Tell El-Amarna Tablets

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tell El-Amarna Tablets


(also Amarna tablets or Amarna letters), the name used in scholarly literature for a number of clay tablets dating from the time of the Egyptian pharaohs of the 18th dynasty. The tablets were discovered in 1887 in Tell el-Amarna by inhabitants of the area.

The Tell el-Amarna tablets contain some diplomatic correspondence on cuneiform tablets, mainly in the Accadian language, addressed to the pharaohs Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV by the kings of Mitanni, Assyria, Babylonia, and other countries and by minor Syrian and Palestinian rulers subject to Egypt. The tablets are a most important source for the history of Egypt and other Near Eastern countries in the second half of the 15th and early 14th centuries B.C. Most of the tablets—194 of them—are preserved in Berlin, the German Democratic Republic; the rest are in the British Museum, the Egyptian Museum, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Louvre, the State Hermitage Museum, and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.


Knudtzon, J. Die El-Amarna-Tafeln, vols. 1–2. Leipzig, 1908–15.
The Tell El-Amarna Tablets, vols. 1–2. Edited by S. A. B. Mercer. Toronto, 1939.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.