The Babylonian Section houses a collection of almost 30,000 clay tablets inscribed in Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform, making it one of the ten largest collections in the world. The vast majority of the texts derive from the Museum's excavations at Nippur in the latter part of the 19th Century along with smaller excavated groups of tablets from Ur, Billa, Malyan and Fara. The collection contains the largest number of Sumerian school tablets and literary compositions of any of the world's museums, as well as important administrative archives ranging from 2900 to 500 BCE.
View Highlights From the Babylonian Section
The range of the collection—contentwise—is all encompassing, from business and legal documents to literary texts, such as fragments from the Epic of Gilgamesh and other myths pertaining to Gilgamesh. There are also some fragments of the famous Laws of Hammurabi, plus an even older law code dating to the reign of King Lipit-Ishtar (1934-1924 B.C.). This is the second oldest written law code in existence.