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Drew University Archives and Special Collections Rediscovers 3,000-Year-Old Artifact

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Drew University Archives and Special Collections Rediscovers 3,000-Year-Old Artifact

A brick with Elamite cuneiform script originates from Iran

June 2022 – Drew University Archives and Special Collections recently rediscovered a 3,000-year-old Iranian artifact, a brick with Elamite cuneiform text.



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The brick was originally built into the facade of a building, which its inscription commemorates.





The brick was found in a storage box in Embury Hall, along with other items from when the New Jersey Museum of Archeology occupied part of the first floor of the building in the 1970s and 1980s.

The artifact is currently on public display at the United Methodist Archives and History Center as part of the “Scripts in the Archives” exhibition series, curated by Alex de Voogt, associate professor in the Department of Economics and Business, and Candace Reilly, head of special collections.

The brick was located among facsimiles of writing systems, suggesting that it was used as a teaching tool. It was then transliterated and translated by Matthew W. Stolper, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago.

“This brick is a common find in Elamite building structures, but it also provides an example of one of the lesser-known languages ​​that used cuneiform,” de Voogt explained.

“It illustrates the versatility of one of the oldest writing systems in the world. An example like the one on this brick is a rare treat for anyone interested in the development of cuneiform and writing systems in general. The text itself helps us date and contextualize the object, which also makes it a tangible entry into the ancient history of western Iran.

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