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Designations for Cuneiform and
Ancient Mesopotamian Clay Tablets

This page describes the leading indicators on designations used to identify clay tablets from Ancient Mesopotamian. They pertain mostly to tablets cited on the pages Flutes of Gilgamesh and Ancient Mesopotamia.

The leading indicator on tablet designations indicate their original field number, publication information, or museum catalog number. Many tablets aquired several designations as they moved from one location to another and are cited in different ways in various publications.

Here is the meaning of the tablet designations discussed on this page.

AN

“Ashmolean Number”. A tablet housed at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.

BCT

“Birmingham Cuneiform Text”. An entry in the P.J. Watson Catalogue of cuneiform tablets in the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England. Also called “CCTBCM, Watson Birmingham” (CDLI Abbreviations).

BM

A tablet housed at The British Museum, London ([Robson 2000], page 12).

CBS

A tablet housed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“Collection of the Babylonian Section”, including purchased tablets not from Nippur, and some tablets excavated at Ur ([Robson 2000], page 12).

F

A tablet housed at The British Museum, London.

IC

An catalog number in the ICOBASE Database for Archaeomusicology. ICOBASE is a Web-based collection of images related to archaeomusicology.

K

A tablet from the Kouyunjik Collections, housed at The British Museum, London ([DEAA 1902] and [DEAA 1909]).

KAH

Keilschrifttexte aus Assur historischen Inhalts” (Historical Cuneiform Texts from Assur) . A tablet number as published in [Messerschmidt 1911] or [Schroeder 1922].

KAJ

Keilschrifttexte aus Assur juristischen Inhalts” (Legal Cuneiform Texts from Assur). A tablet number as published in [Ebeling 1927].

KAR

Keilschrifttexte aus Assur religiösen Inhalts” (Religious Cuneiform Texts from Assur). A tablet number as published in [Ebeling 1919] or [Ebeling 1923].

KAV

Keilschrifttexte aus Assur verschieden Inhalts” (Cuneiform Texts from Assur with Various Content). A tablet number as published in [Schroeder 1920].

MS

In general, “Manuscript”, but these are typically used to reference a tablet from the Schøyen Collection, Oslo, Norway.

N

“Nippur Collection”. A tablet housed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ([Robson 2000], page 12).

NCBT

“Newell Collection of Babylonian Tablets”, held at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ([Robson 1999], page xiv).

Nabnitu

A series of great Babylonian lexical texts ([Dumbrill 2005], page 28), listed as circa 1400-1000 BCE by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative.

The nabnītu (“creation” or “creature”) series forms an encyclopedia of the Old Babylonian period (circa 1800 BCE) which treated all appects of human action and creation ([Franklin 2002a] Terpander: The Invention of Music in the Orientalizing Period, page 138). See [Finkel 1982] for general information on nabnītu texts.

P

A catalog number in the CDLI - the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative.

CDLI is a Web-based collection of images of cuneiform tablets “from the beginning of writing, ca. 3350 BC, until the end of the pre-Christian era.”

RS

“Ras Shamra”. Tablets from ancient Ugarit, present-day Ras Shamra, on the Mediterranean Sea near Latakia, Syria. The tablets are held at the National Museum in Damascus.

U.

Field number assigned by Sir Leonard Woolley during the excavations at Ur ([Dumbrill 2005], page 28).

UET

Number as published in the series “Ur Excavation Texts”, showing volume and sequence number. For example, UET VII 126 is the 126th tablet in volume VII of the Ur Excavation Texts series ([Gurney-OR 1974]).

VAT

A tablet curated by the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Near East Museum), Berlin, Germany.

 

 
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