In 1978 a small archive of about twenty-five cuneiform tablets was discovered at the site of Tell Ali, which stands on the left bank of the Lower Zab more or less where travellers from Aššur to Nuzi and Arrapha would have crossed the river, some 42 km west of Kerkuk (Ismail 1982, 117). These tablets are now in the care of the Iraq Museum. We present here copies of almost all the texts by Dr Ismail, with her transliterations, alongside translations and commentary which are the joint work of the two authors.
Documentation of animal husbandry has been rather scarce among the Middle Assyrian archives hitherto recovered. A few texts have been published from Aššur (see Jacob 2003: KAJ 115; 225; 267; 97; WVDOG 94 73; VS 21 26), and some of the best evidence came from Tell Billa, ancient Šibaniba, north-east of Nineveh (Finkelstein 1953, especially Nos. 21 and 36). It is clear that the Durkatlimmu archives will soon provide much fresh evidence (see passages cited in Jakob 2003, 365 ff.). This small archive from Tell Ali is contemporary with the bulk of the Durkatlimmu texts, and resembles them in various respects. Small as it is, it conveys a clear picture of the Assyrian state's interest in animal husbandry as a source of meat for special occasions and of wool and goat-hair to meet the state's requirements for everyday textile production.