YOU ARE HERE:>>GENERAL INFORMATION>>Cuneiform foundation cones





I will be placing here some examples of foundation cones read  through my  CUNEIFORM READING SERVICE.



You will find read tablets and seals here



My thanks to the collectors  concerened for allowing this: it will make it less likely that you wil need to use the service! Hopefully we will be able to develop a database here which will be help those who can't read cuneiform to work out what their cones say.



Inscribed Foundation  Cones, also sometimes called “nails” were utilised  by the kings for only about 70 years starting with Enanatum I of Lagash around 2400 BC  and ending Samsuiluna of Babylon ( 1749 BC – 1712 BC)



First, by far the most commonly available cones of Gudea of Lagash.



Written in Sumerian language; 11 lines.


1.             dNin-gír-su                                                          For (the god) Ningirsu,

2.             ur-sag kala-ga                                                    the mighty warrior

3.             dEn-líl-lá-ra                                                          of Enlil,

4.             lugal-a-ni                                                             his king,   

5.             Gù-dé-a                                                               Gudea,

6.             ensí                                                                      governor

7.                Lagashki-ke4                                                                         of Lagash,

8.             ní-du7-e pa mu-na-è                                       a resplendent marvel

9.           é-ninnu Anzumusen-bar6-bar6-ra-ni         the Eninnu Temple “Brilliant Lion Headed Eagle"           

10.         mu-na-dù                                                            he (re-)built

11.         ki-bi mu-na-gi4                                     and restored (to its former condition).



There is also a common version of this standard text written in only ten lines; which omits the line  lugal-a-ni  =  his king.  


 From Ken



Top photo, middle line:

E2 NINU(same sign as 50)  d.IM


GI6 MUSHEN  UD UD  RA  NI       


GI6 is same as MI sign

UD sign has reading bir6 in transliterations)


Second photo, first line:

MU NA DU3 (same as NI sign)


Second line: KI BI  MU NA GI4

Below, top main  line you can see the commonly come across…

dingir  nin  gir su 



second line is UR SAG KALA GA

last:  d.EN LIL2  LA2 RA

Another  dingir  nin  gir su from another  cone.



And the  very frequently found  name, Gudea......



Another two examples of



first line:



PA.TE.SI (althree signs together are read as ensi2 = governor)



next line: SIR2.BUR.LA.KI  is logogram for Lagasha  last sign is KE4 genetive marker




                          NA E3

In his numerous inscriptions Gudea, governor of the city-state Lagash, related the many pious building projects he carried out and dedicated to the divinities of the city.  The building of the Eninnu, the temple of Ningirsu, seems to have been the great project of his reign.  Two hymns, each written on a large clay cylinder, recount different stages of its construction.


There is another very clear example of the common Gudea cones here to assist you in reading yours.


Next a RARE type of foundation cone of Gudea and one of Ishme-Dagan