It has been suggested that this article should be split into articles titled Proto-Sinaitic script and Proto-Canaanite script. (discuss) (February 2024)
Proto-Sinaitic script
Proto-Sinaitic inscription #346, the first published photograph of the script.[1] The line running from the upper left to lower right may read mt l bʿlt "... to the Lady"
Script type
Time period
c. 19th–15th century BC
LanguagesCanaanite languages
Related scripts
Parent systems
Egyptian hieroglyphs
  • Proto-Sinaitic script
Child systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Psin (103), ​Proto-Sinaitic

The Proto-Sinaitic script is a Middle Bronze Age writing system known from a small corpus of about 30-40 inscriptions and fragments from Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula, as well as two inscriptions from Wadi el-Hol in Middle Egypt.[2][3][4][5] Together with about 20 known Proto-Canaanite inscriptions,[6] it is also known as Early Alphabetic,[7] i.e. the earliest trace of alphabetic writing and the common ancestor of both the Ancient South Arabian script and the Phoenician alphabet,[8] which led to many modern alphabets including the Greek alphabet.[9] According to common theory, Canaanites or Hyksos who spoke a Canaanite language[10] repurposed Egyptian hieroglyphs to construct a different script.[11]

The earliest Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions are mostly dated to between the mid-19th (early date) and the mid-16th (late date) century BC.

The principal debate is between an early date, around 1850 BC, and a late date, around 1550 BC. The choice of one or the other date decides whether it is proto-Sinaitic or proto-Canaanite, and by extension locates the invention of the alphabet in Egypt or Canaan respectively.[12]

However, the discovery of the two Wadi el-Hol inscriptions near the Nile River suggests that the script originated in Egypt. The evolution of Proto-Sinaitic and the small number of Proto-Canaanite inscriptions from the Bronze Age is based on rather scant epigraphic evidence; it is only with the Bronze Age collapse and the rise of new Semitic kingdoms in the Levant that Proto-Canaanite is clearly attested (Byblos inscriptions 10th–8th century BC, Khirbet Qeiyafa inscription c. 10th century BC).[13][14][15][16]

The first published group of Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions were discovered in the winter of 1904–1905 in Sinai by Hilda and Flinders Petrie. These ten inscriptions, plus an eleventh published by Raymond Weill in 1904 from the 1868 notes of Edward Henry Palmer,[17] were reviewed in detail, and numbered (as 345–355), by Alan Gardiner in 1916.[18] To this were added a number of short Proto-Canaanite inscriptions found in Canaan and dated to between the 17th and 15th centuries BC, and more recently, the discovery in 1999 of the two Wadi el-Hol inscriptions, found in Middle Egypt by John and Deborah Darnell. The Wadi el-Hol inscriptions strongly suggest a date of development of Proto-Sinaitic writing from the mid-19th to 18th centuries BC.[19][20]


"I am disposed to see in this one of the many alphabets which were in use in the Mediterranean lands long before the fixed alphabet selected by the Phoenicians. A mass of signs was used continuously from 6,000 or 7,000 B.C., until out of it was crystallized the alphabets of the Mediterranean – the Karians and Celtiberians preserving the greatest number of signs, the Semites and Phoenicans keeping fewer... The two systems of writing, pictorial and linear, which Dr. Evans has found to have been used in Crete, long before the Phoenician age, show how several systems were in use. Some of the workmen employed by the Egyptians, probably the Aamu or Retennu – Syrians – who are often named, had this system of linear signs which we have found; they naturally mixed many hieroglyphs with it, borrowed from their masters. And here we have the result, at a date some five centuries before the oldest Phoenician writing that is known. Such seems to be the conclusion that we must reach from the external evidence that we can trace. The ulterior conclusion is very important – namely, that common Syrian workmen, who could not command the skill of an Egyptian sculptor, were familiar with writing at 1500 B.C., and this a writing independent of hieroglyphics and cuneiform. It finally disproves the hypothesis that the Israelites, who came through this region into Egypt and passed back again, could not have used writing. Here we have common Syrian labourers possessing a script which other Semitic peoples of this region must be credited with knowing."[21]

Flinders Petrie, 1906, Researches in Sinai

O my god, 「rescue」 [me] 「from」 the interior of the mine.


