Babylonian model of a sheep's liver, 2050-1750 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This is a replica of a 6cm clay model sheep's liver dating from 2050-1750 BC, which was used for divination. Mesopotamian medicine laid great stres on divination, carried out by priests and seers who looked for signs in the stars, or in the organs of sacrificed animals, to tell them things about a patient's illnes. Wooden pegs were placed in the holes of the clay tablet to record features found in a sacrificed animal's liver. The priest or seer then used these features to predict the course of a patient's illnes.