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Cuneiform Signs

Analysis and reports to support an international standard for computer encoding of the Cuneiform writing system

Research on the development of Cuneiform signs


Please read the introductions on THIS page before proceeding elsewhere. The buttons above link to materials posted a long time ago. Analyses dating from the beginning of 2004 are linked to from the second section of this page "Before Using This List" below.

Preliminaries towards an extended List of Cuneiform Signs (Second web version, 1 April, 2004.)

Part 1. Sign Names A through F. With numbers from Borger's new list via Ellermeier's publication including them, not yet proofed against Borger's published book.

For Names G through N please click here

For Names O through Z please click here

For numbers and proportions of signs shared among lists ZATU, UET II, Fara LAK, Ur III KWU, UTC February 2004, and Borger 2004, please click here.

Copyright © 2003, 2004. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted for others to use the information on these web pages for preparation of a proposal to Unicode for a standard encoding of Cuneiform. The sign list itself is free of any restrictions. Much of the analytical material in linked pages will be included in an etymological study and concordance to cuneiform signs, to be published shortly, and may be used to validate the sign list, but should not be cited in any detail until it is published (guaranteed 2004).


Before using this list: IMPORTANT

Even after this list is further polished and additional information is added, it should be used only AFTER reading the connected web pages which are small studies of particular sets of signs and particular ways to identify what are distinctive unitary characters, often containing several components, rather than sequences of those components treated as if they were sequences of signs. Click on the following names for some of the other pages which are most relevant. / Evidence seen by comparing different Time Periods. / Sign or Sign Sequence / Artificial Divisions of signs into fragments. / Spacing and Line Breaks as evidence for character boundaries. / Kerning, considered for IGI, SAL, or RU, is a doubtful solution / Variants versus Spellings. / Container Types. / "Cover" Containers ("U" = SHU4, SHU2). / The type SIGN OVER SIGN. / Splits and Mergers. / Gunu, $e$$ig, Tenu ambiguities / ZATU sign triage.


Note on Names:

The names in this list correspond in general with those in the draft presented at the February 2004 UTC meeting, in that they often name complex signs as SIGN x SIGN even if they also have names consisting of a single word. This groups many related signs together. However, common single names which are single signs such as NAB and MUL (two and three components AN) occur *in this web-page list* under their usual names, even though in agreement with the UTC proposal these would be encoded adjacent to each other. They are listed adjacent to each other in the *Etymological Dictionary and Concordance of Cuneiform Signs* which is in preparation and has been made available to several of the encoding participants. There are a few differences reflecting analyses noted above. For example, the Container component name UTUA2 replaces occurrences of "DAG.KISIM5", HUBUR replaces NUNUZ.KISIM5, and TUR3 replaces NUN.LAGAR (which is etymologically NUN x LAGAR). Signs with SHU4 ("U") or SHU2 above them (before the 90-degree rotation) or to the left of them (after the 90-degree rotation) are listed under those names, but appear in the *Etymological Dictionary...* together with the base sign lacking the SHU4 or SHU2 above. Some other signs are named similarly, as "SIGN with SHE (attached, above)" rather than "SHE x SIGN". The Borger numbers and/or UTC February proposal numbers should identify them unambiguously in virtually every case. For the few differences between sign names used here and those in the UTC proposal of February 2004, please click here.

Syntax in Sign Names:

Unicode sign names cannot use parentheses. But the names used here do use parentheses to distinguish names of the type 
NINDA2 x (SHE.A)      vs.  
in order to help readers more easily imagine the sign referred to. In general, these names can easily be converted to Unicode names, since there are very few examples of ambiguity when the parentheses are removed. Names here keep to traditional Assyriological practice by using Container-x-Infix names with "x" rather than "TIMES", and "+" rather than PLUS for ligatures, to make it easier for Assyriologists to revew this kind of list once it is refined. For the same reason, the words "Cuneiform Sign" are omitted from this list, as they are needed only in a final version.

