addition to gilgamesh epic

Ancient Clay Tablet Offers New Insights into the Gilgamesh Epic

Gilgamesh tablet on display at the Sulaymaniyah Museum

This ancient clay tablet was acquired along with other Babylonian antiquities in 2011 by the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq. Researchers discovered that the tablet contained passages from the Gilgamesh Epic. Photo: “Tablet V of the Epic of Gligamesh” by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP (Glasg). Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.
Tablet V of the ancient Mesopotamian Gilgamesh Epic tells the story of the heroes Gilgamesh and Enkidu as they combat Humbaba, the monstrous guardian of the Cedar Forest. Two ancient clay tablets securely represent the story that unfolds in Tablet V: a Neo-Assyrian tablet fromNineveh and a Late Babylonian tablet from Uruk. Now, an ancient clay tablet acquired in recent years by the Sulaymaniyah Museum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraqoffers new insights into the adventures of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, and his companion Enkidu.
The earliest known texts of the Gilgamesh Epic were written by the Sumerians, the first literate civilization inMesopotamia, in the third millennium B.C.E. By the end of the second millennium B.C.E., the epic story developed into an 11-tablet text. Assyrian scribes added an additional tablet describing Gilgamesh’s preparations for death and journey to the underworld in the eighth century B.C.E.
The Sulaymaniyah Museum tablet is a copy of Tablet V of the so-called Standard Babylonian version of the Gilgamesh Epic. Assyriologists Farouk Al-Rawi and Andrew George, both of SOAS, University of London, studied the tablet together over five days in the Sulaymaniyah Museum and published their findings in 2014.1 Inscribed by hand incuneiform, the writing system of “wedge-shaped” signs used throughout the Near East in the first four millennia B.C.E., the partially broken tablet measures 4.3 by 3.7 inches and is 1.2 inches thick.
While the provenance of the Gilgamesh tablet is unknown, the researchers state in their paper that it’s “highly probable that [the tablet] was unearthed at a Babylonian site.”
“The only evidence for the time of writing of an undated cuneiform tablet is paleography,” Andrew George told Bible History Daily. “In my opinion, having read many tablets of Old Babylonian and Neo-Babylonian date, the script of the Sulaymaniyah Gilgamesh tablet […] is a typical Neo-Babylonian script, probably—and here things are more subjective—not later than the sixth century B.C.E.”