Text 350 Steliform rock panel column ii, left column " a vivid picture of the wretched situation of the miners."[22]

In the winter of 1905, Flinders Petrie and his partner Hilda were conducting a series of archaeological excavations in the Sinai Peninsula. During a dig at Serabit el-Khadim, an extremely lucrative turquoise mine used between the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasty and again between the Eighteenth and mid-Twentieth Dynasty, Petrie discovered a series of inscriptions at the site's massive invocative temple to Hathor, as well as some fragmentary inscriptions in the mines themselves. Petrie immediately recognized hieroglyphic characters in the inscriptions, but upon closer inspection realized the script was wholly alphabetic and not the combination of logograms and syllabics as in Egyptian script proper. He thus assumed that the inscriptions showed a script that the turquoise miners had devised themselves, using linear signs that they had borrowed from hieroglyphics. He published his findings in London the following year.[23]

Ten years later, in 1916, Alan Gardiner, one of the premier Egyptologists of the early and mid-20th century, published his own interpretation of Petrie's findings, arguing that the glyphs appeared to be early versions of the signs used for later Semitic languages such as Phoenician, and was able to assign sound values and reconstructed names to some of the letters by assuming they represented what would later become the common Semitic abjad. One example was the character , to which Gardiner assigned the ⟨b⟩ sound, on the grounds that it derived from the Egyptian glyph for 'house' , and was very similar to the Phoenician letter, bet, whose name derives from the Semitic word for “house”, bayt. Using his hypothesis, Gardiner was able to affirm Petrie's hypothesis that the mystery inscriptions were of a religious nature, as his model allowed an often recurring word to be reconstructed as lbʿlt, meaning "to Ba'alat" or more accurately, "to (the) Lady" – that is, the "lady" Hathor. Likewise, this allowed another recurring word mʿhbʿlt to be translated as "Beloved of (the) Lady", a reading which became very acceptable after the lemma was found carved underneath a hieroglyphic inscription which read "Beloved of Hathor, Lady of Turquoise".[18] Gardiner's hypothesis allowed researchers to connect the letters of the inscriptions to modern Semitic alphabets, and resulted in the inscriptions becoming much more readable, leading to the immediate acceptance of his hypothesis.[citation needed]


The letters of the earliest script used for Semitic languages were derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs. In the 19th century, the theory of Egyptian origin competed alongside other theories that the Phoenician script developed from Akkadian cuneiform, Cretan hieroglyphs, the Cypriot syllabary, and Anatolian hieroglyphs.[24] Then the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions were studied by Alan Gardiner who identified the word bʿlt "Lady" occurring several times in inscriptions, and also attempted to decipher other words. In the 1950s and 1960s, William Albright published interpretations of Proto-Sinaitic as the key to show the derivation of the Canaanite alphabet from hieratic.[11]

According to the "alphabet theory", the early Semitic proto-alphabet reflected in the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions would have given rise to both the Ancient South Arabian script and the Proto-Canaanite alphabet by the time of the Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–1150 BC).[10]

For example, the hieroglyph for pr "house" (a rectangle partially open along one side, "O1" in Gardiner's sign list) was adopted to write Semitic /b/, after the first consonant of baytu, the Semitic word for "house".[20][25]

A transitional stage between Proto-Canaanite and Old Phoenician (1000–800 BC) has been proposed by authors such as Werner Pichler as the origin of the Libyco-Berber script used among Ancient Libyans (i.e. Proto-Berbers) – citing common similarities to both Proto-Canaanite proper and its early North Arabian descendants.[26]


