§1. The sign N_{16} is scarcely attested in the archaic texts, limited to only the Uruk III/JN period. Until recently, only three attestations were available,[1] all in tablets coming from Uruk and in fragmentary contexts. A few more tablets in which the sign occurs are now available and in much better preserved condition, albeit of uncertain provenance. The scope of the following analysis is to deduce and assess the meaning of this sign.
§2.1. A text that has recently been made available,[2] an almost complete but damaged tablet with an account of barley destined as food (GU_{7}), includes the sign N_{16} in a partially broken context. The transliteration of the relevant section is provided in the following.[3]

O0105a

˹6N_{14}˺ 3N_{1} 3N_{39a} ˹1N_{24} 1N_{28}˺ [...]


O0105b1

˹6N_{14}˺ 1N_{24} 1N_{28} ˹ŠU˺ UR_{5a}


O0105b2

˹3N_{1}˺ 1N_{16} TAR_{a}

§2.2. Case O0105a registers the total of the quantity of barley listed in case O0105b1, qualified as ŠU UR_{5a}, and the quantity reported in case O0105b2, qualified as “tribute” (TAR_{a}). Such “tribute” is usually equivalent to 10% of the value of the relevant transaction (case O0105b1). In terms of N_{1} = “barig,”[4] we have the following equivalence:
39.75 (total) = 36.15 (˹ŠU˺ UR_{5a}) + 3 +1N_{16} (TAR_{a})
which, by calculation, would provide for 1N_{16} the value 0.6 (= 39.75  (36.15 + 3)). Since such a quantity is always written 3N_{39a}, as in case O0105a, we have to assume a scribal error in case O0105b2, which should be corrected to:
˹3N_{1}˺ <3N_{39a}> 1N_{16} TAR_{a},
i.e., in terms of barig, equivalent to 3.6+1N_{16}.
§2.3. Considering that 10% of the quantity in case O0105b1 is

^{1}/_{10} × (˹6N_{14}˺ 1N_{24} 1N_{28})



= ^{1}/_{10} × 36.15



= 3.615 (barig),

it would follow that
§2.4. As a consequence, the total reported in case O0105a should be restored as
˹6N_{14}˺ 3N_{1} 3N_{39a} ˹1N_{24} 1N_{28}˺ [1N_{16}].
Such calculations will be reviewed below by taking into account the correct value of N_{16}, as resulting from the following textual analysis.
§3.1. CUNES 5006203,[5]
a well preserved tablet with an account of beer for five months, registers
the results of calculations similar to those recorded in the tablet MS
4499. The transliteration of the obverse (the reverse is uninscribed)
reads as follows:
 O0101  1N_{28} ŠEa U_{4}.1N_{57} KAŠ 
 O0102a  1N_{1} 3N_{39a} 1N_{29a} 1N_{16} U_{4}x1N_{1} KAŠ 
 O0102b1  1N_{1} 2N_{39a} 1N_{24} U_{4}x1N_{1} 
 O0102b2  1N_{24} 1N_{29a} 1N_{16} TAR_{a} 
 O0103  1N_{14} 2N_{1} 1N_{39a} 1N_{24} U_{4}x5N_{1} KAŠ 
 O0104  ABa KAŠ 
§3.2. The quantity recorded in case O0101 is a daily ration of beer equivalent to ^{1}/_{20} (barig) of barley, which is calculated in case O0102b1 over a period of one month (U_{4}x1N_{1})[6]:
 1N_{1} 2N_{39a} 1N_{24}  = 30 (days) × 1N_{28} 
  = 30 × 0.05 (barig) 
  = 1.5 (barig) 
§3.3. Case O0102b2 records the “tribute” (TAR_{a}), equivalent to 10% of the quantity registered in the preceding case O0102b1:
 ^{1}/_{10} × (1N_{1} 2N_{39a} 1N_{24}) 
  = ^{1}/_{10} × 1.5 
  = 0.15 (barig) 
  = 1N_{24} 1N_{29a} 1N_{16} 
  = 0.1 + 0.04 + 0.01 
  = ^{1}/_{10} + ^{1}/_{25} + ^{1}/_{100} 
§3.4. It follows that 1N_{16} has the value ^{1}/_{100} “barig.” Consequently, the quantity reported in case O0102a, being the sum of the quantities in cases O0102b1 and O0102b2, results, in terms of barig, in
1N_{1} 3N_{39a} 1N_{29a} 1N_{16} = 1.65 (barig)
§3.5. Obviously, such a numerical value for the sign 1N_{16} is much more suitable than the value (0.015) calculated in the previous paragraph, and consequently it shall be assumed that in tablet MS 4499 the value of the “tribute” was rounded off to 3.61 (barig). It follows that the total quantity reported in case O0105a should read
 ˹6N_{14}˺ 3N_{1} 3N_{39a} ˹1N_{24} 1N_{28}˺ [1N_{16}] 
  = 36 + 3 + 0.6 + 0.1 + 0.04 + [0.01] 
  = 39.75 (barig) 
§4.1. The sign N_{16} occurs in two other archaic
tablets of the Cornell University Collection, one of which (CUNES 5006217)
brings additional evidence for the value of N_{16} (^{1}/_{100})
obtained above. The other tablet, CUNES 5110007,[7]
an account of grain groats, registers in case O0102 an amount of groats
(1N_{1} 1N_{24} ˹1N_{16}? HIgunû_{a}˺
ERIN E_{2a} UR_{2}), with the possible occurrence of the sign N_{16},[8]
the value of which, however, cannot be determined from the context.
§4.2. CUNES 5006217,[9]
a damaged tablet with a mixed account of cereal producs (bread and beer),
records a quantity (of bread?), measured in the numerical notation N_{51},
together with the corresponding amount of grain groats. The relevant section
reads as follows:

R0302a

2N_{51} [...] 1N_{16}


R0302b

˹2N_{1} 2N_{39a}˺ HIgunû_{a},

where 1N_{16} in case R0302a is to be regarded as the reference value for the accounted product.[10] The following equivalences confirm the value ^{1}/_{100} for the sign 1N_{16}, which represents the equivalent amount of grain groats for a single unit of a small cereal product, probably bread.[11] Thus

(R0302a) 2N_{51} [...] 1N_{16}



= 240 [breads ?] × ^{1}/_{100} (barig each)

which, in terms of barig, gives

(R0302b) ˹2N_{1} 2N_{39a}˺ HIgunû_{a}



= 2.4 (barig of) grain groats

§5. In conclusion, there is sufficient textual evidence available to demonstrate the numerical value of the sign N_{16}, representing the smallest fraction (^{1}/_{100}) of the unity of capacity barig currently known. With such considerations in mind, it is surely of interest to analyze in greater detail the text W 21208,8+. The tablet is a lexical list dealing with cereal products that registers in sequence several kinds of bread, following apparently two criteria. These are typology and size of the products. In the first column, only partially preserved, there are at least three numerical notations, which could denote the size of some standard type of bread, probably by measuring the relevant quantity of cereals needed for their production. It is noteworthy that 1N_{16} is followed by 1N_{17}, for which a value of ^{1}/_{200} (barig), corresponding to ^{1}/_{8} of a liter, seems logically the most appropriate. Since there are presently no other occurrences of the sign N_{17} in the known archaic tablets, however, the proposed value must be considered hypothetical for the time being, awaiting future textual evidence for its confirmation.