Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


- 18th-14th cent. B.C.

Examples of writing

Sinai 346

Sinai 346
Source: Grimme 1923 (available in

Statuette from Hathor temple of Serabit el-Khadim.

The inscriptions are engraved on the top and front of the block and on its right side. There are three lines on the statuette:

The left-hand horizontal line reads ʿln[ʿm]x(x?)mtlbʿlt

and the right-hand line reads dldymrʿt

The text on the right side reads  ʿlnʿmrbnqbn

The reconstruction of n[ʿm] is not certain even though it appears in the vertical line on the right side as well.


Possible translations are:


«For/as …[…] … for Baʿalat»

«This (is) of the Provider of the pasture» to be understood as epithet of the goddess Baʿalat.

«For Naʿam, the great among the miners»


Bibliography: L.D. Morenz 2019, 124-128.


Sinai 345

Sinai 345

Red sandstone sphinx, ca. 1800-1700 B.C., from the temple ruins at Serabit el-Khadim, currently on display in the British museum. The sphinx seems to be a votive gift to the goddess Hathor. The head of the sphinx was reattached. The hieroglyphs on the right shoulder read “Beloved of Hathor [Mistress of] turquoise”. The two Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions, repainted in modern time, read:


left base (from left to right): mʾhbʿlt    often interpreted as mʾh(b) bʿlt   «beloved of Lady»

right base (from left to right): hnd wz lbʿlt «this inscription/monument is for the Lady»


Bibliography: A. Wilson-Wright 2013; L.D. Morenz 2019, 196-204.

Sinai 357

Sinai 357
Source: Beit Arieh 1978 fig. 6

Inscription on rock surface from mine L of Serabit el-Khadim.

The vertical line reads:  ʾnttpndkmlʾbbmlk

The horizontal line reads: šmʿʾmr ʾrbʿ


L.D. Morenz 2019, 187-190 translates: «You, Shapan, stamp/crush Abimelek» and «He has heard the message: four».