Note on Sign Numbers (including those from Borger's new list):

Five non-breaking space characters are inserted in the list below between the Borger number and the UTC number, and again between the UTC number and the sign name. The presence of either a Borger number or 4 asterisks ****, or a UTC number or five lowercase "o" ooooo, mostly signals a sign which is distinctive and should probably be encoded as a character in the standard, though a few Borger numbers which represent non-distinctive variants may not be signaled yet. Signs with Borger numbers or **** and the word "variant" sometimes represent distinctive signs, not what we in Unicode mean by "variant". Borger numbers with (v) after them represent variants which really are that, not warranting independent encoding. Names without either a Borger number or UTC number and neither **** nor ooooo before them probably represent sequences of signs or variants which are not distinctive, and will be eliminated from the list. Those lines can mostly be disregarded. Because each line of this list was alphabetized separately, lines may not be adjacent to their most closely related signs. There may still be a few names "SIGN.SIGN" for which there is no evidence these are a single sign, though most of these have already been either deleted from this list or their names corrected to "SIGN x SIGN" (etc.) when that is warranted by etymological evidence crossing time periods. A later version may mark those items in the Pennsylvania Sign list but not in Borger's list with PA**, though such items are in general recognizable as signs which have a UTC number but **** instead of a Borger number..


Borger       UTC       Sign Name
****       RRRR        1/2 
B298v       ooooo       (! distinct ? ! )
B839       12000       A
****       ooooo       A with crossing lines
B845       12001       A x A
B840       12002       A x BAD
B843       12006       A x DU6
****       ooooo       A x EN
****       12003       A x (GAN2 TENU)
B846       12004       A x HA
B844       12005       A x IGI
B842       12007       A x MUSH
B841       12008       A x SAG
****       ooooo       A x SHE3 ?
****       ?????       A x SHE3 ? variant ?
****       ooooo       A x SHUBUR
****       ooooo       A x U
****       ooooo       A x ZATU672
****       ?????       A.A
B839a       ooooo       A.AN
B839c       ooooo       A.ENGUR
B839b       ooooo       A.IGI
****       ooooo       A.(LAGAB x KUL)
B223       1200A       AB
****       12015       AB gunu
****       12015       “AB gunu”
****       ooooo       AB gunu sheshig
****       ooooo       AB gunu x (A tenu)
B223v       ooooo       AB variant
****       ?????       AB with ALIM above
****       ooooo       AB with U4 above
****       ooooo       AB with ZU above
****       ooooo       AB x A
B227       1200B       AB x ASH2
            AB x ASH2 variant
****       1200D       AB x GAL
B225       1200E       AB x GAN2 <tenu>
B235       1200C       AB x GIN2
B236 (v)       1200F       AB x HA
B229       12010       AB x IGI energetic
B229v       ooooo       AB x IGI energetic variant
B237       12011       AB x IMIN
B233       ooooo       AB x KI
B234       12012       AB x LAGAB
B224       ooooo       AB x NUN
B259       12365       (AB x PA ? >) ZE2
B226       12013       AB x SHESH
B231       ooooo       AB x U
B232       12014       AB x (U.U.U)
****       ooooo       AB x ZATU659
B672       12016       AB2
****       ?????       AB2 + AB2
****       ?????       AB2 TENU
****       ooooo       AB2 w THREE STROKES above
****       ooooo       AB2 with FOUR STROKES above
****       ?????       AB2 with number
****       ooooo       AB2 with ONE STROKE above
****       ooooo       AB2 with TWO STROKES above
B680       ooooo       AB2 x A
