It may be said for most Mesopotamian excavations that information contained in cuneiform documents has not been fully used to give cultural elaboration to the bare outline derived from architecture, artefacts, etc. In the era of large expeditions, ending in the 1930's, texts would often be collected, turned over to an epigrapher, and published separately from the main archaeological report. Most often, the epigraphic volume would contain little or no information as to the find-spots of the texts. Likewise, tablets with dates would be, and still are being, published with the notation “seal impression” but without a drawing or photograph of the sealing, thus depriving archaeologists of precise means of determining style change, regional variations, etc. Economic texts and other mundane, relatively simple documents are routinely published in hand copy, sometimes transliterated, but almost never translated. In this way, many details of everyday life, reflecting economic and social systems, remain unavailable to the archaeologist or non-philologist who would find the information extremely interesting and useful. In short, once inscribed material is given over to the epigrapher, the archaeologist seldom refers to it again other than to date a particular level, or identify his site. Rarely are tablets studied by the archaeologist as the most valuable artefact in relation to other artefacts. Likewise, the epigrapher loses the valuable information on context in the interpretation of his texts.
In this article, I hope to demonstrate that much information can be derived by the archaeologist from texts even without detailed content analysis. He need know only the date, the subject or class, and the locus of tablets in order to have at hand an extremely useful tool to refine judgments made on the basis of pottery and other objects. Such information also allows checks to be made on archaeologically derived hypotheses dealing with the function of various parts of a site.