Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources

Sumerian Cuneiform

- (3rd millennium BC - first centuries of 2nd millennium BC)

Online resources

Online documents

  1. Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Lexical Texts (University of California, Berkeley)
    Directed by N. Veldhuis (University of California), the site offers a catalogue of Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform lexical lists of every period from 3200 BC to 100 AD. There are introductory pages devoted to the treatment of the genre of the lexical list, the conventions used in the tablets, the signs, the archaic lexical lists, the classification of the lists of the third millennium BC and the Old Babylonian period.
  2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (University of Oxford)
    The “Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature” (ETCSL) is a project of the Faculty of Oriental Studies of the University of Oxford. It collects several hundred literary compositions in Sumerian with English translations and relevant bibliography. It also contains an introductory description of the Sumerian language, literature, and script.
  3. Database of Neo-Sumerian Texts (Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales)
    The “Database of Neo-Sumerian Texts”, created and maintained by the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Madrid, aims at cataloguing the whole corpus of administrative cuneiform tablets of the Neo-Sumerian period (c. 2100-2000 BC) principally coming from the cities of Puzrish-Dagān (Tell Drēhim), Girsu (Tellō), Nippur (Tell Nuffar), Umma (Tell Ğoḫa), Lagash (Tell al-Hiba), and Ur (Tell Muqayyir) in southern Iraq. Tablets of both public and private collections from various countries of the world are given in transliteration with bibliographical references, hand-written copies of the tablet, and picture.
  4. Bilinguals in Late Mesopotamian Scholarship
    The project, directed and maintained by Steve Tinney (University of Pennsylvania) and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, presents an updated edition of the bilingual Sumero-Akkadian texts of the first millennium BC.
  5. Corpus of Kassite Sumerian Texts
    The CKST project presents texts written in Sumerian from Kassite Babylonia (c. 1570 - 1155 BC). The online edition includes dedicatory inscriptions, literary and lexical texts, school texts and seal inscriptions.
  6. Datenbank sumerischer Streitliteratur
    The DSSt project is directed by C. Mittermayer and is based at the University of Geneva. It aims to include editions of Sumerian disputation texts with translations in English, French or German.

Institutions, centers for study and research

  1. Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (University of California, Los Angeles, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)
    A project for the digitalization of cuneiform texts from the Sumerian period to the Seleucid era. The project is supported by the principal museums which hold collections of tablets and other inscribed materials, among which the British Museum in London, the Iraq Museum of Baghdad, the Vorderasiatisches Museum of Berlin, the Oriental Institute Museum of Chicago. The project intends to offer identification details, bibliography, transliteration and translation, photograph or a hand copy of the writing medium for every text.
  2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Royal Inscriptions (Eötvös L. University)
    The main objective of this project, developed at the Department of Assyriology and Hebrew Studies of Eötvös L. University in Budapest and guided by Gábor Zólyomi, is the creation of an online corpus of all Sumerian royal inscriptions with translations in English and Hungarian.
  3. The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology)
    The “Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project”, directed by Steve Tinney, aims at preparing an exhaustive dictionary of the Sumerian language for specialists as well as non-specialists. The implementation of the project is carried out in the Babylonian Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology.

Academic materials

  1. Mesopotamia: Writing
    An introductory site to cuneiform writing for students created by the British Museum. Several pictures of cuneiform signs on tablets complete the pages about the diachronic development of the cuneiform script. Other images allow the exploration of the world of scribal activity; some examples of writing media and formats of cuneiform inscriptions on clay and stone are illustrated (circular and rectangular tablets, prisms and cylinders, bricks, palace wall reliefs, cylinder seals).
  2. Proto-Cuneiform
    Educational page of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative Project concerning the Proto-cuneiform writing that appears in southern Mesopotamia at the end of the fourth millennium BC. (c. 3200-3000 BC) on clay tablets, of administrative and economic content and which preannounces the development of Sumerian cuneiform. The website introduces the reader to the type of script and the Proto-cuneiform text corpus with relevant bibliography. Through the site it is possible to access to the Proto-cuneiform tablets of the Uruk IVa-III period of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative online database. Texts are shown copied by hand and/or in picture.


  1. Cuneiform Unicode fonts

  2. Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform

Museums and collections

  1. Tablets Relating to Sumerian History in the Schøyen Collection
    A website developed in cooperation with the National Library of Norway. It contains translations, commentary, and pictures of Sumerian cuneiform tablets of various contents kept in the Schøyen Collection, which is located in Oslo and London.
  2. Cuneiform Library at Cornell University
    The website has been developed by the Department of Near Eastern Studies, the Cornell University Library, and the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative at UCLA with the aim to create an online corpus of the cuneiform tablets kept in the collection of the Jonathan and Jeannette Rosen Ancient Near Eastern Seminar in the Cornell University. The collection contains tablets from the Proto-literate period (fourth millennium BC), and Sumerian and Akkadian texts from the third to the second millennia BC.