Serabit inscriptions

Main article: Serabit el-Khadim proto-Sinaitic inscriptions

The Sinai inscriptions are best known from the Serabit el-Khadim proto-Sinaitic inscriptions, carved graffiti and votive texts from a mountain in the Sinai called Serabit el-Khadim and its temple to the Egyptian goddess Hathor (ḥwt-ḥr). The mountain contained turquoise mines which were visited by repeated expeditions over 800 years. Many of the workers and officials were from the Nile Delta, and included large numbers of Canaanites (i.e. speakers of an early form of Northwest Semitic ancestral to the Canaanite languages of the Late Bronze Age) who had been allowed to settle the eastern Delta.[20]

Most of the forty or so inscriptions have been found among much more numerous hieratic and hieroglyphic inscriptions, scratched on rocks near and in the turquoise mines and along the roads leading to the temple.[27]

The date of the inscriptions is mostly placed in the 17th or 16th century BC.[28] An alternative view dates most of the inscriptions to the reign of Amenemhat III or his successor circa 1800 BC.[29] It has been suggested that the dating period includes the reign of pharaoh Senwosret III.[30]

Four inscriptions have been found in the temple, on two small human statues and on either side of a small stone sphinx. They are crudely done, suggesting that the workers who made them were illiterate apart from this script.

Wadi el-Hol inscriptions

Traces of the 16 and 12 characters of the two Wadi el-Hol inscriptions

Main article: Wadi el-Hol inscriptions

The two Wadi el-Hol inscriptions (Arabic: وادي الهول Wādī al-Hawl 'Ravine of Terror') were carved on the stone sides of an ancient high-desert military and trade road linking Thebes and Abydos, in the heart of literate Egypt. They have been dated to somewhere between 1900 and 1800 BC.[31] They are in a wadi in the Qena bend of the Nile, at approx. 25°57′N 32°25′E / 25.950°N 32.417°E / 25.950; 32.417, among dozens of hieratic and hieroglyphic inscriptions.[32] Rock inscriptions in the valley appear to show the oldest examples of phonetic alphabetic writing discovered to date.[20]

The inscriptions are graphically very similar to the Serabit inscriptions, but show a greater hieroglyphic influence, such as a glyph for a man that was apparently not read alphabetically:[20] The first of these (h1) is a figure of celebration [Gardiner A28], whereas the second (h2) is either that of a child [Gardiner A17] or of dancing [Gardiner A32]. If the latter, h1 and h2 may be graphic variants (such as two hieroglyphs both used to write the Canaanite word hillul "jubilation") rather than different consonants.

Hieroglyphs representing, reading left to right, celebration, a child, and dancing. The first appears to be the prototype for h1, while the latter two have been suggested as the prototype for h2.[citation needed]

Brian Colless has published a translation of the text, in which some of the signs are treated as logograms (representing a whole word, not just a single consonant) or rebuses:

[Vertical] mšt r h ʿnt ygš ʾl
[Vertical] Excellent banquet (mšt r[ʾš]) of the celebration (h[illul]) of ʿAnat (ʿnt). [It] will provide (ygš) ʾEl (ʾl)
[Horizontal] rb wn mn h ngṯ h ʾ p mẖ r
[Horizontal] plenty (rb) of wine (wn) [and] victuals (mn) for the celebration (h[illul]). We will sacrifice (ngṯ) to her (h) an ox (ʾ[lp]) and (p) a prime fatling (mẖ r[ʾš])."

Here, aleph, whose glyph depicts the head of an ox, is a logogram used to represent the word "ox" (*ʾalp), he, whose glyph depicts a man in celebration, is a logogram for the words "celebration" (*hillul) and "she/her" (hiʾ‎), and resh, whose glyph depicts a man's head, is a logogram for the word "utmost/greatest" (*raʾš). This interpretation fits into the pattern in some of the surrounding Egyptian inscriptions, with celebrations for the goddess Hathor involving inebriation.[33]


