**Etched with strange pictograms, lines and wedge-shaped markings, they lay buried in the dusty desert earth of Iraq for thousands of years. The clay tablets left by the ancient Sumerians around 5,000 years ago provide what are thought to be the earliest written record of a long dead people.
Although it took decades for archaeologists to decipher the mysterious language preserved on the slabs, they have provided glimpses of what life was like at the dawn of civilisation…**
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