Skip to main content

Laying the foundations of a house

K 3664+ obv. 1-15 and 17-21 (Alternate Title)

If you are laying the foundations of a man’s house, at sun[rise] you set up a basin for holy water. Into the basin for holy water you throw silver, [gold], juniper, syrup, ghee and pressed oil. You arrange a ritual arrangement for Ea, Shamash and Asalluhi and [perform] a sacrifice. You set up an adagurru-container, you arrange one ritual arrangement for the god (variant: king). You sacrifice a [ram] over the foundation trench; syrup, beer, wine, oil and oil of first quality you libate o[ver the foundation] and [do you pour] into the foundations.
Kulla (the brick god), lord of foundation and wall – oh you! NN, son of NN, who is building this house, by [your] command, by your word may he prosper! Because you are merciful, I have turned [to you], because you are merciful, I seek [you]! The house he has built may last for a long time. This evil of the house [...], you [avert] death, loss and evil deed from this house. At your sublime command, which cannot be altered, and by your firm consent, which cannot be changed, may NN, son of NN, live, prosper and sing your praises.
(Ritual Instruction)
(...) You deposit arsuppu-grain, garden-pea, wheat, grain at its highest growth, emmer, seed of all kinds, silver, gold, carnelian, lapis lazuli, juniper, [juniper] seed, the fragrant plant sumlalu, fragrant balluku-wood, „sweet reed", a white cloth, a black cloth, a linen cloth and a [red] cloth under the foundations and go away. The evil of the house is removed, the said house will obtain a protective deity and a protective genius, the proprietor of the said house will grow old.

Explanatory Notes:  This ritual texts offers an explanation as to how and why various substances can be as a deposit in the foundation trenches of excavated building. <br />During the performance of the ritual, an incantation was addressed to Kulla, the brick god and divine builder. Kulla was a son of Enki/Ea and his wife Damgalnunna/Damkina. Kulla supervised the building process from the beginnings until completion and was then sent away.<br />The phrase „you deposit under the foundation“ means that the various substances were scattered in the foundation trenches before the foundations were laid or that they were scattered between the gaps of the first layer of bricks.<br />
Publication:  C. Ambos, Mesopotamische Baurituale aus dem 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr., 2004, p. 136f. (in German)
Source:  R. Borger, Symbolae Biblicae et Mesopotamicae F.M.Th. de Liagre Böhl dedicatae, 1973, p. 53-55
Date:  1st millennium BC
Language:  Akkadian
Medium:  clay tablet
Find Spot:  Niniveh
See all in category Ritual