Used by Sumerians and other Mesopotamian cultures beginning in the third millennium BC, clay nails, also referred to as dedication or foundation nails, cones, or pegs, were cone-shaped nails made of clay, inscribed with cuneiform, baked, and stuck into the mud-brick walls to serve as evidence that the temple or building was the divine property of the god to whom it was dedicated.
Additionally, uninscribed clay cones painted in different colors were used by Sumerians to create decorative mosaic patterns on walls and pillars of buildings, which also offered some protection against weathering.
Foundation nail examples
As some of the oldest 'documents' in history, the sponsor, responsible for the construction, or dedication of a work, some of the oldest histories, and/or intrigues are recorded. (Boasting sometimes led to historical inaccuracies, or mistatements of facts.)
- Edward Chiera (1938). George G. Cameron, ed. They Wrote on Clay. Babylonian Tablets Speak Today. University of Chicago Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-226-10425-6.
- "Cone mosaic excavated at the "Columned Hall," Uruk, Mesopotamia". Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
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