TITLE: Mesopotamian City Plan for Nippur
DATE: 1,500 B.C.
DESCRIPTION: This Babylonian clay tablet, drawn around 1,500 B.C.
and measuring 18 x 21 cm, is incised with a plan of Nippur, the religious
center of the Sumerians in Babylonia during this period. The tablet marks
the principal temple of Enlil in its enclosure on the right edge, along
with store-houses, a park and another enclosure, the river Euphrates, a
canal to one side of the city, and another canal running through the center.
A wall surrounds the city, pierced by seven gates which, like all the other
features, have their names written beside them. As on some of the house
plans, measurements are given for several of the structures, apparently
in units of twelve cubits [about six meters]. Scrutiny of the map
beside modern surveys of Nippur has led to the claim that it was drawn to
scale. How much of the terrain around Nippur has been included cannot be
known because of damage to the tablet, nor is there any statement of the
plan's purpose, although repair of the city's defenses is suggested. As
such, this tablet represents possibly the earliest known town plan drawn
LOCATION: Hilprecht Collection, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat, Jena
Dilke, O.A.W., Greek and Roman Maps, p. 12 .
*Harley, J.B., The History of Cartography, Volume One, pp. 10-112 .
*Thrower, N.J.W., Maps and Man, pp. 12-13 .