Proto Elamite Texts

Stuart Harris BS, MS, MBA

Proto Elamite inscriptions occur from Susa in the west to Tepe Yahya in the east during a short period of 3100 to 2900 BC, after which literacy vanished. The earliest cylinder seals have Proto Elamite inscriptions.

Proto Elamite derives from Old European. In the beginning, scibes wrote on clay tablets from left to right, top to bottom. As tablets grew larger, scribes rotated the tablet counter-clockwise and wrote from top to bottom, left to right, and also rotated the letters. Thus before beginning a tranlation, rotate the inscription clockwise so that letters again match those of Old European.

I've only attemped one translation, P008012, which seems to read clearly. Jacob Dahl published sixty pages of different ways to combine syllables. From his list, the first several signs look like: M001 RA, M001~b RO, M003~ PA, M003~cHA, M004 A, M005 JA, M006 LO, M006~b KY, M007~b SA, M009 LY, M009a HA, M009~c PO, M10 TE.

Tablet P008012 conveys activities on a farm in two categories: pigs, and days of labor that sum to 65.