|Era||Attested from c. 3000 BC. Effectively extinct from about 2000–1800 BC; used as classical language until about 100 AD.|
26th century BC Sumerian document
Sumerian (𒅴𒂠 EME.G̃IR15 "
Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language around 2000 BC (the exact dating being subject to debate), but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Akkadian-speaking Mesopotamian states such as
The history of written Sumerian can be divided into several periods:
Archaic Sumerian is the earliest stage of inscriptions with linguistic content, beginning with the
Some versions of the chronology may omit the Late Sumerian phase and regard all texts written after 2000 BC as Post-Sumerian. The term "Post-Sumerian" is meant to refer to the time when the language was already extinct and preserved by