This image is done in bas-relief on basalt, and the text completely covers the bottom portion with the laws written in cuneiform script. The text contains a list of crimes and their various punishments, as well as settlements for common disputes and guidelines for citizens' conduct. The Hammurabi Code does not provide opportunity for explanation or excuses, though it does imply one's right to present evidence. The stele was openly displayed for all to see; thus, no man could plead ignorance of the law as an excuse. Scholars, however, presume that few people could read in that era, as literacy was primarily the domain of scribes.