Clay tablet facts for kids
Clay tablets were a medium used for writing. They were common in the Fertile Crescent, from about the 5th millennium BC. A clay tablet is a more or less flat surface made of clay. Using a stylus, symbols were pressed into the soft clay. It is possible to correct errors on the tablet. The tablet was then baked until dry and hard, either by leaving it out in the sun, or in a fire. Sun-baked tablets could be moistened and recycled. The ones that survived thousands of years were baked in fire. They were used by the Sumerian civilisation in Mesopotamia.
Cuneiform was the first writing used on clay tablets. The system was used by several civilizations who spoke several different languages.
Images for kids
Sumerian clay tablet, currently housed in the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, inscribed with the text of the poem Inanna and Ebih by the priestess Enheduanna, the first author whose name is known
The Babylonian Plimpton 322 clay tablet, with numbers written in cuneiform script. Believed to have been written about 1800 BCE, this table lists two of the three numbers in what are now called Pythagorean triples.