The Akkadian Schoolroom Tablets

In June 2002, Dr. Lucia Mori and Francesca deLillis Forrest excavated the single room house, directly across the street from the Akkadian Administrative Building, where 18 Akkadian school tablets and fragments were in a pile on the floor. Professor Lucio Milano examined the tablets in The National Museum, Deir ez-Zor.

General Comments

Eighteen tablets and tablet fragments were retrieved within the Akkadian schoolroom of the Acropolis Northwest Leilan IIb/Akkadian period excavation of 2002.

In one tablet (L02-18) the text is fully preserved: it is written in Akkadian and reports on the assignment (i-dì-in) of 5 eggs to an individual called ti-@AR by another individual called in-¤nin-&IM (both names are unattested elsewhere).

The school texts are of similar size and round or rounded shape. L02-19 is uninscribed, while L02-15L02-18L02-20and L02-38 are school exercises bearing the rough impression of a cuneiform sign, several fingerprints,. and traces of rulings. Tablet fragments L02-6L02-7L02-16L02-35L02-40L02-45L02-47 also contain signs, but the text type remains unknown. Fragments L02-21-39-41-42-44-47 are not inscribed.

The palaeographical features of these texts are earlier than those of the classical Sargonic Akkadian tablets retrieved in the later phases of this building in 1999. In particular, the head of the wedges is less regular, and some of the signs are less elongated than in the later period. However, the single occurrence of the sign DA does not show the typical older shape.

These tablets provide additional evidence for the Akkadian activities at Tell Leilan/Shehna, the use of Akkadian language, and the Tell Leilan/Shehna Akkadian scribal school.

Description of Tablets

Fragment of a tablet (35 x 31 x 11 mm). Colour: dark grey.
1’. ] NI-la-[x]-ar
2’. ] NI?-lu-a-NI
3’. ] @AR-{x} [

Fragments of a tablet (A: 15 x 18 x 6 mm; B: 13 x 19 x 4 mm). Colour: light brown.
1’. ] GA [

1’. ] NI [
2’. ] {x}

Fragment of a rectangular tablet with slightly rounded edges (ca. 1/2 is preserved: 61 x 45 x 17 mm). Colour: pinkish. Surface is rather flat, thinner at the edges. In the obverse 3 lines of writing are preserved. A vertical line cuts the writing (is it intended to erase it?). In the reverse one sign (GI?) is visible in the center.

Obv. 1’. ] LUM [
2’. ] {x} […] {x} [

Figure 1.

Upper right corner of a rectangular tablet with slightly rounded edges (25 x 25 x 6 mm). Colour: pinkish-dark brown.

Obv. 1. ] {x} @I? UL
2. ] {x} máki
3. ] -da-ra
4. ] {x} [
Rev. 1’. ] {x}
2’. ] {x}
3’. ] NA

Tablet (29 x 23 x 10 mm). Shape: lenticular. Colour: pinkish-light brown.

Obv. 1. 5 nunuz {mu^en?}
2. a-na
3. ti-@AR
4. {in}-¤nin!-&I[M?]
Rev. 5. i-dì-{in}

“5 bird(?) eggs PN1 has given to PN2.”

Figure 2.

Tablet of rectangular shape (62 x 65 x 14 mm) with rounded edges. Colour: dark brown on the obv.; pinkish on the rev. Obverse is rather flat and seems to be divided into columns, with some oblique lines crossing the surface. No signs are visible, except for a possible brocken sign at the bottom left (engar?). Reverse is very damaged (probably rather convex) and no signs are visible.

Round tablet (diam. 69 mm, thickness 21 mm). Colour: pinkish-brown. Obverse is flat and unwritten. Reverse is rather convex with flat edges.

Round tablet (diam. 65 mm, thickness 22 mm). Obverse is flat, dark brown in colour. One sign is visible in the center. Many finger prints are impressed on the edges. Reverse is rather convex, pinkish ? brown in colour with no traces of writing

Figure 3.

Fragment of a rectangular tablet with rounded edges (ca. 1/3 is preserved: 54 x 24 x 13 mm). Colour: light brown. Obverse (?) is slightly convex with thinner edges. Reverse (?) is flat. Both obv. and rev. are unwritten. There are imprints of fibers on the upper left portion of the obverse (?).

Lower left corner of a rectangular tablet (28 x 20 x 11 mm) with slightly rounded edges; ca. 1/4 of the tablet is preserved. Colour: pinkish-dark brown.

Obv. 1’. ] {x} [
2’. ] IN {x} [
Le. 1’. IN
Rev. 1’. ] &E [
2’. ] {x} [
3’. ] &E [

Round tablet (diam. 60 mm, thickness 20 mm). Obverse: flat at the center and slightly convex on the edges. The upper part is divided into two columns. Four lines are traced on the left column. Only one sign is visible, while the rest of the obverse is not written. Colour: dark brown. Reverse: rather convex. Surface is very damaged: only one sign is visible at the bottom-right. Colour: pinkish-brown.

Figure 4.

Fragments of tablet where no signs are visible. Colour: brown-dark brown.

Fragment of a tablet (27 x 50 x 8 mm). Colour: pinkish-dark brown

1’. ] {x} RI [
2’. ] LA LU UG [

Fragment of a tablet, possibly rounded in shape, very badly preserved (diam. 44 mm, thickness 21 mm). Colour: pinkish-light brown. Non signs are visible.

Figure 5.

Fragments of tablet where no signs are visible. Colour: brownish.

Fragments of tablet inserted in a mudbrick where no signs are visible. Colour: pinkish.

Fragments of a tablet (A: 17 x 19 x 6 mm; B: 15 x 15 x 5 mm). Colour: pinkish.

1’. ] NI-BA [
1’. ] &E [

Large amount of fragments belonging to different tablets. Three of them bear traces of cuneiforn signs. A. (20 x 18 x 4 mm), pinkish; B. (24 x 25 x 14 mm), pinkish; C. (18 x 15 x 10 mm), pinkish.