Clay tablet (school exercise)


Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
Leiden, Netherlands

This clay tablet in cuneiform script is a school exercise. The pupil was required to copy a list of some 130 occupations and positions and learn them by heart. The list is an elaborated version of an earlier one from c. 3000 BC. With over a hundred terms, this is the oldest known ‘school textbook’ in history. The tablet contains numerous terms (at lower right) beginning with the element 'gal' (big), indicating those in positions of leadership, or with supervisory roles in relation to other individuals or affairs. Lists of this kind with occupations or objects are extremely useful to scholars and linguists; lists of foodstuffs, tools and pottery dishes have also been preserved.


  • Title: Clay tablet (school exercise)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: -2500
  • Location: Tell Fara (?), Irak
  • Physical Dimensions: w10 x h14 cm
  • Datering: 2500 BC, Vroeg Dynastische Periode
  • Afmetingen: L 14 cm, B 10 cm
  • Type: clay tablet
  • External Link: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
  • Medium: clay

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