Some six months ago Mr. A. D. van Assendelft de Coningh presented the Leiden library with a set of seven waxen tablets, forming a small book. They were acquired at Palmyra in 1881 by his brother, Mr. H. van Assendelft de Coningh, officer in the Royal Dutch Navy. Mr. H. van Assendelft de Coningh died soon after his return to his country; we know, however, that the tablets were found at Palmyra from a fragment of a letter which he wrote some days before his death. It runs as follows: ‘During my brief visit to Palmyra I acquired these wooden tablets.’ The tablets came into the possession of Mr. A. D. van Assendelft de Coningb and were put aside with other souvenirs of his brother's travels. They happened to be shown to me and I easily saw that they contained Greek writing. The tablets were then presented to the Leiden library, the principal librarian of which, Dr. W. N. du Rieu, gave them the name of Tabulae ceratae graecae Assendelftianae, in honour of the generous giver and his deceased brother.
The seven tablets are covered with writing on both sides, except the first one, of which the recto-side is plain wood. Of the others the wooden surface is sunk to a slight depth, leaving a raised frame at the edges; they are of beech-wood, like most waxen tablets preserved in the British Museum. The wood is coated with wax of a very dark colour, probably due to pitch being added to the wax in order to prevent melting and to make the writing clearly visible. They measure 14·5 by 12 cm. (5·7 by 4·7 inches).