N16 in the Archaic Texts: Notes


1    The three tablets are W 21385, a two-column fragment with a broken context (O0201: 3N14 [...] ˹1N16?˺ ENa X U4×2N57 [...]), where the traces of the sign rendered as 1N16 allow its reconstruction as NUMUN as well; W 21537, a fragmentary account of possibly grain groats, where the sign N16 occurs in a broken context (R0101: [...] ˹1N30c˺ 1N16 ˹3N57?˺ X ˹HIgunûa?˺ [...]); and ATU 3, pl. 75, W 21208,8+, a fragmentary lexical list, where the signs 1N16 and 1N17 are listed in sequence (O0105-6: 1N1 1N16 / 1N16 1N17).

2     MS 4499, to be published in R. K. Englund, Proto-Cuneiform Texts from the Schøyen Collection (=PCTSC); photographs and transliteration available in the CDLI under no. P006303.

3    The transliteration provided [5 Dec. 2005] in CDLI has ˹SANGAa˺ UR5a in case O0105b1; the reading ˹ŠU˺ UR5a is supported by the parallel sections of MSVO 3, 26 (O0101a / O0102a), CDLI no. P006396 (O0304a / R0101), MS 4496 (O0101), MS 4559 (O0201), CUNES 51-02-001.1 (O0101a / O0102a / O0103a), CUNES 51-10-032 + CUNES 51-10-034 (R0101b1) and CUNES 51-10-007 (O0201) (the last three texts are to be published as CUSA 1 [S. Monaco, The Cornell University Archaic Tablets (=Cornell University Studies in Assyriology vol. 1, forthcoming)], nos. 74, 97 and 172).

4    For the value of the barig cf. fn. 11 below.

5    To be published as CUSA 1, 143.

6    Tablets recording similar calculations are CDLB 2003/4 and CUNES 51-01-098 (=CUSA 1, 114).

7    CUSA 1, 172.

8    There is also an unlikely occurrence in CUNES 51-01-100 (=CUSA 1, 149), which is disregarded in the present analysis because the shape of this and other numerical signs, present in the same case (O0103), do not allow a reliable identification of the signs themselves.

9    CUSA 1, 112.

10    For similar case arrangements and numerical relation-ships in analogous accounting contexts of various kinds of breads and cereal products, cf. the following texts: MSVO 1, 90 (O0206a/O0206b: 1N51 GAR 1N24? / 4N5), MSVO 1, 111 (O0103a/O0103b: 1N51 GAR 1N28 / 1N20), MSVO 3, 3 (O0101a/O0101b; O0103a/O0103b: 2N51 1N30c DU8c ABb EZINUd / 4N5 4N42a; 5N51 1N30c DU8c GIŠxŠU2b SARa / 2N20); MSVO 4, 66 (O0102a/O0102b; O0103a/O0103b; O0104a/O0104b; O0105a/O0105b: 1N51 1N24 / 2N20; ˹1N51˺ 1N26 / 1N20 2N5; ˹2N51˺ 1N34 1N28 / ˹2N20 3N5˺; 5N51 1N29a / 4N20), CUNES 50-08-073.1 (=CUSA 1, 113) (O0101a/O0101b; O0102a/O0102b: 2N51 1N34 3N57 ŠU / 2N5 HIgunûa; 1N51 1N30c GAR / 2N5 2N42 HIgunûa), CUNES 51-06-009 (=CUSA 1, 118) (O0101a/O0101b; O0102a/O0102b: 2N51 ŠEa+GAR 1N29c / 1N20 3N5; 2N51 1N30c ŠEa+GAR / 4N5).

11    Assuming for the barig (N1) a value of approximately 24 liters (according to P. Damerow and R. K. Englund, “Die Zahlzeichensysteme der Archaischen Texte aus Uruk,” in M. W. Green and H. J. Nissen, Zeichenliste der Archaischen Texte aus Uruk [=ATU 2; Berlin 1987] 153-154, fn. 60), 1N16 represents about 1/4 of a liter. It is worth noting that in later periods the minimum value of the rations due to the lowest class of workers (dumu) amounted to 10 sila3 per month (cf S. Monaco, “Parametri e Qualificatori nei testi economici della terza Dinastia di Ur,” OrAnt 24, 21ff.). This value corresponds to a daily ration amounting to 1/3 sila3, equivalent to approximately 1/4 liter (based on a sila3 value of 5/6 liter), i.e., the same value represented by 1N16. Whether such a coincidence implies a continuity in the Mesopotamian administrative ration system of the 3rd millennium shall be left to a study that is beyond the scope of the present analysis.

Version: 3 December 2005