Clay foundation peg

1st Dynasty of Lagash, around 2400 BC
From Bad-tibira, southern Iraq

Inscribed by Entemena, ruler of Lagash

Foundation pegs were inserted into the foundations of buildings as an act of piety to the gods, and to record the builder's achievements for posterity. This one reads:

'For [the gods] Inanna and Lugal-Emush, Entemena, ruler of Lagash, built the Emush, their beloved temple, and ordered clay pegs [to be made] for them. Entemena, who built the Emush, his personal god is Shulutul. At that time Entemena ruler of Lagash, and Lugalkiginedudu, ruler of Uruk, established brotherhood.'

Lagash is one of the few city-states where a line of rulers of this period can be reconstructed based on successive temple buildings and their associated inscriptions. Unfortunately the actual temple buildings, all referred to by specific names in the texts, are not known in any detail. Other, longer inscriptions of Entemena tell us that he continued a dispute with the neighbouring state of Umma which had begun in the time of his grandfather. Battles were fought over ownership of a piece of farmland which lay on the border of the two states.

This dispute is typical of the political situation in Sumer (southern Mesopotamia), where city-states competed for access to land, water and trade through warfare and alliances.

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More information


J.S. Cooper, Sumerian and Akkadian royal in (New Haven: The American Oriental Society, 1986)


Length: 10.500 cm
Diameter: 2.630 cm (base)

Museum number

ME 121208



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