Syria and Level E of Ganj Dareh in western Iran. Tokens were used at sites throughout the Near East, from Israel to Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, with the exception of Central Anatolia. The farthest extent of their use was from Khartoum in the Sudan to the pre-Harappan site of Mehrgahr in Pakistan.  Each token was thought to have represented a particular commodity, some thought that the shape had some means of identification of the object represented.

These represent a precursor to the development of written text as they were used parallel to the early Sumerian pictographic writing systems as they developed and eventually disappeared. Other types were small shaped clay tokens that were sealed inside a clay ball which then had the token images impressed on the outside of the clay ball (bulla) as a means of creating a security system prior to the use of seals. This sealing of information within another clay object would go on to form the process of the clay envelopes used later. See 2 replicas of these clay envelopes below. 

A set of 12 tokens for sale.

$29.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE MESOPTOKEN12

Sumerian Star Chart


Sky Map of Ancient Nineveh 3300 BC

A reproduction of a Sumerian star map or "planisphere" recovered from the 650BC underground library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, Iraq in the late 19th century. Long thought to be an Assyrian tablet, computer analysis has matched it with the sky above Mesopotamia in 3300BC and proves it to be of much more ancient Sumerian origin. The tablet is an "Astrolabe", the earliest known astronomical instrument. It usually consisted of a segmented, disc shaped star chart with marked units of angle measure inscribed upon the rim. Unfortunately considerable parts of the planisphere are missing ( approx 40%), damage which dates to the sacking of Nineveh. The reverse of the tablet is not inscribed. Still under study by modern scholars, the planisphere provides extraordinary proof of the existence of Sumerian astronomy...and a very sophisticated astronomy at that.

138mm x 8mm thick.

$54.95AUD plus P&H Order Code SUM S/C 1 

Babylonian Star Calendar


Fragment 720BC


A fragment of a circular star calendar from the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh. Among the library's huge cache of tablets, multiple fragments of late second millennium star charts and calendars were found. The two flat sides of the disc are inscribed in Assyrian Cuneiform with names of the months, names and figures of key stars and measurements of degrees. It is signed by the scribe Nab-Zuqup-Kenu, who lived during the reigns of Sargon II (720-704BC) and Sennacherib (703-680BC). 

105 x 80 x15mm.

$49.95AUD plus P&H Order Code BAB S/C 1 SOLD OUT ON BACKORDER

Early Sumerian Pictographic Tablet

 c3100-2900BC Uruk - Land Purchase - Stone

 The Archaic Period of early Sumeria involved the use of pictographic characters as an early form of writing. The text on initial examination resembles some of the Hieroglyphs of Egypt, however in this case not all pictographic characters are purely representative of the items they portray. Some represent sounds demonstrating the development of such early writing texts from purely pictographic symbolism to a more developed more complex collection of sounds and syllables.

This tablet is a Sumerian land deed representing the sale of land including four cultivated fields. The circular impression at the top is "Bur" which is a unit of land.

$49.95AUD plus P&H QUOTE ESUMPIC1

Purim - Lot of Iahali - Casting of Lots

 

Pur = Persian for "Casting a lot" Purim = plural
This is a reproduction of a Purim belonging to Iahali who was a high official of Shalmanesser III who ruled from 858-823BC.

Purim were used in many forms in the ancient world- some were merely pebbles placed in a bag, some wooden pieces with names that were placed in a jar, yet to others dice. They were used by many civilisations to invoke an answer from the gods, not as chance but as direction.
The Hebrews used the casting of lots throughout history as a means of determining the will of God in matters that were otherwise doubtful.

Magistrates and priests were appointed by them...

This particular cuneiform inscribed cube is as follows:

The end of the inscription on this lot reads as follows: ina limesu purisu ebur mat assur lisir lidmiq ina pan assur adad purisu liddâ: “In his year assigned to him by lot may the harvest of the land

of Assyria prosper and thrive, in front of the gods Assur and Adad may his lot be

placed.” The last verb liddâ has been read by Ernest Michel as li-l[i]-a from elû “to

come up.” Hallo read it lidda from nadû and translated it: “In front of the gods Assur

and Adad may his lot fall.” However, following the verb kararu in this context of

casting lots, we would expect a meaning of “may it be placed.” The verb nadû has

the meaning “to set, place” objects for exhibit, or sacrifice, and it can therefore be

translated in this meaning.

25x25x25mm cube. $29.95AUD plus P&H Quote PURIM1

Darius I, King of Persia

His administrative skill—and his intelligent and tolerant leadership—earned Darius I the title of Darius the Great. He built the magnificent city of Persepolis and left behind inscriptions telling the story of his successes.
Darius I’s Early Life
Born in 550 B.C., Darius I (known as Darrioush in Persian, and Darayarahush) was the son of Hystaspes, a satrap (governor) of Parthia, located in present-day Iran. He was a member of the Achaemenid family. Cyrus the Great and his son, Cambyses II, also belonged to the Achaemenid family, but to a different branch. 

Cambyses was ruler when a man named Gaumata took the throne by pretending to be Cambyses’ brother, Bardiya, who had been secretly assassinated in 525 B.C. Cambyses set out to reclaim the throne for himself, but he was killed while traveling from Egypt to Persia “as the result of either an accident or suicide, leaving no heir.” 

Darius, meanwhile, wanted to claim the throne for himself. He killed the usurper Gaumata (or “false Bardiya”) in 522 B.C. and assumed the role of king. “Some modern scholars consider that he invented the story of Gaumata in order to justify his actions and that the murdered king was indeed the son of Cyrus,” wrote Middle East historian J.M. Munn-Rankin.
 
This is a wall section from Persepolis, the northern stairs of the Apadana (Audience hall), portraying King Darius on his throne.
 
$50.00AUD Plus P&H QUOTE DARIUSW1 

Darius 1st Plaque Partial.


A smaller partial relief of Darius from Persepolis.


$39.95AUD plus P&H

See our large range of Seals from Mesopotamia on our
"Ancient Seals" page.