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Decoding antiquity: Eight scripts that still can't be read
New Scientist ^ | 27 May 2009 | Andrew Robinson

Posted on 05/29/2009 9:14:19 PM PDT by BGHater

WRITING is one of the greatest inventions in human history. Perhaps the greatest, since it made history possible. Without writing, there could be no accumulation of knowledge, no historical record, no science - and of course no books, newspapers or internet.

The first true writing we know of is Sumerian cuneiform - consisting mainly of wedge-shaped impressions on clay tablets - which was used more than 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Soon afterwards writing appeared in Egypt, and much later in Europe, China and Central America. Civilisations have invented hundreds of different writing systems. Some, such as the one you are reading now, have remained in use, but most have fallen into disuse.

These dead scripts tantalise us. We can see that they are writing, but what do they say?

That is the great challenge of decipherment: to reach deep into the past and hear the voices of the dead. When the Egyptian hieroglyphs were deciphered in 1823, they extended the span of recorded history by around 2000 years and allowed us to read the words of Ramses the Great. The decipherment of the Mayan glyphs revealed that the New World had a sophisticated, literate civilisation at the time of the Roman empire.

So how do you decipher an unknown script? There are two minimum requirements. First, there has to be enough material to work with. Secondly, there must be some link to a known language. It helps enormously if there is a bilingual inscription or identifiable proper names - the Rosetta Stone (see image), for example, is written in both ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek, and also contains the name of the Ptolemy dynasty.

(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...


TOPICS: History; Science
KEYWORDS: cuneiform; epigraphy; epigraphyandlanguage; etruscan; godsgravesglyphs; indusvalleyscript; isthmian; language; lineara; linearb; meroitic; minoan; olmec; phaistos; phaistosdisc; phaistosdisk; protoelamite; rongorongo; science; script; writing; zapotec

1 posted on 05/29/2009 9:14:20 PM PDT by BGHater
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To: SunkenCiv

Ancient Languages chicken scratch ping.


2 posted on 05/29/2009 9:15:17 PM PDT by BGHater (It's easy to be a Conservative now.)
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To: BGHater

3 posted on 05/29/2009 9:22:22 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: BGHater
Eight scripts that still can't be read

Nine, if you count Obambi's birth certificate.

4 posted on 05/29/2009 9:25:12 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (What's your name? Who's your daddy?)
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To: BGHater
On my trip to London a number of years ago, on of my highlights was to see the original Rosetta Stone on display at the British Museum. Now if the Brits would only return the Elgin Marbles back to the Greeks from whom they were really stolen
5 posted on 05/29/2009 9:26:00 PM PDT by Lockbar (March toward the sound of the guns.)
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To: JoeProBono

That one is simple.

Obama is the greatest and so on.


6 posted on 05/29/2009 9:30:42 PM PDT by razorback-bert (We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.)
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To: JoeProBono; Salamander; Markos33; GSP.FAN

I’m pretty sure I know what the first lines of that script say:

Moe: Mah Hah?

Curly: Ah Hah! Raz-banyah Yatchee benefucci a tinnimah coronji?

Moe: Yaskee-taskee a tiba gibbah sahee.


7 posted on 05/29/2009 9:33:10 PM PDT by shibumi (" ..... then we will fight in the shade.")
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To: BGHater

Some of these scripts are not likely to contibute much to our knowledge of world civilization, but Linear A, Etruscan, Meroitic, and Indus could tell us a lot about the early Minoan, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations, and everything about Indus Valley civilization.


8 posted on 05/29/2009 9:35:25 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ("men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." -- Edmund Burke)
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To: razorback-bert

9 posted on 05/29/2009 9:36:28 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

...What?


10 posted on 05/29/2009 9:41:29 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: shibumi

Uhh ehh uh ah ah
Ting tang walla walla bing bang
Uhh ehh uh ah ah
Ting tang walla walla bing bang


11 posted on 05/29/2009 9:41:32 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: BGHater

I’ve got more than 8 scripts I wrote myself that even I can’t read.


12 posted on 05/29/2009 9:43:16 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: JoeProBono

Hmmm. That tells a story about a flying saucer....


13 posted on 05/29/2009 9:47:44 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: JoeProBono

LOL, Zero with a pancake on his head...!


14 posted on 05/29/2009 9:48:37 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: JoeProBono
Probably an ancient tax form, if so it will remain undeciphered forever.
15 posted on 05/29/2009 9:51:10 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Lancey Howard

16 posted on 05/29/2009 9:51:52 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

Oh my lord,,,i decoded some of it!!
It says, “beware the rise of communism. A great nation under attack by,,,,”

Im going to have to work on it more,,its some african name starting with an “O”.


17 posted on 05/29/2009 10:04:16 PM PDT by DesertRhino (Dogs earn the title of "man's best friend", Muslims hate dogs,,add that up.)
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To: JoeProBono
I can't read all of it but what I understand from this script is that it goes something like this -
There once was a beautiful woman from Nantucket.....
18 posted on 05/29/2009 10:04:29 PM PDT by jongaltsr (Hope to See ya in Galt's Gulch.)
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To: jongaltsr

19 posted on 05/29/2009 10:08:04 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: BGHater

Not surprisingly, alot of the earliest tablets and scripts have been shown to be pretty mundane - 24 bushels of wheat, 14 cows, that sort of thing. Basic accounting and contracts.


20 posted on 05/29/2009 10:13:55 PM PDT by djf (Man up!! Don't be a FReeloader!! Make a donation today!)
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To: BGHater

“How hard shall the aftermath be of the great election of year 5769 A.M. But woe to him who empowered him!”


21 posted on 05/29/2009 10:18:39 PM PDT by scott7278 (Obama, Klaatu barada nikto!)
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To: BGHater

“Ishtar.” Now *there’s* a script that shouldn’t have been read.


22 posted on 05/29/2009 10:29:40 PM PDT by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: BGHater

Bump!


23 posted on 05/29/2009 11:26:44 PM PDT by TBP
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Its so obvious...the inscription reads “It’s all Bush’s fault”


24 posted on 05/30/2009 8:43:54 AM PDT by dsrtsage (One half of all people have below average IQ...In the US the number is 53%)
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Highly recommend this book! Amusingly, the author reproduces a letter to The Economist magazine regarding its article on the Phaistos Disk. The letter calls it a century old fraud (the disk, not the magazine) that could be exposed as such using thermoluminescence. [p 298].
Lost Languages: The Enigma Of The Worlds Undeciphered Scripts Lost Languages:
The Enigma Of The World's
Undeciphered Scripts

by Andrew Robinson

25 posted on 05/30/2009 6:38:22 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: BGHater; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Thanks BGHater.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


26 posted on 05/30/2009 8:57:56 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: SunkenCiv

It’s handy being cuneilingual...


27 posted on 05/30/2009 9:08:49 PM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 131 of our national holiday from reality.)
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To: JoeProBono

Nantucket Nectars....good stuff. My favorite is grapeade. Not sure if you’re familiar with a company called Jones. They make a really good root beer.


28 posted on 05/30/2009 9:49:04 PM PDT by csense
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To: BGHater

Thanks for the map, I had no idea. This is fascinating.


29 posted on 05/31/2009 5:00:17 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: djf
Not surprisingly, alot of the earliest tablets and scripts have been shown to be pretty mundane - 24 bushels of wheat, 14 cows, that sort of thing. Basic accounting and contracts.

My husband CT scanned a clay tablet within a clay "envelope" to see if the script inside was legible and decipherable. Just a couple of days before he was to present his paper at a conference in Jerusalem, they were finally able to manipulate the image well enough for a scholar, in California I think, to read it. It was indeed a contract or shopping list of some sort. It was a interesting project for him.

30 posted on 05/31/2009 5:35:54 AM PDT by stayathomemom (Beware of cat attacks while typing!)
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To: BGHater

Our alphabet developed from the Phoenician alphabet. Clay tablets were found at the ancient Ugarit site in northern Syria showing a list of 30 letters. Each letter is based on a “one sound, one sign” system. The alphabet was developed around 14th century BC and is considered the oldest alphabet in the world.

Check out this site for more about Ugarit and to see an alphabet clay tablet:
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/syria/ugarit.htm .


31 posted on 05/31/2009 6:18:56 AM PDT by Atlantian
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To: Lockbar

Lord Elgin bought the Elgin marbles from the owners at that time. If he hadn’t they have been destroyed by now. The belong to the British.


32 posted on 05/31/2009 8:53:37 AM PDT by Little Ray (Do we have a Plan B?)
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To: Little Ray

That is utter nonsense.

HE DID NOT.

He bribed and illegally obtained the items.

HE HAD NO DOCUMENTS OR ANYTHING.

The furma only appeared TWO WEEKS after parlament rejected the purchase. It was an english translation of an itallian translation of a lost turkish document recreated from memory. not a joke.

They were 100% taken without authority from the Sultan.
Who ordered, btw no antiquities taken from his lands. In response to the wide spread grave robbing in egypt and across the mediteranian.

The british btw, SCRAPED OFF ALL THE PAINT on the sculptures. They were all painted. In addition the british actually BLEACHED with acid the marbles in order that they match the gift shop copies.

ON TOP OF ALL THIS, Mr. Duveen used to make copies off the originals. The impressons doing their own damage as the negative was removed. This was to sell copies to his aristocratic friends. In order to avoid criminal charges for selling fakes as originals, duveen donated the museum.

Sorry there are wayy too many law review and journalist entries that contradict that myth. The only schollars who buy that cool aid that the british took care fo the marbles are the british museum snobs.


33 posted on 05/31/2009 9:11:37 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: null and void

[years later at the FR reunion] “And that was the thread that got ‘Civ and null’n’void banned. I was there, I saw the whole thing.”


34 posted on 05/31/2009 9:15:53 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: Lockbar

The new Parthenon Museum is open. It is absolutly stunning.

Most people do not realize Elgin did not have time to steal all the marbles and almost have of the original freeze is still in Greece.

The new museum recreates the ENTIRE story. The parts held in british custody are left white. The white parts are missing. It is an absolutly stunning. The museum has a three story glass wall looking upon the parthenon.

The museum itself was voted state of the art for the presentation of the scuptures take by elgin to decorate his house.


35 posted on 05/31/2009 9:16:04 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: null and void

Oh, and LOLOLOLOL!


36 posted on 05/31/2009 9:16:22 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: SunkenCiv
[years later at the FR reunion] “And that was the thread that got ‘Civ and null’n’void banned. I was there, I saw the whole thing.”

Yeah. I miss Civ and I remember nully. He was a cunning linguist...

37 posted on 05/31/2009 9:32:31 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 132 of our national holiday from reality.)
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To: null and void

(a year later) I just found that again, LOLOL!


38 posted on 07/06/2010 10:08:36 AM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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FAIL! :')
Minoan Greek
U of Mt Mansfield Library
Language Finger
updated 11-21-2003
Minoan Greek (Indo-Hittite) belongs to the Hellenic sub-branch of the Indo-European branch of the Indo-Hittite family of languages. Along with Mycenaean Greek, the two languages were both called Cretan, and for many years were thought to comprise a separate language family. Recent research has established that both are clearly sister languages to Greek. Inscriptions formerly called Linear A, from 1600 B.C., are now known to be in Minoan Greek.
· A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M ·
· N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z ·

39 posted on 07/06/2010 10:18:51 AM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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