Of course, it is not the first to do so: see Charpin (1986). More recently Wilcke (2000) has briefly surveyed the archaeological evidence for Mesopotamian schooling; and see now Tanret’s magnificent study of schooling in the gala-ma?s’ house in Sippir Amn?num (Tanret 2002).
According to the conventional middle chronology (e.g., Walker 1995); or during the 1650s following the ultra-short chronology proposed by Gasche et al. (1998).
Previous studies of House F and its neighbours were made in the original excavation report by McCown and Haines (1967: 64–66) and in Stone’s study of the architecture and domestic documentation (Stone 1987: 56–59), with important reviews by Charpin (1989–90), Postgate (1990) and Van Driel (1990).
TA was dug on the mound now known as Tablet Hill, due to the vast numbers of tablets found there in the University of Pennsylvania’s excavations, precisely in the hope and expectation of finding more of them (McCown and Haines 1967: viii; Zettler 1997: 149–50).
Stone’s figure of 35.58 m2 excludes courtyard 192 (Stone 1987: 58).
McCown and Haines (1967: 116, pls. 88, 95.5, 96.1, 96.7, 127.9, 130.5, 131.6, 134.9, 136.2, 142.10); Stone (1987: Appendix II: Object Catalog, 161–212, sv. 184, 189, 191, 192, 203, 205).
The stratigraphy of House F has been re-assessed twice: first by McCown and Haines between excavation and publication (as attested by the amendments made to the field notebooks) and then by Stone (1987). Neither analysis took into account the joins between school tablets. When these are factored in, it turns out that the field stratigraphy, in which all the school documents come from Level 10, works best for House F after all. Stone (1987: 133–144) details the equations between the three different stratigraphies. Stone (1987: 118) lists the latest datable tablets in each stratum of TA. In her Level XI (= field level 10) the youngest tablets are from 1739 and 1738.
The 733 tablets in Philadelphia include the 533 fragments published by Heimerdinger (1979), expected to be returned to the Iraq Musem in due course. The 347 pieces labelled in Figure 6 as “B/C casts” are fragments returned to Baghdad from Chicago, plaster casts of which were retained in the Oriental Institute.
For this reason I have not used rigorous statistical procedures to support the statements made here as such methods would be unwarranted on an unchecked dataset. Similarly I have not listed tablet numbers or places of publication. The final publication will include a full database and copies and/or digital photos of all the 3N-T tablets from TA.
E.g., Pearce (1995: 2270). Volk (2000: 3) has convincingly shown, however, that e2-dub-ba-a is better understood as “the house that distributes (= ba) tablets” or perhaps “house in which tablets are distributed”. They are certainly distributed liberally all over House F!
Cf. No. 1, Broad Street in Ur, where a large number of school tablets had been used as fill but, as they were jumbled up with disparate lots of other tablets, may not have been written in the house itself (Charpin 1986; 481–482).
The thickness of the lines between rooms and floors is proportional to the number of joins.
E.g., Dekiere 1994; Janssen 1991, 1992, 1996; Janssen et al. 1994; Tanret and Van Lerberghe 1993.
Eighteen fragments of Akkadian letters from Level 10 of House F could yield at least the name of House F’s occupant(s), but it is not yet clear whether these are genuine letters or scribal school exercises (Charpin 1990: 4–5). Tablets from a later occupational phase of House F, after its abandonment and rehabitation, are discussed by Stone (1987: 57–59). There is no reason to suppose that the later residents of the house were the same as had lived there when it was a school.
Tinney (1999: 160) has recently elaborated on this typology; for our purposes, however, the simple four-fold division is sufficient.
Some or all of these tablet formats were used outside Nippur too, but not necessarily with the same functions. In Ur, for instance, Type II tablets are virtually unknown, while Type IV tablets were used for mathematical rough work as well as for very short literary extracts (Gadd and Kramer 1966; Robson 1999: 245–272).
The typology of Type IV tablets was further elaborated by Gordon (1959: 7–8).
He has also found a convincing curricular sequence in the Type II tablets from the Scherbenloch in OB Uruk (Veldhuis 1997–98: 361).
See Veldhuis (2000) for the join between SP 2 and SP 6.
Of all types, not only Type II. The numbers in the column are not commensurate because of the co-occurrence of different compositions on the Type II tablets.
This is also the typology followed by the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (Black et al. 1998– ), with the addition of a section for Sumerian proverbs—which, as shown above, constituted the final component of the elementary curriculum. All literary compositions and ancient catalogues are cited according to the ETCSL titles and catalogue numbering here.
Numerical data based on Tinney (1999: 171–172).
Two Type II/1 tablets, one with Syllable Alphabet B; one collective tablet with Lipit-Eshtar Hymn D (ETCSL 184.108.40.206).
One Type IV tablet, one of unknown format.
Numerical data based on ETCSL database.
N2 (ETCSL 0.2.01) from Nippur; L (0.2.02) from Nippur?; S1 (0.2.18) from Sippir; U1 (0.2.03), U2 (0.2.04) from Ur; B4 (0.2.11), Y2 (0.2.12) unprovenanced. R = reverse.
D01–10 = Decad; F01–14 = House F Fourteen.
This entry, ud re-a ud sud-ta re?-a, could be the incipit of either Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Nether World or the Instructions of Shurrupag.
This incipit, dumu e2-dub-ba-a, could belong to any one of Eduba A, Eduba C, Eduba F (ETCSL 5.1.a, unpublished), Eduba Dialogue 1, or Eduba Dialogue 3 (ETCSL 5.4.3).
1 tablet with Nanshe Hymn A.
The incipit iri na-nam, which occurs in all three catalogues, also opens Nanshe Hymn A (ETCSL 4.14.1).
The incipit of the composition itself is damaged.
One tablet also contains an unidentified hymn.
On the same tablet as Ishme-Dagan Hymn G.
1 tablet with Enlil and Ninlil.
The incipit iri na-nam, which occurs in all three catalogues, also opens Enlil and Ninlil (ETCSL 1.2.1).
Neither is The Return of Ninurta to Nippur (Table 8).
There are also over forty tablets bearing still unidentified literary compositions.
Cavigneaux (1996: no. 12); ETCSL 0.2.17.
On the same tablet as extracts from the lexical list Nigga.
Levels 11 and 12 date to before the school was active in House F; level 10 is approximately contemporary with it; levels 8 and 9 are post-school.
As mentioned above, the eighteen Akkadian letters discovered in the house may also be scholastic compositions.
Compare the relatively up-to-date school at No. 7, Quiet Street in Ur, destroyed like House F in about 1740 but which had probably not been used as a school for some time, in which Rim-Sin (1822–1763) was the main subject of royal praise poetry found there (Charpin 1986: 429–431, 433).
Stone 1987: texts 12–15, 22–23, 25–29, 31–32, 34, 38, 42–47, 49–50, 54, 56–57, 59–61.
I have used a simplistic method to assign languages to documents: those with any Akkadian at all (excluding personal names) are designated as Akkadian, and those without as Sumerian. As the issue here is literacy not orality I have not been concerned to determine what the language of speech in Area TA was.
For instance, No. 7 Quiet Street in Ur (Charpin 1986: 433).
And, for instance, in No. 1 Broad Street in Ur (Charpin 1986: 481–2).