For the Record
These museum collection objects are from the Objects of Wonder exhibit and illustrate different ways people in some cultures have recorded their histories.
Why do we collect clay tablets, photographs, and animal-hide paintings in a natural history museum? Because humans are part of the natural world, and objects like these help us understand our place in it.
The desire to communicate our thoughts and experiences has led people of all cultures to find creative ways to record family histories, ceremonial events, and daily life.
What do you notice about the different styles and techniques used to communicate in these objects? How would you describe the different ways you communicate through objects? How are those ways similar or different to what you see here?
Terra-Cotta Inscribed Cone
Place and Date: Isin (modern Iraq), circa 1,900 BC
Description: The wedge-shaped markings in this clay cone are cuneiform, one of the oldest writing systems in the world. The cone was placed in the foundation of a temple to dedicate the building to King Lipit-Ishtar.
Catalog Number: A372670-0 (view complete catalog record)
Where to See It: This object is part of the Objects of Wonder exhibit at the museum.