Skip main navigation

Cuneiform Demonstration

Dr Magnus Widell gives a short demonstration on cuneiform language and how it's written

In this video, Magnus will spell out a sentence he has found in an accountants clay tablet. He demonstrates how cuneiform was actually written by scribes with the help of a stylus.

At the end of the clip, Magnus has written ‘Three Great Goats’. Can you figure out which cuneiform word translates as which English word based on the things you have learnt over the last few steps? We’ve not shown you the word for ‘goat’ yet, but can you guess which cuneiform word it must be?You’ll notice some variation in the way words can be written, so you’ll need to be flexible in your approach!

Well done. This is far from easy to teach in a short space of time, but hopefully you’ve got a sound, basic understanding of how cuneiform works. Not bad for an hour or two’s work!

This article is from the free online

Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now