Below is a table synoptically showing selected Proto-Sinaitic signs and the proposed correspondences with Phoenician letters and Egyptian hieroglyphs. A full repertoire of the currently known letterforms can be found on pages 8 and 9 here: Also shown are the sound values, names, and descendants of the Phoenician letters.[34]

Hieroglyph Proto-Sinaitic IPA value Reconstructed


Proto-Canaanite [35] Phoenician Imperial Aramaic Hebrew Nabataean (from Aramaic) Arabic Other*
Aleph /ʔ/ ʾalp "ox"[37][38] 𐤀𐤀 𐡀 א ا 𐌀 A А
Bet /b/ bayt "house"[37] 𐤁𐤁 𐡁 ב ب Β 𐌁 B В Б
Gimel /g/ gaml "throw-stick" [38] 𐤂𐤂 𐡂 ג ج ΓC G Г
𓉿[37] or
𓆟[36][a] or
Dalet /


/d/ dalt "door"[37]/digg "fish"[38] 𐤃𐤃 𐡃 ד Δ 𐌃 D Д
Heh /h/ haw "man calling"[38]/ hillul "jubilate"[37] 𐤄𐤄 𐡄 ה ه Ε 𐌄 E Є Е
𓌈[36] or
Waw /w/ waw "mace"[38]/"hook"[37][b] 𐤅𐤅 𐡅 ו Ϝ Υ 𐌅 𐌖 F U W V Y Ѵ Ꙋ Ѹ У
Ziqq /z/ ziq "fetter"[37][b][d] 𐤆𐤆 𐡆 ז Z Z 𐌆 Ꙁ З
𓐅[36][c] or
𓂃[37] or
Zayin /ð/ ḏayp "eyebrow"[37] (𐡃)


𓉗[37][c] or
Ḥet /ħ/ ḥaṣir "mansion"[37] 𐤇𐤇 𐡇 ח ح Η H 𐌇 И
𓎛 /x/ ḫayt "thread"[37] (خ)
[e] /tˤ/ ṭab "good"[37] 𐤈𐤈 𐡈 ט ط Θ 𐌈 Ѳ
Yad Yad /j/ yad "hand"[37] 𐤉𐤉 𐡉 י ي Ι 𐌉 I J І Ј
Khof /k/ kap(p) "palm"[38][37] 𐤊𐤊 𐡊 ךכ ك Κ 𐌊 K К
𓋿[37] or
Lamed /l/ lamd "goad"[37][38] 𐤋𐤋 𐡋 ל ل Λ 𐌋 L Л
Mem /m/ maym "water"[37] 𐤌𐤌 𐡌 םמ م Μ 𐌌 M М
Nun /n/ naḥš "snake"[38][37] 𐤍𐤍 𐡍 ןנ ن Ν 𐌍 N Н
𓊽 [37] or
𓆛 [37][a]
Samekh[f] /s/ samk "support"/ "fish"[38][37] 𐤎𐤎 𐡎 ס Ξ 𐌎 Ѯ
Ayin /ʕ/ ʿayn "eye"[38][37] 𐤏 𐤏𐤏 𐡏 ע ع Ο 𐌏 O О
Ghayn[38] /ɣ/~/ʁ/ ġinab "grape"[37] (غ) 𐎙
𓂋[37] or
Pe (Semitic letter)
/p/ pu "mouth"[37]/pʿit "corner"[38] 𐤐𐤐 𐡐 ףפ ف Π P 𐌐 П
𓇑[36] or
𓎤[37] or
Tsade[42] /sˤ/ (ṣad)/ṣamaḥ "plant"[38][1] or ṣirar "bag"[37] 𐤑𐤑 𐡑 ץצ ص Ϻ ϡ 𐌑 𐎕
/ɬˤ/? (𐡏)






𓃻[38][44] or
Qoph /kˤ/ or /q/ qu(p) "monkey"[38][44] or qaw "cord, line"[37] 𐤒𐤒 𐡒 ק (Northern Qaf) (Southern) Qaf Ϙ Q Ҁ[h]
𓁶[36][37] or
Resh /r/ raʾš "head"[37][38] 𐤓𐤓 𐡓 ר Ρ 𐌓 R Р
𓇴[37][c] or
𓄑 [48]


