Perforated cylinder in baked clay, commemorating the building works conducted by King Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 B.C.) in the temple complex of the city of Marad, modern Tell Wannat es-Sadun, situated to the south of Baghdad. The temple was named Eigikalamma, “the temple, eye of the country” and was dedicated to Lugal-Marada, hypostasis of the god Ninurta.
As the inscription explains, during his works Nebuchadnezzar II rediscovered the deposit of the foundation laid by the Akkadian king Narām-Sîn (2254-2218 B.C.), which was reintegrated into the new foundation along with the new deposits of the Neo-Babylonian king. Respect for and protection of traces of the past were typical features of the Mesopotamian forma mentis.
As suggested by the presence of a hollow part inside the cylinder, it was probably inserted onto a support and used as a decorative architectural element, imbued with strong ideological meaning. Alternatively, the cylinders could also be buried in the deposits in the foundations of the building, thus assuming an important apotropaic function.