Some new Linear Elamite inscriptions

  • Michael Mäder


The Linear Elamite writing system was used in the late 3rd millennium in ancient Iran.

The underlying language is supposed to be Elamite – an isolate language otherwise known from cuneiform sources. 40 to 60% of the Elamite words and morphemes are decoded.

In early 2016, about ten new inscriptions and fragments were presented at the University of Hamedan, Iran. They are now in the Mahboubian Gallery. Some of these new texts are the longest ones ever found, depicting up to 200 signs.

In the  past months, the Deciphering Crew at the Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Bern, has made drawings of the so far unpublished inscriptions and compiled a sign catalogue.

Preliminary results show that  fragments from Gonur and Altyn Depe formerly tagged as “Linear Elamite”  do not belong to the Linear Elamite text corpus.

The Deciphering Project is hoping to collaborate with scholars of different fields. The web page is an open source project.


Hinz, Walther (1962): Zur Entzifferung der elamischen Strichschrift. Iranica Antiqua 2. S. 1-21.
Koch, Heidemarie (2007): Frauen und Schlangen. Die geheimnisvolle Kultur der Elamer in Alt-Iran. Darmstadt.
Mahboubian, Houshang (2004): Elam: art and civilization of ancient Iran, 3000-2000. London.
Meriggi, Piero (1971): La scrittura proto-elamica. Roma.
How to Cite
Mäder, M. (2017). Some new Linear Elamite inscriptions. BAF-Online: Proceedings of the Berner Altorientalisches Forum, 1.
Panel 1: Reconstructing missing evidence