While excavating in Babylonia (present-day Iraq) for the University of Chicago in 1903-1904, archeologist Dr. Edgar J. Banks (1866 –1945) acquired a magnificent collection of ancient inscribed Babylonian clay tablets which illustrate the oldest of writings. They are mostly temple records and business documents dating from over 4000 years ago. In 1922, Dr. Josiah Bethea Game (1869-1935) negotiated the purchase of twenty-five tablets for the Florida State College for Women (FSCW). The tablets range in size from one to two square inches, and are square, rounded and cone shaped.
Among the cuneiform artifacts are a ritual tablet from Warka dated 2100 BC; a memorandum from Senkereh, the ancient Larsa, 22 BC; a temple record, sealed with the royal seal of the King of Ur of the Chaldees, 2350 BC; sun-dried business contract, 220 BC; sun-dried exercise tablet, 2200 BC; butchers bill for four sheep, 2150 BC; a votive cone, King of Amanu, from the temple of the goddess Ishtar, which he built in the royal residence of his kingdom 2100 BC; a tax bill, 2350 BC; and a business contract dated in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.
This selection of our cuneiform collection was digitized and translated as part of a project in 2008. The RTI files available for download are from a student project in 2016.