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Nabataean Scripts

John F. Healey
Compiled for the Nabataean Conference, October 2002

 Type Meaning Characteristics Main Examples
M Monumental (on tombs and monuments) Lapidary/formal; some ligatures; some calligraphic traits  Mada'in Salih tombs, Turkmaniyyah Tomb in Petra
 FCa Formal cursive type a Soft material; formal/legal; some calligraphic traits Yadin 36+ XHev/Se Nab. 1, Yadin 1,2 (lower), 3(lower)
 FCb Formal cursive type a Soft material; formal/legal; fiine chancery style Yadin 2 (upper), 3 (upper)
I Informal cursive Soft and hard materials, including dipinti; legal, religious and graffiti; irregular; crude in execution Yadin 6,9, XHev/Se Nab 5, Ramm dipinti


While this may be confusing to some folk, it essential tells us that the Nabataeans used different scripts for different purposes. Some scripts were used only for inscribing on monuments, others for legal purposes, and others for religious, or graffiti.