/ʃ/ šamš "sun"[37][i] 𐤔𐤔 𐡔 (שׁ) (س) Σ 𐌔 S С Ш

𓌔[c] or
Shin[j][50] /ɬ/? ṯann "composite bow"[51][38] or ṯad "breast"[37][b] ?[j] [50] שׂ ش
/θ/ 𐡕


שׁ (ث)
Tof /t/ taw "mark"[38][37][b] 𐤕𐤕 ת Τ 𐌕 T Т
  1. ^ a b c 𓆛's name may be reconstructed as "digg," "nūn," or "samk." When both 𓉿 and 𓆛 are found within the same inscription, they are either thought to be the same allophone, or they are thought to be misinterpreted as 𓉗 or Samekh respectively.[citation needed]
  2. ^ a b c d There is no hieroglyph for Waw/hook, and there are not strong graphical matches for hieroglyphs: Ziqq/fetter (𓍿), Taw/mark (𓏴), and Ṯad/breasts (𓂑𓂑). Colless suggests these letters may have derived independently outside Egypt.[39]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h /ð/ seems to have merged with /z/ as part of Th-alveolarization. Other sound changes may have occurred for the merger of /ħ/ and /x/, the merger of /ʕ/ and /ɣ/, and the merger of /θ/ and /ʃ/.[citation needed]
  4. ^ Also defined as zay(n/t) "copper ingot"[40] or "sword"[citation needed] by a minority of sources
  5. ^ The Canaanites seem to have replaced the 𓄤 glyph with one resembling a spinning wheel (ṭayt) 𓊖.
  6. ^ Glyphs denoting /s/ are believed to resemble a fish, although the reconstructed name samk means "support". It is possible that the glyph's meaning either changed by the time of the Phoenicians or was replaced, or there's a Proto-Sinaitic glyph that has yet to be discovered.
  7. ^ The 16-character Wadi el-Hol inscription contains two different glyphs that resemble both 𓂋 and 𓊋. Additionally, both glyphs may be mistaken for 𓁹 and 𓌙 respectively.[citation needed]
  8. ^ Greek letter Koppa may be ancestral to Greek letter Phi as they match graphically,[45] or they may have been developed independently as they are otherwise unrelated in both phonetic value and alphabetic positioning.[46] This uncertainty is why phi is left off the synoptic table.
  9. ^ It has also been described by one source as šinn "tooth" [48]
  10. ^ a b A | glyph for ś has been found in the Canaanite Lachish Comb inscription, though no such glyph has been found in Proto-Sinaitic, and its origin hasn't been discovered.

