191READING 9-3Source: History Begins at Sumer, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1956. Falcon’s Wing Press.The First “Farmer’s Almanac”A small clay tablet discovered by an American expedition in Iraq made possible the restoration of a docu-ment more than 3,500 years old that is of prime importance in the history of agriculture and its techniques. The 1949-50 expedition, sponsored jointly by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, excavated the 3 by 4 1/2-inch inscription in the ancient Sumerian site Nippur. The tablet was in poor condition on its arrival. But after it had been baked, cleaned, and mended in the laboratory of the University Museum, practically its entire text became legible. Before the discovery at Nippur, 8 other clay tablets and fragments inscribed with different parts of this agricultural “primer” were already known, but it was impossible to make a trustworthy restoration of the text as a whole until the new Nippur piece, with 35 lines from the middle of the composition, came to light.
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Farmer, Sumer, Plough, OX, Sumerian site Nippur, diagonal furrows