LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN DIVISION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN DIVISION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neo-Sumerian clay tablet, Mesopotamia. Clay tablet dating from around the 21st to 20th centuries BC, using cuneiform script to describe the balancing of a trading account. The cuneiform symbols were pressed into the clay using a pointed stylus, and formed a record of the transactions. Only a small part of the account has been translated, indicating that the items traded included goats and lambs. The total number of items is 166, and the month given is the 6th of the calendar used in Drehem. The Sumerians invented the cunieform writing system, and Drehem was a settlement that was part of the Neo-Sumerian Empire, or Third Dynasty of Ur, in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq).
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