Why in Ancient Times Clay Tablets Were Used to Record Details?

In ancient times, before the invention of paper, people used different materials to record details. One of the most popular materials was clay tablets.

These tablets were made from clay and were used to write various texts such as legal documents, religious texts, and literature. Let’s take a closer look at why clay tablets were so widely used in ancient times.

1. Durability

Clay tablets were incredibly durable and could last for thousands of years if they were properly stored. Unlike paper, which can easily be destroyed by fire, water or insects, clay tablets are resistant to all these elements. This made them ideal for long-term storage of important information.

2. Easy to Write On

Clay tablets were easy to write on using a stylus or reed pen. Scribes would press the stylus into the soft clay to create wedge-shaped marks called cuneiform script. Once the tablet was dry, it would be fired in a kiln which would harden the clay and make it more permanent.

3. Multiple Copies

Clay tablets could be easily duplicated by making impressions on wet clay with another tablet or cylinder seal. This allowed multiple copies of important documents to be created quickly and efficiently.

4. Portability

Clay tablets were relatively small and lightweight which made them easy to transport over long distances. This was especially important for traders who needed to keep records of their transactions while on the move.

5. Cultural Significance

The use of clay tablets was not just practical but also had cultural significance in ancient times. In many civilizations such as Sumeria, Babylon, and Assyria, writing was considered a sacred art form that was reserved for scribes who were highly respected members of society.


In conclusion, clay tablets were used in ancient times because they were durable, easy to write on, could be duplicated, were portable and had cultural significance. They allowed important information to be recorded and preserved for future generations. While paper has largely replaced clay tablets in modern times, the legacy of these ancient artifacts lives on in museums and archaeological sites around the world.