Cuneiform Tablet

About this object

History of use

Cones such as these were initially plain and put into temple walls for decoration. Cones with inscriptions were intended to be inserted into the corners of mud-brick walls of buildings to e.g., commemorate who had the temple built, or record the construction (or reconstruction) of a major building.


Gudea was a ruler (ensi) of the city of Lagash in Southern Mesopotamia who ruled c. 2144 - 2124 BC. He probably did not come from the city, but had married Ninalla, daughter of the ruler Urbaba (2164 - 2144 BC) of Lagash, thus gaining entrance to the royal house of Lagash.

Iconographic meaning

The inscription records the rebuilding of the major temple in the city of Lagash, in ancient Mesopotamia, by the ruler of the city - Gudea, Governor of Lagash. Translation: "For Ningirsu, Enlil's mighty warrior, Gudea, ruler of Lagash, made things function as they should [and] he built and restored for him Eninnu, the White Thunderbird." M4.19 and M4.24 are two examples of the same inscribed object.

Physical description

Cream-coloured clay cone with cuneiform inscription. One end tapers to a rounded point, the other has a flat, slightly domed base. The sides of the body have very worn, vertical linear inscriptions.