Online Sign Lists: CDLI

About the CDLI online sign list

The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) sees as one of its major goals the implementation of an online sign list for the early phases of cuneiform, ca. 3300-2000 B.C. This represents a period of often rapid development in both the graphic form, and the semantic or phonetic referents of individual signs of the cuneiform repertory that has, due to a number of reasons, not been well documented in the published Assyriological literature. D. O. Edzard’s article “Keilschrift” in Reallexikon der Assyriololgie vol. 5 (1976-1980) pp. 544-568 presents the currently most comprehensive overview of early cuneiform development, and includes pp. 557-558 a list of published photographs of 4th and 3rd millennium cuneiform tablets recommended by the author in any attempt to clarify graphic sign development of that period of writing.

Copies are offered of the major sign list publications for the various historical phases of early Babylonia as these are understood in the general Assyriological literature.

Currently available relevant publications:

Late Uruk period (Uruk IV-III), ca. 3300-3000 B.C.

  • A. Falkenstein, Archaische Texte aus Uruk ( Archaische Texte aus Uruk 1; Berlin-Leipzig 1936)
  • M. Green/H. J. Nissen, Zeichenliste der Archaischen Texte aus Uruk (ATU 2; Berlin 1987)
  • R. K. Englund/H. J. Nissen, Die lexikalischen Listen der archaischen Texte aus Uruk (ATU 3; Berlin 1992)
  • R. K. Englund/J.-P. Grégoire, The Proto-Cuneiform Texts from Jemdet Nasr (Materialien zu den frühen Schriftzeugnissen des Vorderen Orients 1; Berlin 1991)

Proto-Elamite period, ca. 3100-2900 B.C.

  • P. Meriggi, La scrittura proto-elamica. Parte IIa: Catalogo dei segni (Rome 1974)

Early Dynastic I period, ca. 2800-2700 B.C.

Early Dynastic IIIa (Fara) period, ca. 2600-2500 B.C.

Early Dynastic IIIb (Old Sumerian, pre-Sargonic Lagash) period, ca. 2500-2340 B.C.

Old Akkadian period, ca. 2340-2200 B.C. (no current sign list available)

Ur III (neo-Sumerian) period, ca. 2120-2000 B.C.


About Anja Murez

Tutor of Biblical Hebrew in Vienna, Austria. Once wrote an MA thesis on Qohelet and never lived to regret it. Culinary Arts Addict. Ignostic. Spinozist. Fan of Zen.

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