On the use of “check marks” in cuneiform writing
In cuneiform writing, there is a little-studied category of signs known as “check marks” (German Merkzeichen or Archivvermerke, French coches or marques de contrôle). They have the shape of simple horizontal, vertical, oblique and angular wedges or scratches, their repetitions, combinations or impressions of the round end of the stylus. The functions of the check marks may be divided into intratextual and extratextual ones. The intratextual marks helped the scribe proofread the text after it had been composed. The extratextual marks pointed at some relation between the text and the real world. The check marks of both kinds appear as early as in archaic texts of Uruk, at the turn of the 3rd millennium BC, and remain in use until the 1st millennium BC. The first part of the study shall provide a brief overview of the check marks that were in use in different cuneiform corpora. The second part shall describe the use of check marks in a particular cuneiform corpus, the archives of Mari (Tell Hariri) dating to the early 18th century BC.