The Oldest Items in Cook Library Are…

June 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm Leave a comment

… The Lena C. Van Bibber Collection of Cuneiform Clay Tablets!

Cuneiform_Clay_Tablet_Drehem_ca_2350_BCLena C. Van Bibber was a faculty member of the State Teachers College at Towson (now Towson University). The clay tablets were probably acquired by her sometime in 1939 from Edgar J. Banks, who had been appointed as American consul in Baghdad, Iraq in 1898. Banks was an antiquities enthusiast, who went on to purchase many clay tablets which later were distributed to various universities, museums, and libraries throughout the United States.

The collection consists of three cuneiform clay tablets from the ancient sites of Drehem and Umma in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), dating to about 2400-2100 B.C.E. The cuneiform script on the tablets relates to administrative and economic transactions, including the receipt for the delivery of oxen, sheep, and goats to a temple; a sales receipt for the killing of an ox; and records of the temple transactions. Other materials include a letter from the seller, Edgar J. Banks, with a description of each tablet and details of the sale; a letter from faculty member, Lena C. Van Bibber; and an index card with a description of one the clay tablets.

Learn more about this collection and view the tablets at http://library.towson.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/claytablets

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