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Cuneiform tablet recording barley rations


Height: 13.100 cm
Width: 13.300 cm

ME 102081

Room 56: Mesopotamia

    Cuneiform tablet recording barley rations

    1st Dynasty of Lagash, about 2350-2200 BC
    From Tello (ancient Girsu), southern Iraq

    Payment by the temple of the goddess Bau

    This cuneiform tablet is a record in Sumerian of the distribution of barley as rations to about two hundred workmen and their children by the Temple of Bau. The goddess Bau (or Baba) was the wife of Ningirsu, the supreme god of the city Lagash. The temple referred to here was at Girsu, a town within the city-state of Lagash.

    Temples were the largest employers at this time, often with hundreds of workers farming the land or weaving textiles. The text tells us that adults received a ration of thirty or forty sila (pints) per month, while children got twenty. According to the text, this was the fourth such distribution in the fourth year of Uruinimgina, king of Lagash (reigned about 2351-2342 BC). His wife Shasha played a major role in the administration of the Temple of Bau.

    J.E. Reade, Mesopotamia (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)

    J. Black and A. Green, Gods, demons and symbols of -1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


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