What are the clay tablets

What are the clay tablets and ancient civilisations using clay tablets.
What are the clay tablets and ancient civilisations using clay tablets.

What are the clay tablets

Clay tablets are ancient artifacts that were used for writing and documentation in various civilizations throughout history. These tablets were made from moist clay that was then dried or fired to harden it, creating a surface upon which inscriptions could be made using a stylus or other pointed object. Clay tablets were one of the earliest forms of recorded communication and served as a means of preserving information, such as administrative records, legal documents, religious texts, literature, and more.

Some key civilizations known for using clay tablets


The Sumerians, an ancient civilization in Mesopotamia (modern-day southern Iraq), are among the earliest known users of clay tablets. They used a writing system known as cuneiform to record a wide range of information, from economic transactions to myths and epics.

Babylonians and Assyrians

These cultures inherited the cuneiform writing tradition from the Sumerians and continued to use clay tablets for various purposes, including recording astronomical observations, legal codes (such as the Code of Hammurabi), and historical annals.


The Hittites, an ancient Anatolian civilization, also adopted cuneiform writing and used clay tablets for diplomatic correspondence, treaties, and other administrative records.

Ancient Egyptians

Although papyrus was more commonly used in ancient Egypt, clay tablets have been found with hieratic and demotic inscriptions, often used for educational purposes and administrative records.

Indus Valley Civilization

Clay tablets with undeciphered scripts have been found in the ancient cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, hinting at their use in this ancient culture.

These clay tablets are invaluable historical artifacts that provide insights into the daily lives, beliefs, languages, and interactions of these ancient societies. Over time, as civilizations developed more advanced writing materials like parchment and paper, the use of clay tablets gradually declined. However, their legacy remains, and they continue to be a fascinating window into the past, shedding light on the earliest forms of written communication and human expression.

Summary of civilizations known for using clay tablets

CivilizationRegionWriting SystemUse of Clay Tablets
SumeriansMesopotamia (Iraq)CuneiformAdministrative records, legal documents, myths, and literature.
Babylonians & AssyriansMesopotamia (Iraq)CuneiformAstronomical observations, legal codes (e.g., Code of Hammurabi), historical records.
HittitesAnatolia (Turkey)CuneiformDiplomatic correspondence, treaties, administrative records.
Ancient EgyptiansEgyptHieratic, DemoticEducational and administrative purposes, although papyrus was more common for writing.
Indus Valley CivilizationSouth Asia (Pakistan, India)Undeciphered scriptClay tablets with undeciphered scripts found in ancient cities of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Each of these civilizations used clay tablets as a means of recording and preserving various types of information, contributing to our understanding of their cultures and histories.

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