The Ashmolean

Iraq: Navel of the World

Writing [1]

Some of the world's earliest writing has been found a few miles south of Baghdad, in a tiny agricultural settlement now called Jemdat Nasr, dating to 3000 BC. One of these two small tablets, lying face up, shows the different items accounted for, each in its own box on the surface of the clay. The other, lying face down, shows the total quantity of goods and the pictograms of an ear of grain, a head and a bowl, together meaning 'food rations'.
[1926.602, 1926.606]

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