From the Archives of the Distribution Center in Puzriš-Dagan (modern Drehem)
Drehem is a small village situated seven kilometers south of Nippur, the religious center of Sumer and Akkad. The site was extensively looted in 1909-1910 and its clay tablets were brought to the antiquity market and eventually reached museums and private hands.Our knowledge of the site can be gleaned from its texts which were published all over the world over the last 114 years.
I initiated the Project of Archives of the Animal Center of the Ur-III Dynasty and tried to reconstruct the archives of Puzriš-Dagan. Thanks to the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) and the Database of Neo-Sumerian Texts (BDTNS), two international digital cuneiform libraries, we now have a revolutionary new computer research method for all of the cuneiform texts of the Ur III period. Texts are written in Sumerian cuneiform and mixed with some Akkadian names and loan-words. There are 14,668 texts on the CDLI/BDTNS: most use transliterations, some have copies, and some only have photos. The ancient name of Drehem is Puzriš-Dagan and we call it the Animal Distribution Center of the Ur III(c. 2111-2004 BC), mainly for the deities of Nippur, Ur, Uruk, and the other main cities of the empire, and for Enlil, king of gods, with his spouses and family.The Office of Puzriš-Dagan was built by King Šulgi in his 38th year according to his 39th-41st year names. It was in fact the Finance Ministry of the Dynasty, which managed and did the accounts for all of the tributes and other income of the empire, which consisted mainly of livestock and other animals, but also of gold, silver, and other income. The dating of the texts is according to year names, month names, and the lunar days and cover a total of 43 years, but 23 years of the regular period after the office was established: 10 years of Šulgi (39-48th), 9 years each of Amar-Sin and Šu-Sin, and2 years ofIbbi-Sin. The calendar used in Puzriš-Dagan was that of Ur, but it started from the 2nd month of the latter, i.e., one month after the Ur calendar, but in Šu-Sin year 4, this calendar was synchronized with that of Ur. During his 45th-48th years, Šulgi used the Akiti calendar to start a year from the 7th month (Akiti) of Ur (6th of Puzriš-Dagan. After he died, however, his successor, Amar-Sin restored the traditional calendar.
The two earliest archives date to before the Animal Center’s establishment. These include that of Naram-ili, royal store-keeper and envoy (Š 26 viii-AS 3 iv) and that of the Small Distribution Office of Šulgi-simti, the Second Queen. The latter was responsible for taking animals for the queen, distributingfat rams and lamb for deities (mainly for the pair Belat-Suhnir and Belat-Darraban of the Diyala region), distributing birds and pigs for meat to Šulgi-simti and Šulgi, and transferring animals to the slaughterhouse and butchers of the palace for feeding slaves and other dependents. There were eight officials in the Institution of Queen Šulgi-simti (Š 28/i – 48/x; 21 years).
The texts attest that the head of the Animal Distribution Center, what I call the General Manager, was in charge of tribute-taking and distribution. In Šulgi’s reign, an individual named Nasa was managerfor 9 years; inAmar-Sin’s reign, the General Manager was Abba-sagg for 7 years, with Lugal-amar-kug, his brother, serving as temporary manager for AS 8 i-v. During Šu-Sin and Ibbi-Sin’s first and second years, In-ta-è-a was the manager for 11.5 years, and then the Center closed. The head of the FatOxen Section was Enlilla and his successor was Lugal-me-lám (ŠS 3 i-IS 1 xii). The Fat Sheep Section’shead was Nalu, “fattener of sheep” (Š 26 i-ŠS 6/i), and his successor is not known. The Tummal Temple Section was under En-diĝir-mu who served for Ninlil (Š36 -ŠS 1). The Dead Animal Section was under Ur-ni9-ĝár, cook (Š 40 -AS 3), and his successor was Šulgi-uru-mu(AS 3-IS 2). Theheads of Fat Livestock Section A in the Royal Farm were Ahuni (44/v-45, Lú-diĝirra II 46 i-AS3 xi), Ahu-Wer, Zubaga, and Puzur-Enlil(ŠS7 ii- IS 2 xii). TheFat Livestock Section B hadŠulgi-ayamu, Šu-Mama, Igi-Enlil-šè, Ur-dNanna, Ibni-Sin, Beli-ili, Du-ú-du andAba-Enlil-gin7. The Wild Animal Section was under Ahuni, Lú-diĝirra I andSugali. The Common SheepSection for kitchen was under Ur-kug-nun-na.
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