Douglas Garbutt

Publication Date



The article draws attention to the vast archive of accounting records from ancient Mesopotamia available to historians, and the advances in Assyriology which have taken place since the revival of interest in the origins of recorded history. Understanding of the materials has been advanced, in part, by specialists from other fields, such as mathematics and astronomy, yet accounting historians do not seem to have been attracted to the problems of interpreting the elegantly simple records and the societal context within which they were made and used. To exemplify the challenges facing the accounting historian, the author considers evidence on the Dreham archive, the temple as a financial institution, and the use of loans, interest and banking. Finally, the author suggests that the records of Ancient Mesopotamia offer a rich field of research in accounting history.



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