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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Babylonokia (also Babylon-Nokia, Alien-Mobile, and Cuneiform Mobile Phone) is a 2012 artwork[1] by Karl Weingärtner in the form of a clay tablet shaped like a mobile phone, its keys and screen showing cuneiform script.

Weingärtner created the work to represent the evolution of information transfer from the ancient world to the present.[2] Fringe scientists and pseudoarchaeology proponents[3] subsequently misrepresented a photograph of the artwork as showing an 800-year-old archaeological find;[1] that story was popularised in a video on the YouTube channel Paranormal Crucible[4] and led to the object being reported by some press sources as a mystery.[5]


Weingärtner created the phone-styled clay tablet with cuneiform signs as a reaction to an exhibition at the Museum for Communication in Berlin titled From the Cuneiform to the SMS: Communication Once and Today, as well as the negative, global effects of information technology.[2] Cuneiform signals the beginning of written records of information.

The fact that it is a clay copy of what appears to be an Ericsson S868 mobile phone,[6] a model from the 1990s, had no meaning for the artist, who was using it as a metaphor for mobile devices in general.[3]

The work of art is unique and is kept by the artist in a special depot. It is available on request as a loan for museums and exhibitions. It is made from clay, weighs 91 grams (3¼ oz), and measures approximately 13.5 by 6.5 by 0.8 centimetres (5.31 by 2.56 by 0.31 in).[citation needed]


Weingärtner posted a photo of the image on Facebook as part of a sale of his work,[4] and a Facebook commenter coined the name "BabyloNokia".[4] Three years later, the image was posted to the Conspiracy Club website with the headline "800-Year-Old Mobile Phone Found In Austria? Check This Out."[4] The Express reposted Weingärtner's photo without attribution and claimed that the artifact had been dated to the 13th century BCE.[4]

Speaking about the image's use by fringe websites and the press, Weingärtner said "The photo was used without my knowledge and without my consent. [...] It’s not what I wanted. I do not believe in UFOs and I do not believe in aliens."[4]


  1. ^ a b Evon, Dan. "FALSE: 800-Year-Old Alien Cellphone Found". snopes. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Angeblich "Alien-Handy" in Österreich entdeckt -". 31 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Centuries Old Cell-Phone Artifact Presents Modern Day Mystery". 19 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Moye, David (11 January 2016). "Ancient Babylonian Cellphone Isn't Ancient, Babylonian Or A Phone". HuffPost. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Is this an 800-year-old mobile phone? (Video) - Canada Journal - News of the World".
  6. ^ Martin, Aaron. "Archeologists Discover 800-Year-Old Cell Phone Tablet-Fiction!". Retrieved 3 January 2017.

This page was last edited on 8 September 2022, at 20:40
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