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The brick was found in a storage box in Embury Hall, along with other items dating back to when the New Jersey Museum of Archaeology occupied part of the building’s first floor in the 1970s and 1980s.
The artifact is currently on display for the public at the United Methodist Archives and History Center as part of the exhibition series “Scripts in the Archives,” curated by Alex de Voogt, associate professor in the department of economics and business, and Candace Reilly, manager of Special Collections.
The brick was located among facsimiles of writing systems, suggesting it was used as a teaching tool. It was then transliterated and translated by University of Chicago emeritus professor Matthew W. Stolper.
“This brick is a common find within Elamite building structures, but it also provides an example of one of the lesser known languages that used cuneiform,” explained de Voogt.
“It illustrates the versatility of one of the oldest writing systems in the world. An example like the one on this brick is a rare treat for anyone interested in the development of cuneiform and of writing systems in general. The text itself helps us to date and contextualize the object, which also makes it a tangible entry into the ancient history of western Iran.”
By Candace Reilly, Manager of Special Collections and Dr. Andrew J. Salvati, Adjunct Professor of Media and Communications, Drew University
Drew Archives in 10 is a podcast project designed to highlight obscure, interesting, and surprising items within the collections of Drew University’s Special Collections & University Archives in order to encourage broader use of the archives among Drew students and faculty members.
Each episode of Drew Archives in 10 will feature a conversation between Manager of Special Collections Candace Reilly and Adjunct Professor of Media and Communications Andrew Salvati centering on an individual item in the archive’s collections. The conversations will be no more than 10 minutes in duration and will provide a description of the archival item, discuss its historical context and its archival provenance.
The podcast is available on most platforms. Please see the following link for access on Apple podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/drew-archives-in-10/id1592193754