Archaic clay tablet from Uruk
The original of this colored plaster cast copy of an Archaic clay tablet from Uruk (cuneiform type III) is part of the Erlenmeyer Collection which is today owned by the state Berlin. It shows early writing and number symbols in connection with a grain transaction. In particular, it deals with allotting certain amounts of barley for brewing beer to several persons and shows the total on the reverse side, where it is added to the result of some other transaction. Symbols on clay tablets for amounts, e.g. large and small semicircles and circles as well as marks with a fingernail or a stick were already in use at that time, but they always referred to particular goods, like barley in this case.