Nebuchadnezzar Building Inscription

Collection ID





ca. 600 BC








4.5 × 2.7 × 1.7 in. (11.5 × 6.8 × 4.3 cm)

Exhibit Location

On View in The History of the Bible, In The Beginning

This small barrel cylinder commemorates the completion of a major public works project by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. In particular, he built a new wall along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River to improve the defenses of the city of Babylon. The object itself—along with dozens of duplicates—would have been inserted into small niches in the wall and then covered, never intended to be read by mortals.

Created in ca. 600 BC in Iraq. Acquired by 1969 by Elias S. David (1891-1969), New York;[1] Via death in 1969 to descendants; Purchased in June 2015 by David Sofer, London; Privately purchased in 2017 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2019 to The Signatry, under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Census records from New York indicate that Elias S. David arrived in the US in 1927 from "Mesopotamia" and listed his profession as "importer." It is likely that he brought his antiquities with him.

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