The Yale Babylonian Collection holds virtually every genre, type, and period of ancient Mesopotamian writing, ranging in date from about 3000 B.C.E. to early in the Christian Era, and including commemorative inscriptions, scholarly treatises, letters and business documents, administrative accounts, inscribed seals, seal impressions, and other objects, and literature in Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hittite.

Among its particular treasures are tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh and other epic narratives, a group of the world’s oldest recipes, a large corpus of magic spells and mathematical texts, royal correspondence in Sumerian and Akkadian, and a Sumerian agricultural manual.  Of special interest is the oeuvre of the first author in history whose work can be identified: a princess called Enheduanna, whose passionate poetry, composed over 4200 years ago, was first discovered and edited in the Collection.


Left to right: Old Babylonian Gilgamesh (YBC 2178); Old Babylonian recipes (YBC 4644); (above) Old Babylonian mathematical text (YBC 7289); (below) Old Babylonian Enheduanna hymn (YBC 7169).