Works For Me: 5,000 Year Old Cuniform Paystub Shows Workers Paid In Beer

June 28, 2016


This is a 5,000 year old cuniform paystub tablet from the Mesopotamian city of Uruk (an area now in modern Iran) that indicates workers getting paid in beer. Getting paid in beer is cool and all, but I don't want to get paid ENTIRELY in beer. How about half beer, a quarter Slim Jims, and a quarter chips? Oh -- and another third ice cream. "That doesn't add up." Maybe I worked overtime.

Writing in New Scientist, Alison George explains what's written on the 5,000-year-old tablet: "We can see a human head eating from a bowl, meaning 'ration,' and a conical vessel, meaning 'beer.' Scattered around are scratches recording the amount of beer for a particular worker." Beer wages were by no means limited to Mesopotamia. In ancient Egypt, there are records of people receiving beer for their work--roughly 4 to 5 liters per day for people building the pyramids.

You know what I really want to get paid in? "Magic beans?" Exactly. And you know what I'm going to do with them? "Trade them to the witch that lives in the swamp for an amulet you need for a quest?" But not just any amulet! "The Amulet Of Sacred Passage." And what is that gonna get me? "Past the two big-tittied Sphinx ladies with the laser eyes in The Neverending Story?" Come on, think, this is real life we're talking about not some kid's movie.

Thanks to DieselNuts, who wants to get paid in diesel fuel, new tires and car washes only.

  • Xaghce

    Its cuneiform, with an E. You should check your spelling and update GW!

  • MustacheHam

    hmm...interesting, but a fair trade for a job well done. Like inviting friends over to help move and mostly the compensation is a cool one.

    Also...why do I smell peanut butter when looking at the photo?

  • Deksam

    The alphabet and numbers on paper is definitely the only way to go.

  • Pat Patrix

    Beer would have been worth a lot back then as it was a safe, filling, nutricious liquid that wouldn't make you shit yourself to death from water-born illness.

  • Captain Matticus, LP Inc.
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