The British Museum

Long-known Mesopotamian literary references indicated the use of waxed writing tablets in the first millennium B.C.—a conclusion confirmed in 1953 by the discovery of late-eighth-century B.C. writing boards at Nimrud, in northern Iraq. (The Uluburun example suggests that such tablets were known in the second millennium, at the time of Hittite activities in the region.) Several Assyrian reliefs, such as this seventh-century B.C. example from the Southwest Palace at Nineveh, show two scribes recording booty—with one scribe writing on a scroll and the other writing on a hinged writing board. For armies on the move, small waxed diptychs would have been much easier to use than cumbersome clay tablets.