One Of The Oldest Maps In The World

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


This ancient clay tablet is inscribed in cuneiform with a map of the countryside around the important Mesopotamian city of Nippur, now part of southeastern Iraq, south of Baghdad. Written in cuneiform, it is dated to some point in the 14th-13th century BC, making is one of the oldest known maps in the world! 

Cuneiform is one of the earliest types of writing, probably invented around 3000 BC, to communicate in Sumerian and then Akkadian, Hurrian, Elamite, and Urartian (all ancient languages as well). 

It was discovered during excavations at the site that began in 1851 and continue still today. I took this photo, and got to see the piece in person, while it was part of the Indiana Jones and The Adventure of Archaeology exhibit. It is currently travelling with the exhibit on loan from the Penn Museum