Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A cuneiform tablet made of gold

A GOLD TABLET inscribed with Assyrian cuneiform ended up in the estate of a Holocaust survivor and there is now a legal ruling that the the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Germany, from where it came, cannot reclaim it. The 13th-century BCE tablet was excavated at ancient Ashur early in the 20th century. Click on the link to see a photograph of this remarkable object. I've never seen a cuneiform tablet made of gold, although gold tablets from about 500 BCE inscribed with Phoenician and Etruscan have been recovered at Pyrgi (see here [JSTOR] and here).

The legal ruling of the New York court can be downloaded as a pdf file here.

I know this is a stretch for PaleoJudaica, but I thought it was too interesting not to note.

UPDATE (7 April): This UPI article has the additional information that the artifact has been valued at $10 million but that the owners do not intend to sell it. As always, I hope that the owners donate it to a museum (I don't care which one) or at least that they make the object available to scholars who want to study it.

UPDATE: The New York Post has coverage here with another photograph of the tablet.