- A Clay Cuneiform Tablet
of rectangular form inscribed in Neo-Babylonian cuneiform writing on all six sides and documenting a mortgage; an orchard and an uncultivated tract of land pledged by two men, Abda and Banunu, to Bel-nadin-shumu, senior member of the firm Marashu Sons of Nippur, as security for the payment of a large quantity of dates, and including the names of eleven witnesses and the scribe Ninib-abu-user, the seal impressions of four of the witnesses on the upper, lower, and right edges of the tablet, the thumbnail impressions of the two debtors on one side.
Professor H.V. Hilprecht, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
E. W. Clark, received as a gift from the above in 1898
William J. Jenack Auctioneers, Chester, New York, June 29th, 2014, no. 80
The tablet is dated to the 29th day of the 4th month of the first year of the Achaemenid King Darius II (August 5th, 423 B.C.). A letter written on Thanksgiving Day 1898 to Mr. Clark by Professor Hilprecht accompanies the tablet. In addition to the information contained in the description above, it records that the tablet “was discovered and excavated with 729 tablets and fragments of the same class by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania at the end of May 1893. The collection of tablets was found in a room, about 20 feet below the surface on the northeastern ridge of the ruins of Nippur. This room had been used as a business archive by the apparently wealthy and influential firm of Murashu Sons of Nippur, bankers and brokers, who lived in the time of the Persian Kings Artaxerxes I and Darius II.”
For similar tablets from the same archives with identical stamps see H.V. Hilprecht, Business documents of Murashû sons of Nippur dated in the reign of Artaxerxes I. (464-424 B.C.) (The Babylonian expedition of the University of Pennsylvania. Series A: Cuneiform texts ; v. 9), Philadelphia, 1898, pls. IX, no. 12, XI, nos. 20-21.