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Writing in Egypt: Cuneiform

Cuneiform is the name for several writing systems used in the Near East. The principal writing ground was the clay tablet, in which 'cuneiform' signs were incised with a wedge (cuneus - Latin for 'wedge'). Cuneiform was used for several languages: Sumerian, Akkadian, Persian. Sumerian is the oldest recorded language; the script for Sumerian was developed from about 3500 BC. In ancient Iraq (Mesopotamia) Akkadian replaced Sumerian about 2000 BC.

From the New Kingdom (about 1550-1069 BC) on, close diplomatic ties are attested between Egypt and several states in the Near East. The language used was Akkadian. In Amarna an archive with the international correspondence of the Amarna Period was excavated. At some places in the Near East letters written in Akkadian send by the Egyptian kings have been found.

Cuneiform was also used for monumental inscriptions in the Achaemenid Iranian Empire. A few such inscriptions have also been found in Egypt, from the period of Achaemenid rule (525-404 BC and 343-332 BC).

The Amarna correspondence

Cuneiform tablet



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