Clay tablets with cuneiform in the Egyptian Museum in Leipzig
|lifespan||if properly treated, thousands of years|
|size||around 30 centimeters|
|Weight||usually a few hundred grams|
The clay tablet (more generally and colloquially also called a writing tablet or stone tablet ) is one of the oldest writing materials known to mankind. It took place especially in the area of the fertile crescent moon in a predominantly dry and hot climate since the middle of the 4th millennium BC. Application.
A clay tablet is a plate made of clay or loam into which symbols can be scratched or imprinted with a stylus . Then the board hardened. The engraved writing can be erased or corrected by scraping off the top layer; burning the clay tablet, often unintentionally due to fire disasters, makes it durable. The cuneiform writing was created through the special handling of the stylus as a stamp wedge .
The shape of the clay tablets and the way in which they were described changed over time and, like the development of writing and language, enables a rough chronological classification.
Clay tablets were used in Mesopotamia . They represent one of the oldest permanent media in cultural history, which made it possible to fix both image and written records . In addition, inscriptions were carved in stone and carved into bones (China).
The earliest texts in cuneiform written on clay tablets record entries from taxation and accounting . Later diplomatic correspondence, liturgy and poetry were added. About 2300 BC A map was carved into the so-called clay tablet of Nuzi (also Ga-Sur), today's Jorgan Tepe , southwest of Kirkuk in Iraq . Mountains, rivers and cities are drawn on the approximately 7 × 7 cm large clay tablet.
The use of clay tablets, along with cuneiform writing, spread to Assyria , Anatolia ( Hittites ), Syria, the Levant and Egypt ( Amarna archive ), Cyprus and Urartu (since Rusa II ). In the late Assyrian period, the clay tablet was increasingly replaced as a storage medium by papyrus , which was described in Aramaic .
The ancient empires of the Bronze Age civilizations had palace archives of economic and diplomatic correspondence, as well as administrative documents. Significant archives have been found in Babylon , Uruk , Ugarit , Hattuša , Aššur , Nineveh and Amarna in Egypt. There were also private archives in which promissory notes, title deeds and court judgments were kept. They come from z. B. from Kaneš in Anatolia, Isin and Ḫana . The archive of Ur-Utu, which comprised almost 2,000 tables and covers 250 years, comes from Sippar , and the archive of Ilī-amranni, which covers 180 years , comes from Dilbat .
- Alan R. Millard: In Praise of Ancient Scribes. In: The Biblical Archaeologist. Vol. 45, No. 3, 1982, JSTOR 3209809 , pp. 143-153,
- Cuneiform tablet with grain accounting, dated to the year Šū-Sin 3 - BSB Mon.script.cun. 2, Umma (?), 2034 BC. Chr.
- Amanda H. Podany: The Land of Hana. Kings, chronology and scribal tradition. CDL Press, Bethesda MD 2002, ISBN 1-883053-48-X , p. 3.
- Paola Demattè: The Origins of Chinese Writing: the Neolithic Evidence. In: Cambridge Archaeological Journal. Vol. 20, No. 2, doi : 10.1017 / S0959774310000247 , 2010, pp. 211-228,
- Amanda H. Podany: The Land of Hana. Kings, chronology and scribal tradition. CDL Press, Bethesda MD 2002, ISBN 1-883053-48-X , p. 20.
- Giorgio Buccellati, Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, Mario Liverani: The scribes of Terqa. In: Archeology at UCLA. Vol. 2, No. 14, 1983, online (PDF; 991 KB) ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.