Clay Tablet, with 10 lines of
Sumerian Cuneiform writing 2+ Lines on Reverse
The obverse of this tablet is quite well preserved
but the reverse is very damaged, with salt
crystals adhering to broken surfaces. However,
the content is clear: it is an administrative
document from the period of the Third Dynasty
of Ur, dated (in a damaged year name) to the 6th
year of Shu-Sin, fourth king of the dynasty, c.
2032 BC. It is a record (on the obverse) of the
remuneration of a particular serf. Some of the
terms are not yet understood, but the general
content is clear.
60 sila of barley, 4 minas of wool: Adallal………
Mr Ni-etaga, son of Ilum-bani, at the command
Total: 1 serf: 60 sila of barley, 4 minas of wool
The barley: 60 sila, for one month
The clothing: 4 minas for 1 year
Provided and taken.
[Year: Ibbi-Sin, king of Ur, erected a] magnificent
[stele] for [the gods] Enlil and Ninlil.
A sila was a measure of capacity, about .85 of a
litre. A mina was a weight, about 500 grams.
Thus, with a month of about 30 days, a serf
received nearly 2 litres of barley a day, but that
had to supply his whole family. A serf was tied to
his job and could not negotiate his pay and