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Collections | Ancient Near Eastern Seals & Tablets

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Stone Foundation Tablet of King Ur-Namma

Stone Foundation Tablet Inscribed With the Name and Titles of King Ur-Namma in Sumerian
Mesopotamia, Third Dynasty of Ur, Reign of Ur-Namma
(21st century B.C.)
Inscribed: Ur-Namma, king of Ur, king of Sumer and Akkad, the one who built the temple of Enlil.
8.3 x 12.4 cm
MLC no. 2629
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The first king of a new dynasty, Ur-Namma was responsible for the restoration of old temples and oversaw the extensive construction of new temples and stepped temple towers known as ziggurats. The tablet was part of the regular foundation deposit of Ur-Namma together with a bronze figure of the king as a basket carrier. Such deposits were meant to record the pious works of the royal builders for the deities to whom the temples were dedicated. Later rulers digging up the foundations of earlier temples— always on the same hallowed ground—would treat the inscriptions of their predecessors with respect.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.