Clay Foundation Cone – Mesopotamian, Neo-Sumerian period – c. 2141-2122 BC.
A dedication, on a clay cone, from the reign of the prominent ruler King Gudea of Lagash.
The inscription records the reconstruction of the temple called Eninnu by Gudea, in honor of Ningirsu, the city god. Translated by Dr. W. G. Lambert (Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Birmingham, UK), it reads, “…For Ningirsu [a god], mighty warrior for Enlil [a god], Gudea ruler of Lagash [town in Sumer], produced everything appropriate and built Eninnu, his shining Imdugud-bird [a mythical bird] and restored it…”
This cone is handwritten in cuneiform with text around the shaft in columns of equal length, leaving the remainder of the cone blank. Cones (or nails) such as this example were inserted into holes in the wall of the temple Eninnu, with the head showing so that future generations would know of Gudea’s pious work.
There is a small chip, about 1 inch long, along the base, which was lost in antiquity. It is in very good condition overall with fine clear writing. (111mm – 4 7/16 inches in length)