Jeremiah Peterson recreates ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets featuring authentic ancient texts that are modeled on ancient manuscripts using his best approximation of ancient techniques. You can even buy the cuneiform tablets on Etsy for display, each with its own wise proverb or saying from the oldest civilizations known to man.
Cuneiform writing, which consists of various combinations of wedges formed by incising wet clay with a pointed stylus, was used for around 3,000 years from the end of the fourth millennium BC to the beginning of the common era.
Originating in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), it was also used all across the ancient world, including Iran, Anatolia, and Syria, and was adapted to render more than a dozen ancient languages.
As a scholar of ancient Mesopotamia with a specific specialty in the Sumerian language occurring in manuscripts from the so-called “Old Babylonian Period” (about 3,900 to 3,600 years ago, the period during which the famous Hammurabi of Babylon reigned), Peterson has always been deeply impressed by the beauty of carefully executed cuneiform writing and the skill that went into constructing cuneiform manuscripts.
His most ambitious rendition to date is a 190 line modern version of the Sumerian text “Gilgamesh and Huwawa,” which is reflected in the famous Akkadian Gilgamesh Epic, where the hero-king Gilgamesh and his comrade Enkidu journey to the mountains to the east of Mesopotamia and defeat Huwawa, the guardian of the trees that grew there, taking his mesmerizing protective terrors.
“May the goddess Nisaba (the patron deity of cuneiform writing as well as grain) appreciate my work!” says Peterson.
Take a look at his Etsy shop, where you can take one of these marvelous recreations home for yourself: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AncientTextModTablet
Here’s a video of how he does it: