Ur III Tablets in the Wheaton College Archaeology Museum

CDLB 2014:5

Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin (ISSN: 1540-8760)

Published on 2014-12-05

© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except when noted otherwise and in the case of artifact images which follow the CDLI terms of use.

Cuneiform, Sumerian, Ur III, Wheaton


§1. Introduction
The Wheaton College Archaeology Museum holds nine tablets from the Ur III period. As is the case with many Ur III collections, the provenience of the tablets is not well documented. The available records about the tablets’ arrival at the Wheaton Archaeology Museum indicate that they were received from private collections in the 1950s and 60s. At the same time, there is no documentation regarding the origins of these tablets prior to their receipt by the museum. Some evidence suggests that three or four of these tablets likely originated from Umma, modern Jokha, whereas the remaining tablets came from Puzrish-Dagan, modern Drehem.


§2. The Texts
§2.1. Wheaton 001

Contents: Receipt for livestock
Measurements: 29 × 44 × 19mm
Provenience: Puzrish-Dagan
Date: Šulgi 47 iv


§2.1.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 23 ab2 23 cows,
  2. 4 gu4 4 oxen,
  3. 1232 u8 1232 ewes,
  4. 105 ˹udu˺ 105 rams,
  5. 4 sila4 ga 4 suckling lambs,
  6. [x] ˹e2˺-udu-˹niga?˺ ... grain-fed sheep house?;
  rest broken
  beginning broken
  1. ˹sa2?-du11 ?˺ [...] ...;
  blank space
  2. iti ki-siki-dnin-a-˹zu˺ month: “kisiki of Ninazu,”
  3. mu ki-maški u3 ḫu-˹ur5˺-tiki ba-ḫul year: “Kimaš and Ḫurti were destroyed”;
Left Edge
  1. 27 gu8 ˹1341˺ [udu] (total:) 27 oxen 1341 sheep.


§2.1.2. Commentary
§ This tablet, which is a receipt for livestock, is broken and a few lines are missing; the numbers, however, appear to be complete. Thus, 23 ab2 and 4 gu2 are correctly tallied on the left edge of the tablet, as 27 gu4; we may confidently reconstruct the talley of sheep to have been 1200+[141 udu]. Note that in numerous Ur III accounts, the sign udu contrasts with u8 and may therefore contextually be translated as “ram,” otherwise but rarely written udu-nita(2).


§2.2. Wheaton 002
Contents: Receipt for regular offering to Šara
Measurements: 43 × 44 × 17mm
Provenience: Umma
Date: Amar-Suen 6 i-iv


§2.2.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 9 še gur 9 gur barley,
  2. sa2-du11 dšara2 šu-palil2 regular offering for Šara ...,
  3. gu2-˹edin-na˺-ta from (the) Gu-edina (field),
  4. ki e2-gal-e-si- from Egalesi
  5. ḫa-la šu ba-ti Ḫala received;
  1. iti še-sag11-ku5-ta iti nesag-še3 from the month: “Harvest” to the month: “First-fruit offering,”
  blank space
  2. mu us2-sa ša-aš-ruki ba-ḫul year after: “Šašru was destroyed.”
  1. ḫa-la Ḫala,
  2. dumu lugal-e2-maḫ son of Lugalemaḫ,
  3. lu2 lunga dšara2 brewer of Šara.


§2.2.2. Commentary
§ This tablet is a receipt of barley for a regular offering to Šara, the tutelary deity of Umma. The barley was given by Egalesi, who was a well-known functionary at Umma (Dahl 2007: 101, 126).


