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Breakthrough in world's oldest undeciphered writing
BBC News ^ | Monday, October 22, 2012 | Sean Coughlan

Posted on 10/22/2012 8:03:13 PM PDT by SunkenCiv

The world's oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics.

This international research project is already casting light on a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level...

Dr Dahl's secret weapon is being able to see this writing more clearly than ever before... a big black dome is clicking away and flashing out light...

It's 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...

The clay tablets were put inside this machine, the Reflectance Transformation Imaging System, which uses a combination of 76 separate photographic lights and computer processing to capture every groove and notch on the surface of the clay tablets.

It allows a virtual image to be turned around, as though being held up to the light at every possible angle...

But this is painstaking work. So far Dr Dahl has deciphered 1,200 separate signs, but he says that after more than 10 years study much remains unknown, even such basic words as "cow" or "cattle"...

He's discovered that the original texts seem to contain many mistakes -- and this makes it extremely tricky for anyone trying to find consistent patterns...

Even without knowing all the symbols, Dr Dahl says it's possible to work out the context of many of the messages on these tablets.

The numbering system is also understood, making it possible to see that much of this information is about accounts of the ownership and yields from land and people. They are about property and status, not poetry.

(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...


TOPICS: History; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: epigraphyandlanguage; godsgravesglyphs; iran; language; protoelamite
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Experts working on proto-Elamite hope they are on the point of a 'breakthrough'

Experts working on proto-Elamite hope they are on the point of a breakthrough

1 posted on 10/22/2012 8:03:14 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
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To: SunkenCiv

It says...0bummer is toast!


2 posted on 10/22/2012 8:04:37 PM PDT by Jane Long (Soli Deo Gloria!)
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To: SunkenCiv
could be about to be decoded

Could be, maybe not. While it's nice to hear about what people are working on it would be nice once in a while to read a story about an actual discovery.

3 posted on 10/22/2012 8:08:49 PM PDT by DManA
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To: SunkenCiv

Cretan Linear A?

Woops. no.


4 posted on 10/22/2012 8:19:12 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: SunkenCiv
" making it possible to see that much of this information is about accounts of the ownership and yields from land and people. They are about property and status, not poetry."

So... it's a cash register receipt for foodstamp purchaes?


5 posted on 10/22/2012 8:19:39 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 ( If you think I'm crazy, just wait until you talk to my invisible friend.)
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To: SunkenCiv

6 posted on 10/22/2012 8:21:01 PM PDT by dfwgator (World Series bound and picking up steam, GO GET 'EM,TIGERS!)
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To: SunkenCiv

do they know if its right side up or not and which way its read from left to right, top to bottom?

Maybe its like Korean and symbols are actually syllables, not letters and the sounds tell us nothing about what the words mean.


7 posted on 10/22/2012 8:23:01 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: SunkenCiv
"But this is painstaking work. So far Dr Dahl has deciphered 1,200 separate signs, but he says that after more than 10 years study much remains unknown, even such basic words as "cow" or "cattle"..."

This has now been Translated


8 posted on 10/22/2012 8:24:01 PM PDT by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: BwanaNdege

Of course without knowing what the sounds mean, this alphabet is worthless

9 posted on 10/22/2012 8:29:01 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL

“...a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level...”

In the Middle East, slaves living at death’s door step is nothing new.


10 posted on 10/22/2012 8:54:37 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
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To: GeronL

ITS A COOK BOOK!


11 posted on 10/22/2012 8:55:09 PM PDT by 50sDad (A Liberal prevents me from telling you anything here.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Pretty slow way to tell me the cows are out.

Hopefully, the message is of much more import..


12 posted on 10/22/2012 8:56:44 PM PDT by One Name (Ultimately, the TRUTH is a razor's edge and no man can sit astride it.)
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To: dfwgator

The Winner!


13 posted on 10/22/2012 9:07:08 PM PDT by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: One Name

I think I see M’s and O’s on that tablet... easy to Photoshop for someone who knows how...


14 posted on 10/22/2012 9:18:57 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: 50sDad

Twilight Zone show?


15 posted on 10/22/2012 9:22:56 PM PDT by TruthWillWin (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money.)
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To: GeronL

God has a most excellent sense of humor, considering how fallen 98% of Creation is...

Now we see through a glass darkly.


16 posted on 10/22/2012 9:32:12 PM PDT by One Name (Ultimately, the TRUTH is a razor's edge and no man can sit astride it.)
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To: Jane Long

Nope...it says 16 trillion in debt...look at the 0’s.


17 posted on 10/22/2012 9:35:07 PM PDT by Conservative4Ever (The Obamas = rude, crude and socially unacceptable)
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To: Jane Long
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Toast? Did someone mention toast?

18 posted on 10/22/2012 9:47:48 PM PDT by newheart (The greatest trick the left ever pulled was convincing the world it was not a religion.)
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To: BwanaNdege

19 posted on 10/22/2012 9:49:46 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: GladesGuru

The non-slave average people probably weren’t much better off


20 posted on 10/22/2012 9:51:43 PM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: SunkenCiv
...but he says that after more than 10 years study much remains unknown, even such basic words as "cow" or "cattle"...

Context is everything. Once you get the rest the little things fall into place.

Send lawyers guns and money the "cow" has hit the fan!

21 posted on 10/22/2012 9:52:18 PM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: DManA
You know that once they claim it's been decoded, someone will come along 10 years later and prove it's something totally different. It almost makes me want to carved a stone with gobblety goop and bury it in the backyard in hopes someone digs it up in 5000 years.
22 posted on 10/22/2012 10:05:25 PM PDT by bgill (Evil doers are in every corner of our government. Have we passed the time of no return?)
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To: SunkenCiv

Civ, you come up with all sorts of interesting articles. Thanks for posting this one.


