The so-called “Iltani archive” is not only one of the few cuneiform archives we know which belonged to a woman, but also so far the only larger group of Old Babylonian texts from northern Mesopotamia which may essentially date to a period after the sack of Mari, when Babylon gained ascendancy in the north, and is therefore of considerable interest. In spite of the excellent editio princeps of the archive and admirable efforts of its reviewers, many difficulties of interpretation, even with regard to quite basic issues, persist, mainly because the letters in Iltani's archive are too short and cursive to permit a coherent reconstruction of its historical context. Building on previous analyses this paper discusses possible solutions to some of these difficulties, and although necessarily of a tentative character, the following brief remarks may hopefully further the understanding of this interesting archive and its setting.
With its more than 200 texts the Iltani archive is by far the largest group among the Old Babylonian texts found at Rimah. The archive consists of 151 letters, 50 administrative texts, 1 school text and a few fragments found in two rooms, VI and XIV, of the phase 3b palace.
As shown by her seal inscription Iltani was a daughter of Samu-Addu, king of Karana in the time of the “Assyrian interregnum” at Mari, and married to the diviner Aqba-Hammu, known from the Mari texts to have been a highly placed official under Aškur-Addu, king of Karana during the latter part of Zimri-Lim's reign, and presumably Iltani's brother. It is generally agreed that her archive must date mainly after the fall of Mari, at a time when Hammurapi of Babylon had extended his power over much of Upper Mesopotamia, and Aqba-Hammu ruled Karana as a vassal of Babylon. Zimri-Lim and Aškur-Addu are never mentioned in the texts, Aqba-Hammu, in one of his two extant seal inscriptions declared himself “servant of Hammurapi” and brought tribute to Babylon, local scribes in the Karana area used “southern” styles, and finally many of the letters in the archive generally show quite clearly that the Sinjar area now was linked with Southern Mesopotamia.