This device, part sci-fi, part-DIY, is providing the most detailed and high quality images ever taken of these elusive symbols cut into clay tablets. This is Indiana Jones with software.
This way of capturing images, developed by academics in Oxford and Southampton, is being used to help decode a writing system called proto-Elamite, used between around 3200BC and 2900BC in a region now in the south west of modern Iran.
And the Oxford team think that they could be on the brink of understanding this last great remaining cache of undeciphered texts from the ancient world.
Story: Sean Couglan, BBC News | Photo: BBC News