Al-Teleiha Cave

Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions from Al-Teleiha cave

Near the temple plateau there is the cave of Al-Teleiha where there is evidence of proto- Sinaitic inscriptions; these are a corpus of inscriptions in a script of a Semitic language, discovered about 100 years ago at a number of sites in South Sinai. Most of these inscriptions are near Serabit el-Khadim and Bir Nasb, at the mines and on some statues found in the Temple of Hathor. They are usually associated with the Second Intermediate Period (1630–1520 B.C.).


These inscriptions, to which scholars and researchers have not yet attributed a precise origin, represent some of the earliest examples of a Semitic alphabetic script. The script comprises 27–29 consonantal and many pictographic signs. These have features similar to the Proto-Canaanite alphabet of around 1800–1500 B.C. and are at the same time clearly influenced by Egyptian hieroglyphs.