3,000 Year Old Tablet Decoded to Reveal an Ancient Deportation Program

Archaeologist Timothy Matney and colleagues excavated an ancient tablet from the Assyrian Empire and managed to decipher it to reveal ... a deportation program from 3,000 years ago!

So far, the team has deciphered lists of names of 144 women on the tablets who were likely employed by the palace as agricultural workers or laborers at its granary.

Yet while the tablets were written in the Late Assyrian language, the women's names are not Assyrian, Matney said.

That means the women may have been from local indigenous populations, or part of a mass relocation of people conquered by the Assyrians in another part of the empire, Matney said.

"The Assyrians deported large numbers of people—hundreds of thousands—from one part of the empire to another in order to break up local power structures and to move agricultural workers where they needed them," he said.

"It's an intriguing possibility that these women may have been one group that was involved in these deportations."


(Photo: University of Akron)

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