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Flood tablet
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This is the most famous cuneiform tablet from Mesopotamia. It is the eleventh tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the adventures of a legendary ruler of Uruk. The tablet tells how Gilgamesh met Utnapishtim who, like Noah in the Bible, had been forewarned of a great flood. He built a boat, loaded it with everything he could find and survived the flood while mankind was destroyed. He landed on a mountain called Nimush and released a dove and a swallow but they returned, having failed to find dry land. He later released a raven that did not return, showing that the waters must have receded.

This version of the Biblical flood story was identified in 1872 by George Smith, an assistant in the Museum. On reading the text he «jumped up and rushed about the room in a great state of excitement, and, to the astonishment of those present, began to undress himself».

Flood tablet

From Nineveh, northern Iraq, 7th century вс
L. 15.2 cm
W. 13.3 cm

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