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Introduction to Sumerian


Admission requirements



Sumerian is one of the oldest written languages in the world. It is written with the cuneiform script, which the Sumerians invented around 3200 BC. More than 100,000 Sumerian texts have come down to us on clay tablets and stone artifacts, including thousands of historical inscriptions and literary texts. Most of these date to the period from about 3200 until 1700 BC, when Sumerian was the main written language of southern Mesopotamia. In this course we will cover the basic grammar of Sumerian and read a number of simple texts.

Course objectives

After this course you can

  • describe the basic principles of the Sumerian script and spelling,

  • analyze the grammatical structure of simple Sumerian forms and clauses,

  • define the meanings of about 300 frequent Sumerian words, and

  • translate simple Sumerian texts.


The timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours:

  • 26 hours attending the seminars:

  • 52 hours preparing the seminars

  • 20 hours preparing the mid-term assignment

  • 42 hours preparing for the written exam

Assessment method


Assessment will be in three parts:

  • weekly written tests on vocabulary and grammar (20% of the final grade)

  • a mid-term assignment of a text to be read independently (20% of the final grade)

  • a written exam on the subject matter of the course (60% of the final grade)


The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written exam must have a grade above 5.49 .


If the final grade is below 6.0, the written exam can be repeated.

Exam review

Students can view their marked examinations and request (additional) feedback for a period of 30 days after the publication of the grades.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing the study materials and course information

  • uploading assignments and giving feedback on them

Reading list

The study materials will be provided through Blackboard at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Bram Jagersma


  • This course will be taught in Dutch if there are no foreign students participating in it.

  • This course is an Admission requirement for the course Sumerian Texts: Gudea