The development of writing was a very important achievement of early civilisations. The earliest writing known is from ancient Sumer and this clay tablet is an example. It records quantities of barley and shows how, in the cities of Sumer, a system was developed for rulers and their officials to carry out day-to-day administration in order to monitor and control the economic activities of an expanding city-state.
Uruk in southern Iraq
3300 BC – 3100 BC
length: 8 cm
width: 5 cm
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