Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

David Pretty

Committee Member

Gregory Crider

Committee Member

Peter Judge


Sumer, Sumerian, Magoffin, Cuneiform, Ur, Archaeology


This thesis contains a history of Sumer from the earliest known periods through the fall of the Third Dynasty of Ur, a detailed investigation into the lives and careers of Sumerian scribes, a history of modern Mesopotamian archaeology, and the results of eighteen months' research into the cuneiform tablet component of the Magoffin Collection at the Columbia Museum of Art. It finds that the latter documents are Sumerian in origin, with most published during the late twenty-first and early twentieth centuries BCE, based on assessments from cuneiform specialists at institutions across the United States. It includes the first full translation of a Magoffin tablet since their donation to the Columbia Museum, prepared by Dr. Robert Englund of UCLA.