B676       12017       AB2 x BALAG
B674       1201B       AB2 x GAN2 (GIR3 x GAN2)
B674v       12018       AB2 x KAR2
B679       12019       AB2 x (ME.EN)
****       ooooo       (AB2 x SHA3) paired
B677       1201A       AB2 x SHA3, AB2.SHA3
B673       1201B       AB2 x TAK4
****       ooooo       AB2 x Z755, later AB2 x KU
B258       1201C       AD
****             AD3
B127       1201D       AG
B127 lig       ooooo       AG ligature AN+AG
****       ?????       AG TENU
B129       1201E       AG x ERIM
****       1201F       AG x (SAL.GISH)
B128       ooooo       AG x SHITA
****       12020       AG x (SHITA.GISH)
B636       ooooo       AH
B638       ooooo       AH+ME
B639       ooooo       AH+ME.U
B474       12021       AL
****       12029       AL crossing
****             AL sheshig
B478       ooooo       AL x AL
B480       12022       AL x DIM2
B477       12023       AL x GISH
B482       12024       AL x HA
?       12025       AL x KAD3
B481       12026       AL x KI
B479       12027       AL x SHE
B475       ooooo       AL x TAK4
B476       12028       AL x USH
B573       1202A       ALAM
****       ooooo       ALAM paired
B635       1202B       ALEPH
****       ooooo       ALIM
****             ALIM GUNU + PA
****             ALIM GUNU + PA + LAGAB
****       ?????       ALIM with NITA
****       ooooo       ALIM x SHE
****             AM ? (P.S. doubtful)
****             AM ? tenu
B695       1202C       AMAR
****       ooooo       AMAR paired
****       ooooo       AMAR w FOUR STROKES above
****       ooooo       AMAR w THREE STROKES
****       ooooo       AMAR with NUMBER ONE
B697       ooooo       AMAR x KUG
B696       1202D       AMAR x SHE
B010       1202E       AN
****       12031       AN opposed
****       ooooo       (AN.NAGA) opposed
****       1202F       (AN.NAGA) squared
            animal some?
B353       12033       ANSHE
B678       121A9       ANSHE with mane
****       ?????       ANSHE x SAL
B090       12034       APIN
****       ?????       APIN inversum
****       ?????       APIN tenu
****       ooooo       APIN.APIN
****       ooooo       ARINA
****       12037       ARKAB
B001       12039       ASH
B002       12380       ASH + ASH
B011       ooooo       ASH + SUR
*****       1203D       (ASH.TUG2.TUG2.ASH) crossing
B548       12040       ASH2
B862       1238B       ASH3
B217       12384       ASH4
B173       12041       ASHGAB
B710       ooooo       ÅU4 x GIR3
****       ooooo       AZU x ???
B014       12042       BA
B113       12043       BAD
            BAD paired
****       ooooo       BAD with DISH above
            BAD with DISH above variant
****       ?????       BAHAR2
B005       12045       BAL
****       12046       BAL paired
B565       12047       BALAG
****       ooooo       BALAG paired
****       ooooo       BALAG x UZ3
B122       123CF       BAN2
B549       123D1       BANESH
B551 (v)       123D4 123D5       BANIA
B550 (v)       123D2 123D3       BANLIMMU
B465       123D0       BANMIN
B377       ooooo       BANSHUR2
B121       12048       BAR
****       ooooo       BAR x AN
****       ooooo       BAR x TAB ?
B554       12049       BARA2
****             BARIGA
B358       1204A       BI
****       ooooo       BI
****       ooooo       BI with SHE attached
****       1204B       BI x A
B361       1204C       BI x GAR
B360       1204D       BI x (IGI energetic)
****       ?????       BI x TALLY crossing
****             BISEXAGESIMAL120
****             BISEXAGESIMAL1200
****             BISEXAGESIMAL7200
****             BOWL
****             BOWL ONE EIGHTH ??
****             BOWL ONE FIFTH
****             BOWL ONE FOURTH
****             BOWL ONE HALF
****             BOWL ONE NINTH ??
****             BOWL ONE SEVENTH HYP
****             BOWL ONE SIXTH
****             BOWL ONE TENTH ??
****             BOWL ONE THIRD
****             BOWL UPSIDE DOWN
B580       1204E       BU
****       ooooo       BU + KASKAL
****       xxxxx       (BU crossing) as part of signs
B584       12052       BU gunu
B580a       xxxxx       BU paired
            BU paired
B582       1204F       (BU paired) + AB
****       ooooo       (BU paired) + NA2
B582v       ooooo       (BU paired (??)) + AB
B586v2       ooooo       (BU paired (??)) .A.NA
B581       12051 ??       (BU paired (??)) as part of signs
????       ?????       BU TENU
****       ooooo       BU TENU + NA2
****       ooooo       BU x A
****       ooooo       BU x DU6
B806       ooooo       BUL+BUL
B169       12053       BULUG
B169a       12054       BULUG paired
B559       12055       BUR
B574 (vv)       12335       BUR paired (fused)
B008       12056       BUR2
****       ooooo       BUR2 with GAL
****       123B4       BURU
B165       ooooo       BURU14
            combin. EIGHT STROKES above
            combin. SEVEN STROKES above
            combin. THREE STROKES above
            combining '1' below
            combining FIVE STROKES above
            combining FOUR STROKES above
            combining NINE STROKES above
            combining ONE STROKE above
            combining SIX STROKES above
            combining TWO STROKES above
            Container name HUBUR or NISAGGA ? forms vary between "NUNUZ.AB2" and "NUNUZ.KISIM5"
****             COUNT DAYS
****             COUNT MONTHS
****             COUNT YEARS
B561       12057       DA
****       ooooo       DA x NUN ?
B560       12009       DA x SHE
B560a       ooooo       (DA x SHE) + MIN
****       ooooo       DA x TAK4 ?
B438       12058       DAG
****       ooooo       DAG
B438v       ooooo       DAG variant
            DAG x KUR ???
B889       12070       DAM
B183v       12071       DAR
****       ooooo       DARA3 x GAD or x PA ?
****       ooooo       DARA3 x MA ?
B166       12072       DARA3, DAR3
B736       12074       DI
****       123F2       diagonal colon
****       ooooo       DILMUN
B167       12076       DIM
            DIM gunu ?
****       ooooo       DIM x GU
****       ooooo       DIM x IGI (or x BA)
B168       ooooo       DIM x KUR
****       12077       DIM x SHE
B686       12078       DIM2
B119       12079       DIN
****       ?????       DIN tenu
B207       ooooo       DIR
B748       1207B       DISH
            DISH x STROKE
            DISH x TWO STROKES
B350       1207C       DU
B351       1207E       DU gunu
****       ooooo       DU gunu sheshig
B350a       1207D       DU paired
B352       1207F       DU sheshig
            DU x KASKAL
****       ooooo       DU x U2
****       ?????       DU x UD
B721       121F0       DU6
            DU6 paired (used anywhere else?)
B721a       ooooo       (DU6 paired).SHE .SAR (not merely .SHE alone?)
****             DU8
****             DU8 GUNU
            DU8 variant
****             DU8 x HI
****             DU8 x UDU
B242       12080       DUB
****       ooooo       DUB x LAGAB
B245       ooooo       DUB x LAGAB
B244       ooooo       DUB x SHA3
****       ooooo       DUB x SHE
243       12081       DUB x SHE3
****       12082       DUB2
B499       12083       DUG
****       ?????       DUG TENU
****       ooooo       DUG x (? .SA)
****       ooooo       DUG x AB2
****       ooooo       DUG x ANSHE
****       ooooo       DUG x ASH
            DUG x ASH variant
****       ooooo       DUG x ASH variant
****       ooooo       (DUG x ASH) x KUG?
****       ooooo       DUG x BA
****       ooooo       DUG x BALA
****       ooooo       DUG x DIN
****       ooooo       (DUG x DIN) INVERSUM
****       ooooo       DUG x ERIM
****       ooooo       DUG x GA
****       ooooo       DUG x GESHTU
****       ooooo       DUG x GI
****       ooooo       DUG x GIR2
****       ooooo       DUG x GISH
****       ooooo       DUG x HA
****       ooooo       DUG x HI
            DUG x HI
****       ooooo       DUG x HI striped
****       ooooo       DUG x (IGI energetic)
****       ooooo       DUG x KAK
****       ooooo       DUG x KASKAL
            DUG x KASKAL variant
****       ooooo       DUG x KUR
            DUG x KUR
****       ooooo       DUG x LAM
****       ooooo       DUG x (LAM+KUR)
****       ooooo       DUG x MASH
****       ooooo       DUG x MI
****       ooooo       DUG x NAGA
            DUG x NAGA variant
****       ooooo       DUG x NAM2
****       ooooo       DUG x (NAM2 with SHE attach)
****       ooooo       DUG x NI
            DUG x PISAN2
****       ooooo       DUG x SA
****       ooooo       DUG x (SA.GI)
****       ooooo       DUG x SHAH2
****       ooooo       DUG x SHE
            DUG x SHU ?
****       ooooo       DUG x SI4
****       ooooo       DUG x SIG
****       ooooo       DUG x SIG2
****       ooooo       DUG x SUHUR
****       ooooo       DUG x SUKUD
****       ooooo       DUG x TAK4
****       ooooo       DUG x (TAK4.SA)
****       ooooo       DUG x (TAK4.SAL)
****       ooooo       DUG x TI
****       ooooo       DUG x U2a
            DUG x (U2a GISH)
****       ooooo       DUG x U2b
****       ooooo       DUG x UH3
****       ooooo       DUG x (UH3 ? KASKAL)
****       ooooo       DUG x ZATU764
****       ooooo       DUG x ZATU779
****       ooooo       DUG x ZATU780
            DUG x ZATU781
****       ooooo       DUG.SILA2 .BUR
B704       12084       DUGUD
            DUGUD reduced form ???
B720       ooooo       DUL
B836 (v)       12086       DUN3
****       12087       DUN3 gunu
****       12088       DUN3 gunu gunu
****       12089       DUN3 gunu gunu SHESHIG
B557       ooooo       DUN4
      1208A       DUR2
B498       1208B       E
****       1208D       E paired
****       1208C       E x PAP
B498a       ooooo       (E.NUN) paired
****       1208E       (E.NUN) paired variant
B495       1208F       E2
****       12190       E2 sheshig
****       ooooo       E2 variant
****             E2 with NUN
****       ooooo       E2 with NUN
****       ooooo       E2 with (SHU2 x AN) above
****       ooooo       E2 with U4 above
****       12090       E2 x (A.HA.DA)
****       12091       E2 x GAR
****       ooooo       E2 x KASKAL
****       ooooo       E2 x KASKAL
****       ooooo       E2 x KASKAL
****       ooooo       E2 x KASKAL variant ?
****       ooooo       E2 x KASKAL with THREE STROKES above
****       ooooo       E2 x KUR
****       ooooo       E2 x LAM ??
****       12092       E2 x MI
****       ooooo       E2 x PAP
****       ?????       E2 x PAP
****       12093       E2 x SAL
****       12094       E2 x SHE
****       ?????       E2 x tally ?
****       12095       E2 x U
****       ooooo       EDIN x AB2
****       ooooo       EDIN x KAK x KI
****       ooooo       EDIN x SHE x KI
****       12044       EDIN x SHE3
B300       12096       EDIN x SHE3 variant ?
****       ooooo       (EDIN x SHE3) x KI
****       ooooo       (EDIN x SHE3) x NI
****       ooooo       EDIN x ZA
B356       12097       EGIR
****       ooooo       EGIR GUNU
            EGIR x SHE3
****       123AA       EIGHT SHAR2
B867       123C4       EIGHT variant USSU
