T. J. Meek, Old Akkadian, Sumerian and Cappadocian Texts from Nuzi, Excavations at Nuzi, Plate 93, Tablet 1

This is the oldest known map, dating from the period between c. 2360–2150 B.C., the so-called old Akkadian period. The tablet was found at Nuzi (the site was called Gasur in the old Akkadian period), which is about 400 miles east of Ebla.

Ancient Near Easterners were oriented toward the East, so the top of the map is east, the bottom west, the left side north and the right side south (the part on the right side covered with hatched lines has been broken off). The sign for west is clear at the bottom of the tablet. North is also clear on the left. Traces of the word for east can be seen at the top. South, of course, is broken off.

A river flows through the center of the map. It is fed by three streams on the left (south). The dotted lines on the far left may represent a sea or waves which feed the river. Another river flows from the bottom right (west) and joins the main stream at the upper right corner of the map.

The humps on the top (east) and bottom (west) represent mountains.

Cities are represented as circles, four of which may be seen on the map. The only city name which is clearly read. able is in the circle at lower left (on the west). It reads: “Settlement of the fortress of Ibla”.

The principal river is referred to as the “fructifier”.