Numbers and Metrology in CDLI Corpora

This page gives basic guidelines for entering numbers and metrological transliterations for CDLI.

We are preparing an exhaustive account of numbers and metrology, a preliminary version of part of which is available for download (pdf 120KB) [/doc/downloads/numref.pdf].

We are aware of the fact that this is a preliminary version and is restricted to more or less uncontroversial numerical/metrological systems of the Ur III period; further, that while restricted, the proposal does include a paradigmatic completeness, particularly of the smaller units of the systems, that is not covered by our text corpus. At the same time, complex fractions of the NINDA2×SIGNS type, and the igi-n-gal2 complex, are not complete.

We are thankful for any advice and corrections of mistakes or omissions you might offer us in this, and subsequent proposals that will deal with other, and earlier 4th and 3rd millennium systems.


All numbers are given with digits or a fraction followed by a qualifier in parenthesis, e.g., 1(disz). A full list of the allowable forms is given in the reference document.

Large Numbers Transliterated According to Their Graphemes

Numerical notations are to be transliterated in the form n(sign1) n(sign2) etc., for instance "3(gesz2) 5(u) 7(disz) gurusz" for "180 + 50 + 7 workmen" or "6(bur3) 2(esze3) 4(iku) 1/4(iku)" GAN2" for "6 bur 2 esze 4 1/4 iku field."


Note that for the time being we will transliterate Ugunu/UxKASKAL ("10 bur") with "bur'u" in avoidance of either buru (assigned to BUR by the sign lists) or burux (requiring description in parentheses that would unnecessarily complicate perl scripting); in like manner, szar'u for SZAR2xU, although this sign is listed with the value szaru by Borger.


A preliminary reference paper is available as a PDF [120k] [/downloads/numref.pdf].

Systems Included in the Reference Tables

Systems on the TODO list

Related documentation

23 Aug 2014 osc at oracc dot org

Steve Tinney

Steve Tinney, 'Numbers and Metrology in CDLI Corpora', Oracc: The Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus, Oracc, 2014 []

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