The ceremonial dedication of new sacred or public buildings dates back to ancient times. Now on display at the Louvre, two terra-cotta cylinders covered with cuneiform writing were recovered from the ruins of the city of Lagesh in what was southern Babylonia. From the cuneiform, archaeologists concluded that these cylinders, deposited in the foundation, marked the construction of a temple built around 3000 B.C. No one knows exactly when the ceremonial laying of a cornerstone began to celebrate the birth of a building. According to one theory, the custom emerged in the 13th to 15th centuries in Britain, when stonemasons constructed many Gothic churches and cathedrals. By the end of the 16th century, demand for the stonemasons' craft was in decline. But guild membership did not dwindle: Fascinated by the organization's secrecy and exclusivity, aristocrats and men of education began seeking admission to the guild. In fact, masonry became so fashionable that in the 17th century, nonmasons--called "accepted" or "speculative" masons--came to outnumber working stonemasons. Thus evolved the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, also known as Freemasons, an international organization that is only historically and symbolically linked to the building trades.