§ The sealing on this tablet is that of Ḫala, who received the barley from Egalesi. Ḫala’s seal is horizontally impressed on the reverse of the tablet and twice horizontally impressed over the obverse of the tablet. It is possible from these three impressions to read all of the registers of the sealing: Ḫala, the son of Lugalemaḫ, the brewer of Šara. This particular seal was identified and drawn by Mayr (Mayr 1997: no. 179 = CDLI S002415) and the tablet, and envelope on which the sealing was found, were published as SAT 2, 307. It is noteworthy that both the tablet presented here and that published by Sigrist, which also bears Ḫala’s sealing, record regular offerings (sa2-du11) of barley (še) to Šara from Egalesi. As for the iconography of the seal, Mayr drew a deity in a contest with a lion next to three cuneiform registers. The present tablet preserves a second figure, with legs astride, that may represent another participant in the contest (figure 1).


figure 1


Figure 1: Composite drawing of Ḫala’s sealing, based on Mayr 1997: 179, and Wheaton 2


§ For šu-igi-še3-du (read above as šu-palil2), Molina has noted that it may be connected to šu-igi-du = maḫra, an adverb meaning “before, earlier” (Molina 2005: comment on text 277).


§2.3. Wheaton 003
Contents: Receipt for slaughtered livestock
Measurements: 26 × 23 × 15mm
Provenience: Puzrish-Dagan
Date: Šulgi 47a v 8


§2.3.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 1 eme6 1 jenny,
  2. 1 maš2-gal a-dara4 1 full-grown mountain goat,
  3. 1 munus2-gar3 a-dara4 1 young female mountain goat,
  4. ba-uš2 u4 8-kam slaughtered, 8th day;
  1. ki lu2-dingir-˹ra˺-ta from Lu-dingira
  2. ur-nigargar did Ur-niĝar
  3. ˹šu˺ ba-ti receive;
  4. iti ezem-{d}nin-a-zu month: “Festival of Ninazu,”
  5. mu us2-sa ki-maški ḫu-ur5-tiki ba-ḫul year after: “Kimaš (and) Ḫurti were destroyed.”


§2.3.2. Commentary
§ This tablet is a receipt for slaughtered livestock. These livestock are from Lu-dingira, the son of Aradḫula. Lu-dingira was active from the end of Šulgi’s reign and into the reign of Amar-Suen (e.g. ASJ 19, 201 no. 4, dated to AS 6, or Hilgert 1998, 455-457; note also Hilgert 1998, 431-432, dated to Šulgi 46-47). According to a tablet from Puzrish-Dagan dated to the same day as our no. 3, Ur-niĝar also received slaughtered livestock from En-dingirmu of the Tummal bureau (Hirose 73).


§ The maš2 a dara4 is likely to be identified with a hybrid of a goat and bezoar (Steinkeller 1995: 54).


§ The slaughtered livestock recorded on this receipt were accepted by Ur-niĝar. In the Puzrish-Dagan texts, Lu-dingira’s dealings with slaughtered livestock were restricted to his disbursements to Ur-niĝar, or later on Šulgi-irimu (Hilgert & Reichelt 2001: 68 and n. 216). Additional activities of Ur-niĝar may be found in Hilgert & Reichelt 2001: 533, and Hilgert 1998, 431-432.


§2.4. Wheaton 004
Contents: Receipt for a garment
Measurements: 27 × 24 × 14mm
Provenience: Umma
Date: Šu-Suen 1 ix


§2.4.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 1 tug2 nig2-lam2 saga 1 n.-garment, fine quality,
  2. dugkur-ku-du3 (for? the) k-vessel
  3. dšul-gi-a-a-mu of Šulgi-ayamu;
  blank space
  1. iti dli9-si4 month: “Lisi,”
  2. mu us2-sa dšu-dsuen lugal year after: “Šu-Suen is king.”


§2.4.2. Commentary
§ The month, and the divine name dli9-si4, are distinctive to the tablets from Umma.


§ This tablet is a receipt for a high quality garment, tug2 nig2-lam2 saga (see CAD L 58 lamaḫuššu), associated in some way with a vessel described as kur-ku-du3. This dug kur-ku-du3 is well-attested in the tablets from Umma and Girsu (described by Steinkeller 1992: 53-54, as a large vessel, frequently storing 100 liters), but its relationship with the counted garment is not obvious in this syntactically difficult text. The text may rather represent a short memo produced in advance of creating a complete account.


§ Šulgi-ayamu is a well-known official, especially at Puzrish-Dagan during the reigns of Šulgi and Amar-Suen (see e.g. Hilgert & Reichelt 2001: 38-56). During the reign of Šu-Suen, however, a CDLI search shows that a Šulgi-ayamu is only attested in Umma texts. The present tablet is consistent with this pattern.


