It’s time for me to practice Cuneiform, a 5,000-year-old writing form that’s considered to be the first known. I’m intimidated and intrigued; I have watched all the tutorials and it looks so fun, even meditative.
I try to picture an ancient Mesopotamian scribe at work. A beginning scribe could be as young as 7 years old, whereas I am 37. An ancient scribe would likely use a reed sourced from a marsh in Iraq and expertly cut down to the ideal shape. I am using a square wooden dowel bought on the internet. An ancient scribe would work in clay and I am working with cookie dough (ancient history never tasted so good).
One thing we have in common is that we are both practicing on round, handheld tablets. A beginning scribe might impress lines across the tablet as guides while they practice making Cuneiform marks, like on the sheets of lined paper I used to practice my letters in first grade.
Unlike clay, my cookie tablets won’t last for 5,000 years. They may not even last a day because they are so good! The cookies taste delicious and the spices give them a unique flavor. Ginger, all-spice, cinnamon, and cardamom are all spices used in Middle Eastern cooking, so with every bite, I am reminded of where Cuneiform originated and feel connected to the past.
Follow our recipe to make Cuneiform Cookies and get to work. Who knows? You may even be inspired to re-create the stunning, elaborate ancient text like the Tablet with a Bilingual Dictionary from King Ashurbanipal’s Library
This activity complements the exhibition Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins.