The Ebla "Sign-list"
Artifact: Clay tablet
Period: ED IIIb (ca. 2500-2340)
Current location: National Museum of Syria, Idlib
Text genre, language: Lexical; Eblaite
Description: Although from a peripheral source, the "Sign-list" from Ebla represents our most important source for the phonetics of 3rd millennium Mesopotamia. The list came down to us in two versions. One version (Archi 1987, text A) is what actually can be called a sign-list (though it should be put in contrast to other Early Dynastic "sign-lists" recently published, which are in some sense predecessors of later sign syllabaries as Ea), since it organises its entries mainly through graphical sign-shapes. The second version adds to each sign form a reading with Semitic ending (e.g., the sign KISAL is read gi-za-lum etc.). Many entries at the beginning of the list directly refer to the professions and titles list Lu2 A (NAMESZDA). It is therefore quite certain that this list was a product of the Ebla scribes and has not been imported to Ebla from Mesopotamia as many other lists. (Klaus Wagensonner, University of Oxford)
Handcopy: Archi 1987, fig. 3-4
Edition: Pettinato, G. 1981. Testi lessicali monolingui della biblioteca L. 2769. Materiali epigrafici di Ebla 3, nos. 52 (and 51); Archi, A. 1987. "The 'Sign-list' from Ebla". In: C.H. Gordon, G.A. Rendsburg and N.H. Winter (eds) Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language I (Winona Lake), 91 - 113.