It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


The Kish Tablet oldest known proto-writing 5,500 BP

page: 1

log in


posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 01:18 PM

It is in Proto-cuneiform and is considered by some to be the oldest known written document. The writing is still purely pictographic, and shows a transitional stage between proto-writing and the emergence of the writing of the cuneiform script.

The protoliterate period of Egypt and Mesopotamia is taken to span about 3500 to 2900 BC. The Kish tablet is thus more accurately identified as the first document of the Mesopotamian protoliterate period. Several hundred documents dating to about the 32nd century BC have been found at Uruk.

The link to wiki

The first documents unequivocally written in the Sumerian language were found at Jemdet Nasr, dated to the 31st to 30th centuries BC

Excavation at Kish

Digging at Kish

The Kish tablet was excavated by Stephen Langdon and an Oxford team that worked at Kish from 1923 to 1933. Kish is located 5 kilometers to the east of what would later be the site of Babylon. It was first occupied at the start of the Jemdet Nasr period which is dated to around the 30th century before the current era.

The encyclopedia of world history : ancient, medieval, and modern, chronologically arranged / Peter N. Stearns, general editor. ISBN 9780395652374

Edited to add information on the Jemdat Nasr period

[edit on 10/1/09 by Hanslune]

posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 03:09 PM
wow awesome thread!

it does look very primitive and there is some funny symbols on there

very simplistic

are they absolutely sure its from 5,500 bc?

im gonna go ahead and say it could be as old as 10,000 bc

if not older, just look at it, its ancient!

posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 05:01 PM
I think you and I were using this reference in the Sumerian tales vs the Bible thread just earlier today.

It's really interesting the things we keep finding. In the early twenties, a linguist by the name of Dr. William Gates was using highland indians from Guatemala to help decipher the language of the ancient Mayans. Perhaps someday we will find a "key" such as this to help us piece together these lipographs that are popping up. May not be a person, necessarily, but I'd like to hope for a legend of some kind. Time will tell.

posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 07:48 PM
reply to post by muzzleflash

Howdy Muzzleflash

It was dated by comparing where it was found in context with pottery that had been previously dated. The dig it came from is rather notorious for bad record keeping - so bad they went back in 88-89 and another group tried to put together what had occurred. Work was interrupted by the 2nd Gulf war.

Howdy EdenKaia

Welcome by the way to the board, good to have another well thinking person on board.

I supsect that as the area of Mesopotamia becomes more secure more work will start up again. There are at least 7,000 un-surveyed and excavated mounds and points of interest in Iraq and several thousand more in the surrounding areas that may have Sumerian materials. Uncountable more are probably buried in the various flood silts.

Perhaps the 'mother lode' will be found. What is the mother lode? A Trilinigual artifact that has Sumerian, Harappa and Linear A on it - okay okay a bilingual would be more possible with S & H.

[edit on 10/1/09 by Hanslune]

posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 08:27 PM
So basically you want the Holy Grail to be happy, eh? Personally, I just need a pizza and a good book.

posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 08:53 PM
reply to post by EdenKaia

Ah just more stupendous finds - maybe a horde of Homo Erectus found inside a cave with a full suite of habitation items and tools.

posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 11:43 PM
A bit more knowledge

Robinson, A. 1995 The Story of Writing NY: Thames & Hudson

p. 16

Says these are the dates for earliest writing, obviously the sources disagree (rather common in orthodoxy)

3300 BC Sumerian clay tablets with writing, Uruk, Iraq
3100 BC Cuneiform inscriptions begin, Mesopotamia
3100-3000 BC Hieroglyphic inscriptions begin, Egypt

I'm asking and researching to find out the numbers (the tabliets are ID by a code number) of the tablets referred to which came from Uruk.

posted on Jan, 13 2009 @ 10:14 AM
Earliest writing in Egypt dated to 3200 BC

Bone and ivory tags, pottery vessels, and clay seal impressions bearing hieroglyphs unearthed at Abydos, 300 miles south of Cairo, have been dated to between 3400 and 3200 B.C., making them the oldest known examples of Egyptian writing.

As ever in archaeology, new excavations bring new challenges to address, new questions to answer, and new problems to solve. Will the present date of 3200 B.C. for phonetic writing in Egypt be confirmed by subsequent work? Are the dates for Mesopotamian writing-solely based on the stratigraphy of one deep sounding of the site of Uruk-too conservative? Hopefully, Egyptology will be able to find out more about the circumstances that surrounded and led to the development of phonetic writing. Finally, it will be of great interest to resolve whether the Egyptian and Sumerian scripts came about independently, or if, after all, they had ties?

Earliest writing in Egypt

Some more data which was kindly provided by the folks over at the Hall of Ma'at, Dave L and Bernard

top topics


log in