A cuneiform tablet dating to around 1950 bc describes residents of the Assyrian merchant colony of Kanesh, situated in what is now central Turkey, resolving conflicts by majority vote. This early example of a protodemocratic decision-making process is a sharp contrast with the consensus-based systems more commonly found in primitive societies, where “the restoration of social harmony is the primary goal,” notes Assyriologist Mogens Trolle Larsen. “This was clearly not a realistic aim for the Old Assyrian merchant society.”