página CSIC
página CSIC <
Database of Neo-Sumerian Texts (BDTNS)
Información proyecto BDTNS


Sumerian Cuneiform Texts in the Abbey of Montserrat

The Abbey of Montserrat, near Barcelona, holds the largest collection of cuneiform inscriptions in Spain. It consists of some 1150 tablets and other artefacts, like bricks and cones, most of which were purchased in Iraq by Father Bonaventura Ubach between 1922 and 1923. His purpose was to provide the Biblical Museum of the Abbey with illustrative material from the Middle East.

       The most important section of this collection is represented by 768 tablets and other small fragments, all with administrative contents, written in Sumerian and dated to the Third Dynasty of Ur (or Ur III, ca. 2110-2004 B.C.). About half of these documents (388) were copied and published by Nikolaus Schneider in 1932 (Die Drehem- und Djohatexte im Kloster Montserrat (Barcelona) in Autographie und mit systematischen Wörterverzeichnissen. Analecta Orientalia 7. Rome 1932), and then were collated by Luigi Cagni in 1983 (Oriens Antiquus 22 [1983] 73-118).

       With the scope of revising all this material and publishing the remaining texts, in 1991 Manuel Molina initiated a three-year project funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (PB90-0031-C02-02). The main results of this project appeared in two books:

  1. M. Molina, Tablillas Administrativas Neosumerias del Museo de Montserrat. Copias Cuneiformes. Materiali per il Vocabolario Neosumerico 18. Rome: Bonsignori Editore, 1993 (42 pp. + CCLXIV pl.). ISSN 0390-4253.

  2. M. Molina, Tablillas Administrativas Neosumerias del Museo de Montserrat. Transliteraciones e Índices. Aula Orientalis Supplementa 11. Barcelona: AUSA, 1996 (483 pp.) [with an Appendix by H. Waetzoldt, “Katalog der Siegelabrollungen auf den neusumerischen Texten aus Montserrat”]. ISBN 84-88810-31-8.

The cataloguing data, transliterations and handcopies of these 768 Ur III tablets in the Abbey of Montserrat can now also be accessed through BDTNS link.*

       Other publications by M. Molina devoted to cuneiform inscriptions in the Abbey of Montserrat are the following:

  1. M. Molina, “Una mina de Naram-Sîn”. Aula Orientalis 7 (1989) 125-127.

  2. M. Molina, “Un bol inscrito del Museo de Montserrat (Barcelona)”. Aula Orientalis 8 (1990) 115-117.

  3. M. Molina and I. Márquez Rowe (eds.), Tabulae Montserratinae. Estudios de catalogación del Museo de Montserrat (Barcelona) dedicados al P. Guiu Camps con ocasión de su 80 cumpleaños. Aula Orientalis 15. Barcelona: AUSA, 1997 (296 pp.) ISSN 0212-5730.

  4. M. Molina, “Inscripciones reales conmemorativas neosumerias”, in Estudios G. Camps. Aula Orientalis 15. Barcelona 1997, pp. 63-67.

  5. M. Molina and B. Böck, “Textos y fragmentos literarios sumerios”, in Estudios G. Camps. Aula Orientalis 15. Barcelona 1997, pp. 33-41.

  6. I. Márquez Rowe and M. Molina, “Catálogo de textos cuneiformes publicados conservados en el Museo de Montserrat”, in Estudios G. Camps. Aula Orientalis 15. Barcelona 1997, pp. 11-20.

  7. M. Molina, “Lexical and Other School Tablets in the Montserrat Museum”, in S. Graziani (ed.), Studi sul Vicino Oriente Antico dedicati alla memoria di Luigi Cagni. Istituto Orientali di Napoli DSA, Series Minor LXI. Naples 2000, vol. II, pp. 751-764.

  8. I. Márquez Rowe and M. Molina, “Cuneiform Forgeries in the Museu Bíblic of Montserrat (Barcelona)”, in G. del Olmo Lete, L. Feliu and A. Millet (eds.), Šapal tibnim mû illaku. Studies Presented to Joaquín Sanmartín on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday. Aula Orientalis Supplementa 22. Barcelona 2006, pp. 289-301.


* Photos of the tablets, taken by the CDLI in 2013 with the cooperation of Ignacio Márquez Rowe and María Dolores Casero Chamorro (CSIC), have also been linked to BDTNS entries.


© 2002 Manuel Molina. Copyright and credits.

Funded by Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades

Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

C/Albasanz, 26-28. Madrid 28037 (ESPAÑA). TEL: +34 91 602 23 00 FAX: 91 602 29 71

Contact BDTNS