[Ancientartifacts] Re: Cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals


This is indeed a very interesting area of antiquities collecting as
tablets and inscribed seals can be read!
Names and dates and the circumstances of long distant events come
alive and we can feel in contact
with people four thousand years ago!

It's for this reason that I find this area so fascinating. As well as
that, so many of the cylinder seals are objects of great beauty and
wonderful craftsmanship in themselves.

There are tens of thousands of cuneiform tablets and fragments of
tablets which have been circulating on the market for a very long
Be aware however that since the embargo on exports from Iraq circa
1990 an unknown number of such things have been looted and smuggled
out. It is often possible to tell if a tablet has been more recently
illicitly exported because the tablets contain information which can
be compared with the vast publication of cuneiform texts. In the same
way however it is often possible to establish that a given tablet or
fragment is from an old site or buried archive which had been
extensively excavated and sometimes completely , many many years ago.

I provide a service for treading cuneiform texts.


Fake tablet are also on the market but it is usually pretty easy to
spot them. Composite pastiches are not uncommon. (Several different
tablets carefully joined up to look like one single tablet). But a
reading will always expose these.

Cylinder seals are faked in large numbers and new collectors should
be exceedingly wary. Some fakes are extremely well done. Luckily, the
fakers often make mistakes when they try to fake inscribed tablets
and here again, a reading of the inscription will very often expose

If you want to try hard to avoid more recently illicitly exported
material, your best bet is to go for cuneiform foundation cones. A
large number have been circulating on the markets since the early
part of the last century especially.

I offer for sale fragmentary tablets and some whole tablets and also
foundation cones. Many of these have been in my own collection for a
long time. I first started acquiring such things in the early 1980s.
Occasionally I am able to acquire other legitimately exported
material at various auctions and from other older collections.

To share your interest with others in this area of collecting note
that there is are appropriate categories for this on my new
discussion forum.


Feel free to contact me through my website for more information and



Collector Antiquities

--- In Ancientartifacts@yahoogroups.com, "Aldo" <atamburr@...> wrote:
> Although it does not give an answer to your questions, the following
> publication of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
> OIMP 28."Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq's Past"
> Edited by Geoff Emberling and Katharyn Hanson, 2008, is a good
> reference to the topic.
> I uploaded the publication to the files section.
> Best regards,
> Aldo
> --- In Ancientartifacts@yahoogroups.com, "D. Owsen" <zebradano@>
> >
> > A friend and I were discussing collecting artifacts the other day
> > the topic of cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals came up. I
> > with the current situation in Iraq it would be risky to buy
> > as it might be stolen or illicitly obtained. But there must be
> > reputable dealers of these items that obtained them in the past
> > through legal means. And there must be thousands of tablets and
> > all of them of historical value, just like coins. What is the
> > situation in the market for these objects, just out of
curiousity? Are
> > there any good websites for more information?
> >
> > Thank you!
> >


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