See also


  1. ^ Petrie & Currelly 1906, p. 130.
  2. ^ Simons 2011, p. 16: "The proto-Sinaitic corpus consists of approximately forty inscriptions and fragments, the vast majority of which were found at Serabit el-Khadim"
  3. ^ LeBlanc, Paul D. (2017). Deciphering the Proto-Sinaitic Script: Making Sense of the Wadi el-Hol and Serabit el-Khadim Early Alphabetic Inscriptions. Subclass Press. p. Preface. ISBN 978-0-9952844-0-1. Its importance lies in the fact that proto-Sinaitic represents our alphabet's earliest developmental period. So far, only two major discoveries of these inscriptions have been made. The first batch came to light in 1904-1905, in the Sinai, when Hilda and Flinders Petrie discovered what are now referred to as the Serabit el-Khadim inscriptions. The second group was discovered by John and Deborah Darnell in as recently as the 1990s, in Middle Egypt, and is known as the pair of Wadi el-Hol inscriptions.
  4. ^ Woodard, Roger D. (2008). The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia. Cambridge University Press. p. 104-105. ISBN 978-1-139-46934-0. The problem of the Proto-Canaanite inscriptions is directly linked with that of the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions. The latter are a group of inscriptions, numbering about thirty, discovered near Egyptian turquoise mines in the Sinai, dated variously to the eighteenth or fifteenth centuries BC, which have been only partially deciphered but which seem to represent a form of early West Semitic (for a recent overview with bibliography, see Pardee 1997b). Corresponding to these texts are a group of about twenty texts discovered in southern Canaan and spread over about five centuries, from the seventeenth century BC to the twelfth (Sass 1988, 1991). The state of preservation of these latter, Proto-Canaanite, inscriptions is even poorer than is that of the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions.
  5. ^ Golden, Jonathan M. (2009). Ancient Canaan and Israel: An Introduction. OUP USA. pp. 243–244. ISBN 978-0-19-537985-3. By the beginning of the second millennium BCE (the late Middle Bronze Age in Canaan), the scribes of Ugarit began to use a new script based on twenty-seven cuneiform characters. The southern Canaanites also developed new scripts of their own, two variations in fact-Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Canaanite-both of which were also based upon the use of acronyms (Albright 1966; Cross 1967; Naveh 1982). Unfortunately, only a few examples of each have been recovered to date, and the ones that do exist are mostly incomplete and therefore difficult to decipher. As a result, some fundamental questions regarding the time of the first Proto-Canaanite scripts and the origins of the alphabet remain unanswered... Proto-Sinaitic... Today archaeologists know of some thirty to forty Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions that have been found on statuettes and stelae and carved into the rock faces around Serabit el-Khadim... Proto-Canaanite... Further north, another version of this new script began to emerge. Current knowledge of this script, Proto-Canaanite, is based on some twenty-five inscriptions, the earliest dating to the late Middle Bronze Age and the latest appearing at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age. These inscriptions, most of which were found in a relatively small area in the southern Shephelah, span much of the second millennium BCE, though there is a notorious fourteenth-century-BCE. gap from which no texts have been found... The earliest known example of a Proto-Canaanite inscription is one word incised on a bronze dagger discovered at Lachish of the MB2 (eighteenth to seventeenth century BCE) (Starkey 1934). At first these inscriptions appeared in rather pedestrian contexts-for example, potsherds from Gezer and Nagila-and may have been used to identify the potter. It is possible that this new script was used more informally at first, while Akkadian remained the official language, which is certainly plausible considering that the new script was more accessible and required less rigorous training. In the thirteenth and twelfth (and possibly eleventh) centuries BCE, Proto-Canaanite inscriptions appear more frequently in the archaeological record, and their