Weekly Sunday workshops exploring the historical beginnings of the ancient system of cuneiform writing are to be introduced at Al Ain National Museum by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, introducing visitors and UAE residents to the writing form’s complex combination of word-signs and script.
Running until 13th October, the free workshops will be facilitated by experts from the Artefacts Department at Al Ain National Museum and are aimed at teaching participants basic skills, including how to write their names in cuneiform.
Cuneiform writing is a method of inscription implemented by engraving mud boards, stone or metal with wedge-shaped inscriptions, which began in Mesopotamia and then spread to south-west Asia.
Al Ain National Museum’s Artefacts Department holds numerous relics which contain cuneiform writing, including a map from 3000BCE which shows the relationships between the Acadians and Babylonians as they traded copper, diorites, dates and onions in ancient Dilmun and Magan.
The Acadians, Babylonians and Assyrians in Mesopotamia used to produce boards from mud dough on which they used to write using a stylus to engrave on the board while still moist. Then the boards would be burnt so that they would harden and the writing becomes preserved.
The oldest artefacts found containing cuneiform date back to the last quarter of the fourth millennium BCE, preceding the Ugaritic alphabet by more than 1,500 years, and remaining prevalent until the first century CE. When cuneiform writing appeared for the first time in Southern Iraq in the mid-fourth millennium BCE, the pictographs rapidly evolved into imprinted styles in the form of cuneiforms that later became known as cuneiform writing.