In the course of studying Old Babylonian tablets in Oxford, and particularly the Kish collection conserved in the Ashmolean Museum, N. Yoffee copied six tablets that had been presented in 1951 by St. John's College, Oxford, to the Ashmolean. Although the circumstances by which the texts were acquired are unknown, the documents themselves could easily be judged to have come from Dilbat (modern Dulaihim) on the strength of prosopographic comparisons with tablets known to have come from that site. Since S. G. Koshurnikov was preparing a comprehensive monograph on Dilbat in the Old Babylonian period, it was decided to present a brief co-operative exposition of the copies. More detailed remarks will be found in Koshurnikov's forthcoming monograph.
The history of Dilbat, on the Arahtum canal about 25 km S. of Babylon, is not surprisingly to be correlated with events occurring around its larger and more famous neighbours. Thus Dilbat was one of the towns caught up in the contest of power before the time of Sumu-la-’El in the early OB period. Although Sumu-abum claimed to control Dilbat, Alumbiumu, ruler of Marad-Kazallu, effected his own hegemony over the town in the early years of Sumu-la-’El (see notes to texts AM 1951: 2 and 6 below). In his establishment of a northern OB “core,” however, Sumu-la-’El brought Dilbat under his sway, not later than his twelfth year. Tablets from Dilbat that date to these early years are entirely those of family archives, yet these affairs reflect the political circumstances of the time. In the best attested group of documents, Ili-amranni (perhaps originally from Marad, see below) and his son Iddin-Lagamal gradually accumulate land in the time of uncertain political control.