distribution is more widespread, though still largely in the south. These include examples from Lachish, Beth Shemesh, and 'Izbet Sartah. The inscription from the 'Izbet Sartah ostracon seems to represent the exercise of a scribe-in-training. On one line appear the letters of the alphabet, but there are several omissions and departures from the order typical of the time, and several odd combinations of signs make portions of the inscription unintelligible (Mazar 1990). By this time, Proto-Canaanite was also used for religious purposes, as indicated by an inscribed ewer found in the Fosse Temple at Lachish (c. 1220 .c.E.), which bears a blessing to a goddess...The latest Proto-Canaanite inscriptions date to the eleventh century B.C.E. Examples from this time have been found at Rapa and Gerba'al, and a group of five inscribed arrowheads was found near el-Khadr, south of Bethlehem
  6. ^ Garfinkel, Yosef; Golub, Mitka R.; Misgav, Haggai; Ganor, Saar (May 2015). "The ʾIšbaʿal Inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 373 (373): 217–233. doi:10.5615/bullamerschoorie.373.0217. JSTOR 10.5615/bullamerschoorie.373.0217. S2CID 164971133.
  7. ^ Rollston, C. (2020). The Emergence of Alphabetic Scripts. In R. Hasselbach-Andee (Ed.), A Companion to Ancient Near Eastern Languages (1st ed., pp. 65–81). Wiley. doi:10.1002/9781119193814.ch4
  8. ^ "Sinaitic inscriptions | ancient writing". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
  9. ^ The Development of the Greek Alphabet within the Chronology of the ANE (2009), Quote: "Naveh gives four major reasons why it is universally agreed that the Greek alphabet was developed from an early Phoenician alphabet.
    1. According to Herodutous "the Phoenicians who came with Cadmus... brought into Hellas the alphabet, which had hitherto been unknown, as I think, to the Greeks."
    2. The Greek Letters, alpha, beta, gimmel have no meaning in Greek but the meaning of most of their Semitic equivalents is known. For example, 'aleph' means 'ox', 'bet' means 'house' and 'gimmel' means 'throw stick'.
    3. Early Greek letters are very similar and sometimes identical to the West Semitic letters.
    4. The letter sequence between the Semitic and Greek alphabets is identical. (Naveh 1982)"
  10. ^ a b John F. Healey, The Early Alphabet University of California Press, 1990, ISBN 978-0-520-07309-8, p. 18.
  11. ^ a b Albright 1966.
  12. ^ Simons 2011, p. 24.
  13. ^ Coulmas (1989) p. 141.
  14. ^ "Earliest Known Hebrew Text in Proto-Canaanite Script Discovered in Area Where 'David Slew Goliath'". Science Daily. November 3, 2008.
  15. ^ "Most ancient Hebrew biblical inscription deciphered". University of Haifa. January 10, 2010. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  16. ^ Naveh, Joseph (1987), "Proto-Canaanite, Archaic Greek, and the Script of the Aramaic Text on the Tell Fakhariyah Statue", in Miller; et al. (eds.), Ancient Israelite Religion.
  17. ^ Weill, R. (1904). Recueil des inscriptions égyptiennes du Sinaī: bibliographie, texte, traduction et commentaire, précédé de la géographie des établissements égyptiens de la péninsule (in French). Société nouvelle de librairie et d'édition. p. 154. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  18. ^ a b Gardiner 1916, p. 1-16.
  19. ^ Simons 2011, p. 24; quote: "The two latest discoveries, those found in the Wadi el-Hol, north of Luxor, in Egypt's western desert, can be dated with rather more certainty than the others and offer compelling evidence that the early date [1850 BC] is the more likely of the two"
  20. ^ a b c d e Goldwasser, Orly (Mar–Apr 2010). "How the Alphabet Was Born from Hieroglyphs". Biblical Archaeology Review. Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society. 36 (1). ISSN 0098-9444. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 6 Nov 2011.
  21. ^ Petrie & Currelly 1906, p. 131-132.
  22. ^ Albright 1969, p. 19.
  23. ^ Petrie & Currelly 1906.
  24. ^ Joseph Naveh; Solomon Asher Birnbaum; David Diringer; Zvi Hermann Federbush; Jonathan Shunary; Jacob Maimon (2007), "ALPHABET, HEBREW", Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 1 (2nd ed.), Gale, pp. 689–728, ISBN 978-0-02-865929-9
