Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions

Brian Tucker jbtucker at
Thu Sep 21 21:45:39 EDT 2000

I am looking for a critique of the understanding of proto-sinaitic
inscriptions and their use in arguing for the linguisitic origins of

1868-69 Palmer discovered an inscription at Wadi Magharah.
1905 Petrie excavated at Serabit el-Khadem in Sinai and discovered 11 more
inscriptions on objects and stealae. He speculated that the inscriptions
were in a linear alphabet and written by Syrian miners working at mines in
the Sinai.
1915 Sir Alan Gardiner recognized the characters as acrophonic and
deciphered: l - b'lt meaning 'belonging to Ba'lat(h).'
1927 Harvard University Expedition discovered 3 more inscriptions.
1929 FInnish Expedition discovered another inscription.
1930-35 Harvard University & Catholic University Expedition directed by
Dr. Lake doubled the number of inscriptions discovered.
1947-48 W.F. Albright examined cave inscriptions at Serabit el-Khadem
along with inscriptions housed at the Cairo Museum from previous
expeditions and identified 19 characters of the alphabet used.
1961 Dr. Gerster, of Switzerland discovered two more texts at Wadi Nasb.
1966 Albright identified four more characters used in the inscriptions
bringing the number of characters in the alphabet to 23.
1969 Albright dates the inscriptions as Late Bronze from approximately
1525-1475 BCE based on paleography, cognate comparison and correlation
with the Lachish prism and dagger inscription. They were written in an
unknown Northwest Semitic dialect

That's were my research stops...

Can someone bring me up to date on proto-sinaitic inscriptions? Have
anymore been discovered?

Has anything more recent than 1969 been written concerning the
proto-sinaitic inscriptions?

What is the significance of these inscriptions?

Brian Tucker
Riverview, MI

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