recto, for verso see 113701
This clay tablet is one of over a hundred similar examples found at the site of Jemder Nasr in Iraq. They represent some of the earliest writing in the world (slightly more archaic texts are known from Uruk to the south of Jemdet Nasr). All the tablets list quantities of various commodities using an early form of the cuneiform (wedge-like) script which was employed later to record Sumerian and other languages of Mesopotamia; circles and half circles indicate numerals. The signs in the bottom left register include a human head in profile and a bowl, the combined meaning of which is 'ration'. Such early tablets were used for administrative purposes to record the storage and distribution of goods, animals and people. It would take another five hundred years and developments in the script, as well as changes in society, before writing was used to record literature and poetry.