Cylinder with commemorative text
Dried clay barrel; inscribed in cuneiform; baked hard for conservation purposes
Centimetres: 20 (length), 12.5 (diameter)
Iron Age; Neo-Babylonian; Nebuchadnezzar II; 6th century BC
Area of Origin: Iraq; Babylon(?); Southern Mesopotamia
Description: Official openings of buildings today often include a formal ceremony and a commemorative wall plaque. In the ancient world, they dedicated an object to a god to avert bad luck and placed the item in a box beneath the building’s foundations.
The barrel cylinder (shown here) was inscribed in Akkadian cuneiform and commemorates the reconstruction of a temple by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. The Akkadian period in Mesopotamia dates to about 2200 BC.
Part of the inscription reads “Oh (god) Lugal-Marada … slay the disobedient, smash their weapons, ruin all the enemy land … make my deeds agreeable to god Marduk, king of heaven and earth.”