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Writing systems

Examples of writing systems ("alphabets", hieroglyphs etc) from all over the world, visible in inscriptions or manuscripts.

Connected Sites

  • Ahwar of Southern Iraq the centralized control of resources and surplus which gave rise to the first writing system and administrative archives (nom file). The earliest texts known were found in Uruk.
  • Aksum Ezana Stone (written in Ge'ez (the ancient Ethiopian language), Sabaean (South Arabian) and Greek) Link
  • Al-Hijr From the Advisory body evaluation "Epigraphic traces of the pre-Nabataean period remain,and consist of some fifty inscriptions in Lihyanite script,which is specific to northern Arabia," and its conclusion "Through its epigraphy, the site bears testimony to the presence of many ancient languages over the course of history: Lihyanite, Talmudic script, Nabataean, Greek and Latin. It is of outstanding interest for the study of the origins and development of later Arabic languages and scripts." Link
  • Ancient Thebes Champollion came here and developed some of the ideas which led to his decipherment of the script
  • Ashur Source of more than 16000 cuneiform tablets
  • Birka and Hovgarden Runic script
  • Bisotun Inscription in Elamite, Babylonian and Old Persian
  • Byblos Byblos is also directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet. (AB ev)
  • Caral-Supe oldest Quipu
  • Copan Includes hieroglyphic texts
  • Dougga/Thugga Libyan, Punic, Greek, Roman inscriptions at the site led to the decipherment of the Libyan language
  • Hattusha The Hittites used cuneiform letters. Archaeological expeditions have discovered in Hattushash entire sets of royal archives in cuneiform tablets, written either in Akkadian, the diplomatic language of the time, or in the various dialects of the Hittite confederation (wiki)
  • Jelling Runic script
  • Meroe Meroe script Link
  • Moenjodaro Indus Valley scriptures (one of the oldest in the world)
  • Mtskheta "Of special significance are early inscriptions, which form a valuable reference in the study of the origins of the early Georgian alphabet."
  • Neolithic Orkney Maes Howe - one of the largest, and most famous, collections of runes known in Europe.
  • Oaxaca and Monte Alban Montealban - Zapotec Hieroglyphs
  • Ohrid Region Slavic writing culture (and early Cyrillic alphabet)
  • Old Town of Lijiang Naxi script (pictograms)
  • Orkhon Valley Early 8th-century Turkic memorials to Bilge Khan and Kul Tigin with their Orkhon inscriptions are admittedly the most impressive monuments from the nomadic Göktürk Empire.
  • Palenque Temple of Inscriptions
  • Petroglyphs of the Mongolian Altai Turkic Period (7th-9th c. CE): "To this period, also, belong a number of runic inscriptions." (AB ev)
  • Quirigua Contains Maya glyphs
  • Rapa Nui Rongorongo script
  • Rock Art in the Hail Region The introduction of Thamudic writing, probably about 3000 years ago, is documented in thousands of inscriptions (AB ev) Link
  • Sigiriya Sigiriya Graffiti, early Sinhala writing system
  • Sukhothai King Ramkamhang's Inscription - Early Thai Alphabets
  • Tikal National Park Several hieroglyphic inscriptions
  • Wadi Rum extensive corpus of pre-Arabic scripts (AB ev)
  • Xanthos-Letoon many texts in Lycian and Greek, including several bilingual texts that are useful in the decipherment of Lycian
  • Yagul and Mitla Yagul: "a few of these bear hieroglyphic inscriptions" (wiki)
  • Yin Xu Oracle bone script, "the oldest member and ancestor of the Chinese family of scripts" (wiki) Link

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