The cradle of civilisation and a most interesting area to visit. I was lucky enough to do so many years ago when one could get to most of the archaeological sites, which recently have seen so much devastation.

The first 'writings' were pictographic clay tablets, inscribed on with a pointed stick, where an object in the text was drawn in its natural form. This was slow and required artistic skill, of sorts. These pictographs were developed into cuneiform or wedge-shaped characters that were much quicker to inscribe and needed no particular artistic skills. They were inscribed in wet clay with a shaped stick, bone or other material. They were used initially for administrative purposes, such as contracts and warehouse records.

The clay tablets in the collection were read by a good friend, Dr. Irving Finkel of the British Museum and a world expert on the origins of writing.


  • Davies Antiques.
  • M. Ayers.
  • Parthenon Gallery, London.
  • Alan E. Cole