§2.5. Wheaton 005
Contents: Receipt for slaughtered livestock
Measurements: 24 × 22 × 12mm
Provenience: Puzrish-Dagan
Date: Šulgi 45 i 3


§2.5.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 1 udu 1 ram,
  2. 1 u8 1 ewe,
  3. ba-uš2 slaughtered,
  4. u4 3-kam 3rd day;
  1. ki na-lu5 from Nalu;
  2. iti maš-da3-gu7 month: “Gazelle feast,”
  3. mu us2-˹sa˺ si-mu-ru-umki lu-lu-buki
a-ra2 10 la2 1-kam-aš ba-ḫul
year after: “Simurrum (and) Lullubu
for the 9th time were destroyed.”


§2.5.2. Commentary
§ This tablet is a receipt for slaughtered livestock from Nalu. For the activities of Nalu at the end of Šulgi’s reign, see Hilgert 1998: 15-16. For Nalu’s conduct during Amar-Suen’s reign, see Hilgert & Reichelt 2001: 64-65 and pp. 299-313.


§2.6. Wheaton 006
Contents: Transfer of Livestock
Measurements: 34 × 29 × 15mm
Provenience: Puzrish-Dagan
Date: Amar-Suen 3 ix 4


§2.6.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 4 udu niga 1 maš2-gal 4 sheep, barley-fed; 1 mature goat,
  2. 1 sila4 1 lamb,
  3. u4 4-kam 4th day;
  4. ki ˹ab?-ba?-sa6?-ga?˺-ta from Abba-saga(?)
  1. en-dingir-mu i3-dab5 did En-dingirmu accept;
  blank space
  2. iti ezem-maḫ month: “Great festival,”
  3. mu dgu-za ša3 ḫul2-la den-lil2-la2 ba-dim2 year: “The throne, joy of Enlil, was fashioned.”


§2.6.2. Commentary
§ This tablet is a transfer of livestock. It is legible except for the personal name indicating the individual who effected the transfer, whose name is effaced. Endingirmu was an expending official from the bureau of Tummal at Puzrish-Dagan, and Abba-saga, tentatively read in line 4, was one of his well-known associates (Hilgert & Reichelt 2001: 65).


§2.7. Wheaton 007
Contents: Receipt for wool
Measurements: 48 × 43 × 22mm
Provenience: Umma(?)
Date: Šu-Suen 7


§2.7.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 22 gu2 4 5 /6 ma-na siki GI 22 talents 4 5/6 mina tan wool
  2. 3 gu2 28 1 /3 ma-na siki gukkal 3 talents 28 1/3 mina wool of fat-tailed sheep,
  3. 3 ma-na siki udu ba-uš2 3 mina wool of slaughtered sheep:
  4. nam-en-na ‘lordship’;
  1. ki kas4-ta from Kas
  2. gu-du-du did Gududu
  3. šu ba-ti receive;
  blank space
  4. mu dšu-dsuen lugal uri5ki-ma-ke4
ma-da za-ab-ša-liki mu-ḫul
year: “Šu-Suen, king of Ur,
the land of Zabšali destroyed.”


§2.7.2. Commentary
§ This is a receipt for various types of wool. The first two wool sorts were presumably sheered wool. Siki GI (possibly reading sig17) may have been a tan or yellow-colored wool (see Waetzoldt 1972: 6; Steinkeller 1995: 57) whereas siki gukkal was taken from the fattailed sheep, that are common in Ur III texts. The last type of wool documented in this receipt is so-called ‘dead wool.’ ‘Dead wool’ was taken from slaughtered sheep and was likely considered to be a less luxurious quality (for additional wool types, see Steinkeller 1995: 57).


§ Van de Mieroop 1993: 168 suggested that “the nam-en-na may refer to the herd which he [i.e., a shepherd] agrees to supervise for another owner.” At the same time, the designation is not entirely clear and it may be, in a receipt for wool such as this, that nam-en-na, literally ‘lordship,’ is a quality designation (Waetzoldt 1972: 31-32), or as implied by AnOr 7, 264, a designation of a particular breed. The term in any case appears almost exclusively in the context of secondary products from herded animals, including those referring to hides of goats and by-products of large cattle.


