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The Amarna Letters

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (series)

    • The Amarna Letters
  • Description

    Clay cuneiform tablet; letter from Burra-Buriyash of Babylon to Naphurareya (Akhenaten); 35 lines; written in complicated Babylonian; corners are broken.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 14thC BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 7 centimetres
    • Depth: 3 centimetres
    • Height: 13.5 centimetres
    • Weight: 0.37 kilograms
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Comment

        letter from Burra-Buriyash of Babylon to Naphurareya (Akhenaten)
  • Curator's comments

    C. Bezold and E.W. Budge, ‘The Tell el-Amarna Tablets in the British Museum, (London 1892), 3, pl. 10;
    J.A. Knudtzon, ‘Die El-Amarna-Tafeln’ vol. 1, (Leipzig, 1907), pp. 90-93;
    W.L. Moran, ‘The Amarna Letters’ (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1992), pp. 19-20.

    In this letter to the king of Egypt, called Naphurareya (Akhenaten), the king of Babylon, Burra-Buriyash recognises the continuing friendship of their countries, but complains of a lack of gift giving. He states that he received only 5 minas of poor quality gold, rather than 20, and suggests that the Egyptian king send representations of animals by skilled craftsmen. Burra-Buriyash sends 2 minas of lapis lazuli with his letter, as well as a necklace of lapis lazuli beads shaped like crickets for the daughter of Akhenaten, Mayati (Meritaten).

    This clay tablet was found in the modern city of el-Amarna (ancient Akhetaten) along with over 350 others, the majority being diplomatic letters. They are written in cuneiform script, which served as the language of international relations at the time. The Amarna letters concern diplomatic relations between Egypt and both large rival empires and small vassal city states, and deal with matters such as economic exchange, diplomatic marriages, and military threats.


  • Bibliography

    • Sigrist M et al 2006a bibliographic details
    • Knudtzon, J A 1915a 10 bibliographic details
    • Bezold 1892a 3 bibliographic details
    • Leichty E et al 1988a p.173 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited: 2011 Jul–Sept, Newcastle, Great North Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt 2012 Oct–Jan, Dorchester, Dorset County Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt 2012 Feb–June, Leeds City Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt 2012 Jul-Oct, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Pharaoh: King of Egypt 2012 Nov– Feb 2013, Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt 2013 Mar–Aug, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery , Pharaoh: King of Egypt Exhibited:
    2016 8 Mar-12 Jun, Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, Pharoah: King of Egypt [Theme: War & diplomacy]

  • Condition

    Fair; corners are broken.

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Purchased by Budge in Egypt.

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number



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Object reference number: WCT81222

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