  25. ^ This is in marked contrast to the history of adoption of the Phoenician alphabet in the Iron Age (where ʾālep gave rise to the Greek letter aleph, i.e. the Semitic term for "ox" was left untranslated and adopted as simply the name of the letter).
  26. ^ Picker, Werner (2007). Origin and development of the Libyco-Berber. Köln: Rüdiger Koppel Verlag. ISBN 978-3-89645-394-5. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  27. ^ "The proto-Sinaitic corpus consists of approximately forty inscriptions and fragments, the vast majority of which were found at Serabit el-Khadim" (Simons 2011:16).
  28. ^ Goldwasser (2010): "The alphabet was invented in this way by Canaanites at Serabit in the Middle Bronze Age, in the middle of the 19th century B.C.E., probably during the reign of Amenemhet III of the XIIth Dynasty."
  29. ^ Wilson-Wright, Aren Max. “Sinai 357: A Northwest Semitic Votive Inscription to Teššob.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 136, no. 2, 2016, pp. 247–63
  30. ^ Parker, Hope, "The Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions at Serabit El-Khadim in their archaeological context : date and function", Ägypten und Levante/Egypt and the Levant 32, pp. 269-311, 2022
  31. ^ "Discovery of Egyptian Inscriptions Indicates an Earlier Date for Origin of the Alphabet".
  32. ^ Baker, Dorie (13 December 1999). "Finding sheds new light on the alphabet's origins". Yale Bulletin and Calendar.
  33. ^ Antiguo Oriente vol. 8 (2010) p. 91 Note: The 'y' appears in the Colless article p. 95, but not in the Wikimedia Commons trace image inscr1.jpg
  34. ^ See also: Simons (2011),
    • Figure Three: "Chart of all early proto-Canaanite letters with comparison to proto-Sinaitic signs" (p. 39),
    • Figure Four: "Representative selection of later proto-Canaanite letters with comparison to early proto-Canaanite and proto-Sinaitic signs" (p. 40).
    See Also: A comparison of glyphs from western ("Proto-Canaanite", Byblos) and southern scripts along with the reconstructed "Linear Ugaritic" (Lundin 1987) is found in Manfried Dietrich and Oswald Loretz, Die Keilalphabete: die phönizisch-kanaanäischen und altarabischen Alphabete in Ugarit, Ugarit-Verlag, 1988, p. 102, reprinted in Wilfred G. E. Watson, Nicolas Wyatt (eds.), Handbook of Ugaritic Studies (1999), p. 86.
  35. ^ "Proto-Canaanite - List of symbols". Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Simons 2011, p. 38, fig. 2.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw Colless 2010, p. 96, fig. 5.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Albright 1966, fig. 1.
  39. ^ Colless 2014, p. 85-86.
  40. ^ a b Cross, F. M. (1980) Newly Found Inscriptions in Old Canaanite and Early Phoenician Scripts. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 238, 1–20.
  41. ^ a b c d "Aramaic and Hebrew: A linguistic comparison". Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  42. ^ Albright 1966, p. 21, fig. 5.
  43. ^ Colless 2010, p. 92.
  44. ^ a b Pandey, Anshuman (30 July 2019). "Revisiting the Encoding of Proto Sinaitic in Unicode" (PDF).
  45. ^ Brixhe, C. "History of the Alphabet", in Christidēs & al.'s A History of Ancient Greek. 2007.
  46. ^ Ullman, B. L. (April 1927). "The Added Letters of the Greek Alphabet". Classical Philology. 22 (2): 136–141. doi:10.1086/360882. ISSN 0009-837X. S2CID 162355528.
  47. ^ a b Colless 2010, p. 90.
  48. ^ a b c Bar-Ron, Michael S. (2021-01-01). "The Exodus Inscriptions at Serabit el-Khadim ((NOTE: In light of new evidence, my approach to Sinai 361 has changed.))". THE EXODUS INSCRIPTIONS AT SERABIT EL-KHADIM.
  49. ^ Colless 2010, p. 94, fig. 2.
  50. ^ a b Vainstub, Daniel; Mumcuoglu, Madeleine; Hasel, Michael G.; Hesler, Katherine M.; Lavi, Miriam; Rabinovich, Rivka; Goren, Yuval; Garfinkel, Yosef. "A Canaanite's Wish to Eradicate Lice on an Inscribed Ivory Comb from Lachish" (PDF). Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  51. ^ "šnn / Semitic roots". The Free Dictionary. Farlex, Inc. Retrieved December 7, 2023.
  52. ^ Butin, Romain F. (1928). "The Serâbît Inscriptions: II. The Decipherment and Significance of the Inscriptions". The Harvard Theological Review. 21 (1): 9–67. ISSN 0017-8160.
  53. ^ Butin, Romain F. (1932). "The Protosinaitic Inscriptions". The Harvard Theological Review. 25 (2): 130–203. ISSN 0017-8160.


Primary sources

Secondary sources

Wadi el-Hol