§ Several individuals named Gududu are known, nearly all of them documented at Umma (see Dahl 2007: 82 and n. 298). For this reason, it may be that this tablet originated from Umma.


§2.8. Wheaton 008
Contents: Receipt for wool
Measurements: 48 × 43 × 22mm
Provenience: Umma?
Date: Šu-Suen 7


§2.8.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 2 udu 2 sheep,
  2. 1 sila4 1 lamb.
  3. ba-uš2 slaughtered,
  4. u4 10-kam 10th day;
  5. ki be-li2-i3-li2-ta from Bēlī-ilī
  1. dšul-gi-iri-mu did Šulgi-irimu
  2. šu ba-ti receive;
  3. iti u5-bi2-gu7 month: “Ubi feast,”
  blank space
  4. mu us2-sa si-ma-num2ki ba-ḫul year after: “Simanum was destroyed;”
Left Edge
  1. 3 (total:) 3.


§2.8.2. Commentary
§ This is a receipt for slaughtered livestock, which Bēlī-ilī provided to Šulgi-irimu. Šulgi-irimu is quite well attested in Drehem beginning in Šulgi 42 v through the end of the reign of Šu-Suen; he frequently received slaughtered livestock (for instance Hilgert & Reichelt 2001, 64-65, 67; CDLI registers over 900 such accounts combining Šulgi-irimu and ba-uš2).


§2.9. Wheaton 009
Contents: Receipt for wool
Measurements: 42 × 39 × 14mm
Provenience: Umma
Date: Amar-Suen 7 viii


§2.9.1. Transliteration and Translation

  1. 150 guruš u4 1-še3 150 male laborer workdays,
  2. ˹še iri-sag-rig7˺ki-ta grain from Irisaĝrig(?)
  3. zi-ga lifted;
  4. ugula a-la-a foreman: Alaya,
  1. kišib3 ur-mes under seal of by Ur-mes;
  blank space
  2. iti šu-eš-ša month: “Šu’eša,”
  3. mu ḫu-uḫ2-nu-riki ba-ḫul year: “Ḫuḫnuri was destroyed.”
  1. ˹ur˺-mes Ur-mes,
  2. dub-sar scribe,
  3. dumu ur-d˹suen˺ son of Ur-Suen.


§2.9.2. Commentary
§ This is a receipt for 150 days worth of work removing grain from Irisagrig under the supervision of a certain Alaya.


§ The tablet was horizontally sealed with Ur-mes’s seal, leaving a well-defined impression on its reverse. An impression, seemingly of the same seal with the same orientation, is also faintly visible on the lower portion of the obverse. The sealing can be correlated with that drawn by Mayr (Mayr 1997: no. 802 = CDLI S000476, with currently four impressed tablet witnesses, including this one; the envelope of CTMMA 1, 23, demonstrates that our Ur-mes was a šabra in the Drehem administration, thus an official of some note).





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Version: 5 December 2014  

Cite this Article
Miglio, Adam E. 2014. “Ur III Tablets in the Wheaton College Archaeology Museum.” Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin 2014 (5). https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/articles/cdlb/2014-5.
Miglio, Adam E. (2014). Ur III Tablets in the Wheaton College Archaeology Museum. Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin, 2014(5). https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/articles/cdlb/2014-5
Miglio, Adam E. (2014) “Ur III Tablets in the Wheaton College Archaeology Museum,” Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin, 2014(5). Available at: https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/articles/cdlb/2014-5 (Accessed: May 19, 2024).
	note = {[Online; accessed 2024-05-19]},
	address = {Oxford; Berlin; Los Angeles},
	author = {Miglio,  Adam E.},
	journal = {Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin},
	issn = {1540-8760},
	number = {5},
	year = {2014},
	publisher = {Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative},
	title = {Ur {III} {Tablets} in the {Wheaton} {College} {Archaeology} {Museum}},
	url = {https://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/articles/cdlb/2014-5},
	volume = {2014},

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