FOUNDATION DEPOSITS
   Whenever a major public building, such as a temple or a palace, was constructed or substantially renovated, it required not only careful planning and divine approvals (see DIVINATION), but also a variety of rituals to endow the construction with durability. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of foundation rites in numerous buildings, and cuneiform sources describe the procedures involved. The practice also allowed rulers who organized and financed such costly undertakings to perpetuate their names by having written records interred within the foundation levels, at first in the form of inscribed clay pegs, then on tablets, sometimes made of stone or precious metals. These remains have proved most helpful to identify the name, function, and date of particular buildings, apart from any other historical information they may contain.
   See also ARCHITECTURE.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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