Has A New Method Been Discovered To Finally Read 5,000 Year Old Linear Elamite?

    In our book From Abram To Abraham we talk about the Elamite culture and its 5,000 year old Proto-Elamite language. This ancient language is as old –or older– than Sumerian. Much of the earliest Elamite writings had not been translated because no one knew how to read either Proto or Linear Elamite. Perhaps that has changed. 


    Chedorlaomer was an Elamite king identified in Genesis 14.  Elamite kings are also named on the Sumerian King List. Their capital was Susa located about 160 miles east of the Tigris River in the country we know as Iran. These early writings date to the time of these kings. Soon we may be able to learn more about them.


    Recently a new method has been discovered to read Linear Elamite, according to Professor Francois Desset. The discovery was announced in a paper published in the German version of the Journal of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology. Less than fifty Linear Elamite examples have been found which makes the process more difficult. But a set of silver cups proved to be the key to deciphering the writing. The vessels date to around 2000 BC and were able to be compared to similar cups engraved with Mesopotamian cuneiform.


    The team was able to identify seventy-two symbols. They think there are about a 110. Hopefully, their discovery will hold up under scrutiny, and we can learn more about the early Elamite kingdom.


    Susa is next to the modern city of Shush in Iran. Susa/ Shush or Shushan is also the setting for the book of Esther, but the culture had become the First Persian Empire by then.


     If you would like to learn more about Chedorlaomer and the Sumerian King List, check out our book From Abram To Abraham here. We've written a study guide to go with the book for those who would like to use it for homeschooling or small group study.

    Image by Nimi Diffa courtesy of Unsplash


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