Elamite scripts


The oldest Elamite script, known as Proto-Elamite, first appeared in about 3100 BC in Suse (Susa), the capital of Elam, in south-western Persia (modern Iran). The Proto-Elamite script is thought to have been developed from an early Sumerian script.

The Proto-Elamite script consists of about 1,000 signs and is therefore thought to be partly logographic. It has yet to be deciphered, and the language it represents is unknown.

Sample of the Proto-Elamite script

Old Elamite

Sample text in the Old Elamite script

Old Elamite was a syllabic script derived from Proto-Elamite and was used between about 2250 and 2220 BC, though was probably invented are an earlier date. Old Elamite has only been partially deciphered, mainly by Walter Hinz.

Old Elamite consisted of about 80 symbols and was written in vertical columns running from top to bottom and left to right.

A selection of Old Elamite symbols which have been deciphered:

Old Elamite

Elamite Cuneiform

The Elamite Cuneiform script was used from about 2500 BC to 331 AD and was adapted from Akkadian Cuneiform. The Elamite Cuneiform script consisted of about 130 symbols, far fewer than most other cuneiform scripts.


Sample text in Elamite cuneiform


Information about the Elamite Empire

Cuneiform scripts

Akkadian, Elamite, Hittite, Old Persian Cuneiform, Sumerian, Ugaritic

Undeciphered writing systems

Linear A, Indus/Harappa script, Phaistos Disc script, Proto-Elamite, Old Elamite, Rongo Rongo, Vinča script

Page last modified: 23.04.21


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