The plan, with south-east at the top, shows the River Euphrates, identified by the water-lined band. In the centre is Tuba, below which are part of the city walls and the Shamash Gate, or ‘Great Gate of the Sun God’. On the reverse of the tablet, cuneiform text describes the defence measures for the city, including the closures of the gates after dark and the postings of sentries.
Medieval traditions of urban mapping were long predated by both the Mesopotamian and Roman civilisation. The earliest known town plans come from the sophisticated urban cultures of Mesopotamia.
- Full title:
- Fragment of a city plan labelled ‘Tuba’, a suburb of Babylon
- Clay tablet
- © Trustees of the British Museum
- Usage terms
- Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike licence
- Held by
- The British Museum
- BM 35385
- Article by:
- Christopher Wright
- Antiquarianism, Science and nature
Sir Robert Ker Porter's accounts of his travels in the Middle East gave a glimpse into a region that was largely unknown to most Europeans. His original watercolours provide a compelling visual source and are both descriptive of their settings and beautiful works of art in their own right. Christopher Wright recounts Porter's journey into an unfamiliar and enchanting landscape.
- Article by:
- James Elliot
- Town and city
What were early topographical views used for? Former British Library maps curator James Elliot explains the origins of town plans, ‘picture maps’ and bird’s eye views.