In these pages, the Department of the Middle East of the British Museum and the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI), an international research project based at the University of California, Los Angeles, present a database of the inscribed objects in the London collection. In an initial phase of this collaboration funded by a grant from by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jonathan Taylor and Marieka Arksey digitized the library and archives of Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria. A series of excavations at the mound of Kuyunjik (ancient Nineveh) during the 19th and early 20th centuries discovered 30,000 tablets and fragments (a number reduced by joins and other corrections to a current total of 24,745 in CDLI files). These texts underpin cuneiform studies, and still form a core resource for our understanding of the social and intellectual history of ancient Mesopotamia. Added to BM entries otherwise made by CDLI staff to its core catalogue in the course of our general capture, we now show a total of nearly 72,000 cuneiform artifacts in the Museum’s holdings, of a grand total that may approach 200,000.

Introduction to the collection
British Museum homepage
About the Museum
Search the BM collection


BM artifacts by period:

   Late Uruk (ca. 3400-3000 BC)
   Early Dynastic I-II (ca. 2900-2700 BC)
   Early Dynastic IIIa (ca. 2600 BC)
   Early Dynastic IIIb (ca. 2500-2350 BC)
   Old Akkadian (ca. 2350-2200 BC)
   Lagash II (ca. 2200-2100 BC)
   Ur III period (ca. 2100-2000 BC)
   Old Assyrian (ca. 2000-1900 BC)
   Old Babylonian (ca. 2000-1600 BC)
   Middle Babylonian (ca. 1500-1000 BC)
   Middle Assyrian (ca. 1500-1000 BC)
   Neo-Assyrian (ca. 1000-600 BC)
   Neo-Babylonian (ca. 1000-540 BC)
   Achaemenid (ca. 540-330 BC)
   Hellenistic (ca. 330-140 BC)
   Uncertain date

BM artifacts by provenience:

   Alalakh    Amarna    Babylon    Borsippa    Diqdiqqah    Drehem    Eridu    Fara    Girsu    Jemdet Nasr    Kish    Kültepe    Larsa    Nineveh    Nimrud    Nippur    Nuzi    Sippar    Tell Brak    Ubaid    Umma    Ur    Uruk    unclear

BM artifacts by text genre:

   Administrative    Literary    Omina    Prayers/Incantations    Lexical
   Mathematical    School    Scientific
   Letters    Royal/Monumental

BM artifacts by type:

   bricks    tablets    cones    sealings    tags
   stone inscriptions    metal inscriptions

Search all CDLI inscriptions

The tablet to the right (K 828) contains a neo-Assyrian period cuneiform letter from King Ashurbanipal, written in his capital city, Nineveh (ca. 650 BC; click image to be directed to the text’s corresponding CDLI page).

  Copyright © Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

A cooperative effort of the British Museum
and the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative