In these pages, the Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) and the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) present a database of nearly 2900 inscribed artifacts in the PTS cuneiform collection. This collection was for the most part acquired by the Seminary between 1907 and 1915, and is maintained in its Rare Books and Special Collections. The cuneiform texts have been partially edited by Marcel Sigrist, Albrecht Goetze, and some few others; but according to our current tally, some 1800, primarily Old Babylonian and neo-Babylonian texts, remain unpublished. Michael Davis of the Princeton Theological Seminary coordinated, with PTS officials Ken Henke (Curator of Special Collections) and Don Vorp (James Lenox Librarian), and with CDLI staff members Michael Heinle and Jared Wolfe, the cataloguing and digital capture of the artifacts. Raw images are being processed to CDLI “fatcrosses” and added to the project’s existing web content on the text artifacts, including catalogue data and, in many cases, transliterations. Generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation made this digital capture and preservation possible.

Introduction to the collection
PTS homepage


All PTS inscriptions sorted by museum number

All PTS inscriptions sorted by publication

Texts by period:

   ED IIIa period (ca. 2500-2340 BC)
   Ur III period (ca. 2100-2000 BC)
   Early Old Babylonian (ca. 2000-1900 BC)
   Old Babylonian (ca. 1900-1600 BC)
   Middle Babylonian (ca. 1400-1100 BC)
   Neo-Assyrian (ca. 911-612 BC)
   Neo-Babylonian (ca. 626-539 BC)
   Achaemenid (547-331 BC)
   Hellenistic (323-63 BC)

Texts by genre:


Search all CDLI inscriptions

The image to the right depicts the text PTS 871, an unassuming account of labor expenditures from the reign of the Ur III king Šu-Suen (ca. 2020 BC; click on image to be directed to its corresponding CDLI page with translation). It is, however, remarkable for the evidence it gives of lower drudges at work in Mesopotamia, and reminds us of the words of Hamlet,

A certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service—two dishes, but to one table.

[this was Shakespeare’s punning reference to the Diet of Worms convened by Charles V in 1521]


A cooperative effort of the the Princeton Theological Seminary,
and the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative