Cache of Assyrian cuneiform tablets unearthed in Iraq

Excavations of Bronze Age city called Bassetki located in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, led to the discovery of nearly 100 clay tablets dating back to the period of the Middle Assyrian Empire (1392-934 BC).

Cache of clay cuneiform tablets (by Peter Pfälzner)

The ancient site was discovered in 2013 by archaeologists from University of Tübingen, including Peter Pfälzner. Recent archaeological investigation provided evidence that this early urban centre in northern Mesopotamia was settled almost continuously from approximately 3000 to 600 BC. According to the researcher Bassetki was of key significance on important trade routes. During the recent excavations in one of the ancient houses 93 clay tablets were discovered. Unfortunately, many of them are unbaked and badly worn, so reading them will be a major challenge. It is not yet known if the tablets contain business, legal, or religious records. Sixty of the tablets were stored away in a ceramic pot. The vessel in which they were found was destroyed. The archaeologists believe that the vessels may have been hidden this way shortly after the surrounding building was destroyed.

Mound where the ancient Bassetki is located (by Peter Pfälzner)

So far one small fragment of a clay tablet has been deciphered by philologist Betina Faist. It was revealed that the text mentions a temple to the goddess Gula, suggesting that the text may contain a religious context.

(after Peter Pfälzner & Sci-News)

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