What is Proto-Elamite?

The first indigenous writing system from Iran is called proto-Elamite, it was long thought of as a precursor to a (hypothetical) indigenous Elamite writing system. Proto-Elamite, as well as Linear-Elamite, remains largely un-deciphered. At present it is idle speculation to postulate a relationship between the two writing systems.

A majority of the extant tablets originate from Susa in southwestern Iran.

Tablets have also been found at the following locations across Iran:

Malyan (more than 30 tablets, 22 published)

Tepe Yahya (27 tablets)

Sialk (23 tablets)

Ghazir (one tablet)

Ozbaki (one tablet)

Shahr-i-Shokhta (one tablet)

Recently, a large number of proto-Elamite tablets have been found at Tepe Sofalin close to Teheran Tepe Sofalin. Some of these have been made available on the CDLI (11 tablets)

None of the inscribed objects from Choga Mish or Hissar can be verified as proto-Elamite, the tablets from Ghazir and Choga Mish are Uruk IV style or numerical tablets, whereas the Hissar object cannot be classified at present. The majority of the Sialk tablets are also not proto-Elamite strictly speaking, but belong to the period of close contact between Mesopotamia and Iran, presumably corresponding to Uruk V - IV.

|Map of Iranian sites with early writing

proto-elamite_what_is.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/28 09:03 by dahl
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