COMPLETE SET FOR WEIGHING PRECIOUS METALS IN THE PALACE

MS 5088/1-55
MS Short Title COMPLETE SET FOR WEIGHING PRECIOUS METALS IN THE PALACE
Text COMPLETE SET FOR WEIGHING PRECIOUS METALS IN THE PALACE 
1.HALF MINA, WEIGHT OF THE PALACE 
2.TEN SHEKELS 
3.TWO SHEKELS 
4.ONE QUARTER OF A SHEKEL 
5.FIFTY-ONE UNMARKED WEIGHTS
Description MSS in Old Babylonian on hematite, Babylonia, ca. 2000-1600 BC, 55 weights of all sizes, from diam. 2,8x8,8 cm to diam. 0,4x1,1 cm, 2 and 1 lines in cuneiform script.
Context The set comprises the following 17 weight denominations:
  • One 1/2-mina (245 g) text 1
  • one 1/3-mina (139,9 g)
  • two 10-shekels (80 g and 81,6 g) the last of diorite, text 2
  • one 5-shekels (41,7 g)
  • one 4-shekels (34,3 g)
  • two 3-shekels (24,1 g and 24,4 g)
  • eleven 2-shekels (16,2 g - 17,3 g)
  • one is text 3 four 1-shekel (8,2 g - 8,6 g)
  • two 3/4-shekel (5,9 g and 6,1 g)
  • three 2/3-shekel (5,5 g - 5,6 g)
  • seven 1/2-shekel (4,0 g - 4,4 g)
  • six 1/3-shekel (2,6 g - 3,2 g)
  • four 1/4-shekel (1,9 g - 2,3 g)
  • one is text 4 two 1/5 shekel (1,7 g - 1,8 g)
  • three 1/6-shekel (1,4 g - 1,5 g)
  • one 1/7-shekel (1,2 g)
  • three 1/8-shekel (0,8 g - 1,0 g)
  • one 1/16-shekel (0,4 g)
Commentary The smallest weight is 10 barley-corns. They were reported found together in a damaged bronze pot in the 1920’es – 1930’es. The only known large complete set of weights from the Old Babylonian period. It would mainly have been used for weighing out gold and silver for deliveries to and from the royal palace.
Published Jöran Friberg: A remarkable Collection of Babylonian Mathematical Texts. Springer 2007. Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences. Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection, vol. 6, Cuneiform Texts I. pp. 131-133.
Place of origin Babylonia
Dates ca 2000-1600 BC

Location