Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


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

Examples of writing

Serabit el-Khadim Statue (Sinai 346)

Serabit el-Khadim Statue (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 ‘ln[‘m]x(x?)mtlb‘lt

and the right-hand line reads dldymr‘t.

The text on the right side reads ‘ln‘mrbnqbn

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

Sinai 345

Sinai 345
Source: Fonte

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): m’hb‘lt    often interpreted as m’h(b) b‘lt    «beloved of Lady»

right base (from left to right): xndxzlb‘lt   read  as hnd wz lb‘lt  «this inscription is for the Lady» by A. Wilson-Wright 2013



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:  ’nttpndkml’bbmlk

The horizontal line reads:  šm‘’mr’rb‘ 

Albright 1966, 23 suggested the following translations «You, o Shapan, collect from ’Ababa eight minas [reading mn 8 instead of mlk]» and «Shime‘a, groom of the chief of car[avans(?)]», but the translations are uncertain.