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Martine had just celebrated her eighth birthday when ISIS fighters in white trucks showed up in her village, Xanasour, on Aug. They captured her mother, two sisters, and a brother on an exceptionally hot day.
Militants caravanned them town to town before Martine was “sold” to an Iraqi fighter in his 40s, a married man with four children.
"We tried to figure out where the tablet is now, [but] I don't know," Wasserman said.
He added that the tablet is small and not very impressive-looking, something that a looter may take a pass on, "I very much hope that it is still there," Wasserman said.
[10 Battles for the Control of Iraq]Political humor Some of the decoded riddles are crude and sexual, while others are complex and metaphorical.
The translation, by Nathan Wasserman, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology, and Michael Streck, a professor with the Altorientalisches Institut at Universität Leipzig, is detailed in the most recent edition of the journal Iraq.
[In Photos: Ancient Riddles Decoded]Rare riddles The text was written in Akkadian, using cuneiform script.
It was a language commonly used by the Babylonians, along with other ancient kingdoms in the Middle East."This is a relatively rare genre — we don't have many riddles," Wasserman told Live Science in an interview, referring to riddles written in the Akkadian language.
At the time the tablet was written, more than 3,500 years ago, Babylon (shown here as seen in 1932) Babylon was one of the most important cities in southern Mesopotamia, controlling an empire in the region.
It's possible the writer of the tablet's riddles lived within this kingdom. Millennia before modern-day Americans made fun of their politicians or cracked crude jokes over a cold one, people in ancient Mesopotamia were doing much the same thing.