B538       123C5       EIGHT variant USSU3
B164       12099       EN
B164c       1209D       EN crossing
****       ooooo       EN crossing .IM crossing
****       ooooo       EN energetic
****       xxxxx       (EN (EZEN w SHE)) (NUN x ME) IGI energy
****       xxxxx       (EN NE) (IGI energetic) (NUN w ME)
****       1209E       EN opposed
B164a       ooooo       EN paired
****       1209F       EN squared
B164lig       ooooo       EN with determinative AN
B164lig       ooooo       EN with DISH
****       ooooo       EN x A
****       1209A       EN x GAN2
****       1209B       EN x GAN2 tenu
B164lig2       1209C       EN x ME
            EN x ME with ATU211
****       ooooo       EN x NUN
****       xxxxx       (EN+ME) with LI (LI = SHA x SHE)
****             EN.KID
****       xxxxx       (EN.ME) with GI
****       xxxxx       (EN.ME) with MU or EN w MU
****             EN.ZU
B818       120A0       EREN
B612       120A1       ERIM
****       ooooo       ERIN, SHESH4
B711       ooooo       ESH
B629       ooooo       ESH16
B834       12388       ESH5
B004       12381       ESH6
B434       ooooo       ESHDA
****       ooooo       ESHDA x TWO STROKES
B271       120A3       EZEN
            EZEN ?
****       ?????       EZEN nutillo
****       ?????       EZEN nutillo tenu
B288       120A4       EZEN x A
B289       120A5       EZEN x (A.LAL) or EZEN x (LAL x A)
B290       120A6       EZEN x (A.LAL2)
B282       ooooo       EZEN x ÅE
B272       120A7120A8       EZEN x AN
****       ooooo       EZEN x (AN. ?)
****       ooooo       EZEN x ASH phonetic [rum] PS
B275       120A8       EZEN x BAD
B275v       ooooo       EZEN x BAD var (SAR instead)
B287       120A9       EZEN x DUN3
****       120AA       EZEN x DUN3 gunu SHESHIG
****       ooooo       EZEN x DUN4
****       ooooo       EZEN x EN (phonetic P.S.)
****       ooooo       EZEN x GIR
B278       ooooo       EZEN x GUD
B291       120AB       EZEN x HA
****       120AC       EZEN x (HA gunu)
****       ooooo       EZEN x HAL
****       ooooo       EZEN x (HI x DISH)
B281       120AD       EZEN x IGI energetic
****       ooooo       EZEN x KAB
B277       120AE       EZEN x KASKAL
****       120AF       (EZEN x KASKAL) SQUARED
****       ooooo       EZEN x KI
B284       120B0       EZEN x KUG
B274       120B1       EZEN x LA
B285       120B2       EZEN x LAL2
B273       120B3       EZEN x LI
B286       120B4       EZEN x LU
B280       ooooo       EZEN x MIR
****       ooooo       EZEN x NIM
****       ooooo       EZEN x number?
****       ooooo       EZEN x PA
****       ooooo       EZEN x SAG
****       ooooo       EZEN x SHID
B276       ooooo       EZEN x SI
****       ooooo       EZEN x SIG7
****       ooooo       EZEN x SU
****       ooooo       EZEN x TAR
****       ooooo       EZEN x TUG2 ?
****       ooooo       EZEN x U2
B279       120B5       EZEN x U2
****       ooooo       EZEN x (U2.A)
B283       120B6       EZEN x UD
****       ooooo       EZEN x UN
****       ooooo       EZEN x URUDA ?
****       ooooo       EZEN x Z659
****       ooooo       EZEN x Z759
****       ooooo       EZINU
****       ooooo       EZINU with SHE attached
****       123B9       FIVE BURU
****       123A2       FIVE GESHU
****       123A7       FIVE SHAR2
****       123B8       FOUR BURU
****       123A1       FOUR GESHU
****       123A6       FOUR SHAR2
B860       123BC       FOUR variant LIMMU
B506       123BD       FOUR variant LIMMU4
****             FRACTION EN SIXTEENTH
****             FRACTION HALF
****             FRACTION tiny EIGHT BARS
****             FRACTION tiny FOUR BARS
****             FRACTION tiny NINE BARS
****             FRACTION tiny SIX BARS