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"If you think you know the ancient Persia, think again!"
The decipherment of Linear Elamite writing and its consequence on the history of writing in the World
Dr François Desset

The Event

This is not an event to be missed!
Uncovering secrets of the past by breaking the code of an ancient writing system. Here in Cambridge we are honoured to host Dr Francois Desset, who has deciphered Linear Elamite, the world’s oldest “pure” phonetic writing system. Limited selection of fine reproductions of the Elamite writing tablets and a Jiroft style object will be open for display. Refreshments are also available to be served. Anyone who is interested in ancient Persia, either academic or nonacademic can attend and also there will be questions and answers. The Event Leaflet

Who is François Desset?

Francois Desset is a European archaeologist specializing in Near Eastern Archaeology and a research fellow in CNRS team Archéorient (France) and Tehran University (Iran). Francois got his Ph. D from the Sorbonne in 2011 and has been living in Iran from 2014 to 2020 where he was teaching Bronze Age archaeology in Tehran University. Francois has been committed for several years to the archaeological project of the Halil Rud valley (Jiroft), and is working on Bronze Age Iran and the undeciphered Iranian writing systems, such as Proto-Elamite, Linear-Elamite (now deciphered !!) or the newly found Geometric writing system. He is also the head of a non-profit association, EX ORIENTE LUX (https://exorientelux.org) whose aim is to fund archaeological research in the Near East in general, and in Iran in particular.


Discovered in Susa in 1903, Linear Elamite script is a writing system used in Iran between 2300 and 1880 BC. Mainly undeciphered, François could break the code in 2017 and reached in 2020 a nearly complete decipherment (96% of the signs attested in the texts are now read) of this purely phonetic writing system used to record Elamite, a language isolate (so not related to Persian or Old Persian) attested in Iran at least since the 3rd millennium BC and up to 1000 AD. The scientific publication of the decipherment has been published in the famous German journal Zeitschrift für Assyriologie in June 2022. This is a monumental achievement, comparable to Champollion’s decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing in 1822 or Ventris’ decoding of Linear B in 1952.

The Display Show

We will display a limited selection of fine reproductions of the Elamite writing tablets and a Jiroft style object. We will hand out a small catalog to know more about the display objects and to have a memorable time. *These reproduction objects are from the Persian Wonders collection.

The Linear Elamite and Geometric writting tablet, 2600-2200 BC, clay, Jiroft, Iran.
The Proto Elamite accounting tablet front, 3100-2600 BC Susa, clay. Louvre Museum, Paris
The Proto Elamite accounting tablet back, 3100-2600 BC Susa, clay. Louvre Museum, Paris

Double container, 2600-2200 BC Susa, chlorite. Louvre Museum, Paris
The Jiroft Style - weight, eagel and snake 3rd millennium BC, chlorite, Jiroft, Iran
The Jiroft Style - weight, scorpion man 3rd millennium BC, chlorite, Jiroft, Iran


How do I find the location?

It's 2 min walk from the Main Gate and there will be a sign at the Main Gate to the event. Download The Map

Location & Contact

McCrum Lecture Theatre - Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1RH
Contact: event@persianwonders.com
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Date & Time

Saturday 29th of October 2022. The Event start at 13:30 and end at 16:30

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Persian Wonders is a cultural, non-profit, non-bias, apolitical team and focused on the subject of ancient Persia.
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Unfortunately no, we're closing the booking site before the event.
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Yes of course, one of our staff will help you on a day.
Q. Is this event different from other normal events?
Well, Persian Wonders events are different as we would like to have engaging and memorable events by having special guest, having display show and to create a friendly environment.
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