The 4,000-year-old cryptic writing system can finally be deciphered

A mysterious ancient writing system called Linear Elamite, used between 2300 BC and 1800 BC in what is now southern Iran, may finally have been deciphered, although some experts are skeptical about the findings. Furthermore, it is unclear whether all the artifacts used to decipher the writings were legally purchased.

Only about 40 known examples of Linear Elam survive today, making the script challenging to decipher, but researchers say they’ve mostly gotten there, they wrote in a paper published in July in the journal. Journal of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology (opens in new tab) (German for “Journal of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology”). The key to deciphering them was the analysis of eight inscriptions on silver cups.

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