23 posted on 10/22/2012 10:08:59 PM PDT by Two Kids' Dad (((( America or 0bama. You can't choose both. ))))
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To: 50sDad
ITS A COOK BOOK!

To Serve Man

24 posted on 10/22/2012 10:10:20 PM PDT by sauron ("Truth is hate to those who hate Truth" --unknown)
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To: SunkenCiv; Revolting cat!; JoeProBono

IBTIAGTM comments
(In Before The It’s All Greek To Me!)


25 posted on 10/22/2012 10:40:55 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: a fool in paradise
Dude, it's a variation of a tea cracker the Euros call the Petit Beurre! I just bought a package that was made in Turkey


26 posted on 10/22/2012 10:45:49 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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Beats me how it takes FORTY FIVE MINUTES to get the system to accept this new topic, but when it comes back to show it's been posted, there are two replies ahead.
Lost Languages: The Enigma Of The Worlds Undeciphered Scripts Lost Languages:
The Enigma Of The World's
Undeciphered Scripts

by Andrew Robinson


27 posted on 10/23/2012 3:19:46 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Renfield; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Renfield!

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


28 posted on 10/23/2012 3:21:55 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Two Kids' Dad

Thanks, but Renfield posted it, and I agree, it’s a nice find!


29 posted on 10/23/2012 3:30:52 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: DManA
That jumped out at me too.

could be about to be

I'm using that in the next report to my boss: "That project could be about to be finished."

30 posted on 10/23/2012 3:32:44 AM PDT by Textide
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To: SunkenCiv

Maybe it’s just art?


31 posted on 10/23/2012 3:40:52 AM PDT by Rebelbase (The most transparent administration ever is clear as mud.)
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To: dfwgator

OMG. brilliant!


32 posted on 10/23/2012 3:45:05 AM PDT by ZinGirl (kids in college....can't afford a tagline right now)
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To: SunkenCiv

Maybe it’s Old Egyptish from that Joseph Smith fellow!


33 posted on 10/23/2012 4:01:58 AM PDT by wildandcrazyrussian
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To: SunkenCiv

Oogum oogum boogum boogum
boogum now baby you’re castin’ your spell on me...


34 posted on 10/23/2012 4:27:22 AM PDT by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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To: GeronL
Of course without knowing what the sounds mean, this alphabet is worthless

In deciphering the Rosetta Stone, Champollion made the assumption that the language used in the Hieroglyphics was related to modern Coptic. From what is known of ancient middle eastern languages it may be possible to make inroads once sounds have been reconstructed.

35 posted on 10/23/2012 4:56:17 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (Obama: Brought to you by the letter "O" and the number 16 trillion.)
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To: 50sDad

You're showing your age. Then again -- so am I ;-)
36 posted on 10/23/2012 5:08:10 AM PDT by Condor51 (Si vis pacem, para bellum.)
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To: GeronL
Decoding individual letters is one thing, but why do they think they know how to pronounce the letters?
37 posted on 10/23/2012 5:15:16 AM PDT by Pecos (Double tap: the only acceptable gun control)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I have been trying to study Korean, knowing how to pronounce the letters/symbols does nothing to tell me what the words mean. Now if the know of a similar language that they can study it would probably help.


38 posted on 10/23/2012 5:49:23 AM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL

That was my point. Korean is something of an isolated language. Most languages have modern cousins, e.g., German and Dutch, any of the Scandinavian languages with one another, all of the Slavic Languages, most of the Romance languages except French. Manx and Erse. Hebrew and Aramaic and Arabic.


39 posted on 10/23/2012 6:12:26 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (Obama: Brought to you by the letter "O" and the number 16 trillion.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

Spoken Korean did get mothered by Chinese long ago, but written Korean is very different from other Eastern languages. Chinese might have thousands of different symbols but Korean has 24. Plus the subject-object-verb order is a bit strange to me.

Some of the literal translations are funny. “His neck is dry” means he is thirsty.


40 posted on 10/23/2012 6:26:49 AM PDT by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: SunkenCiv

Kilroy was here?

I bet that draws a lot of blank looks from the current generation.


41 posted on 10/23/2012 6:30:40 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (OPSEC)
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To: SunkenCiv

“Warning: Anyone who reads this will release Cthulhu”


42 posted on 10/23/2012 6:49:42 AM PDT by techcor (I hope Obama succeeds, in being a one term president.)
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To: JoeProBono

Wonderful!

I Laughed out loud!

(Ain’t PhotoShop wonderful?” One of these days I’ll have to buy a copy!)


43 posted on 10/23/2012 6:53:58 AM PDT by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: dfwgator

LOL. Classic.


44 posted on 10/23/2012 6:59:14 AM PDT by SIDENET ("If that's your best, your best won't do." -Dee Snider)
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To: sauron

new update, its still a cook book, but the scanner picked up more words now the title reads “How To Serve Man”


45 posted on 10/23/2012 7:00:32 AM PDT by Docbarleypop
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To: BwanaNdege

>Ain’t PhotoShop wonderful?” One of these days I’ll have to buy a copy!

Don’t.
It’s far too expensive. I do stuff pretty much just using IrfanView.


46 posted on 10/23/2012 7:30:35 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: dfwgator

“A stinkin’ COMMERCIAL??”


47 posted on 10/23/2012 10:25:48 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: JoeProBono

Thanks! I’ve just downloaded IrfanView and will give it a try.


48 posted on 10/23/2012 12:23:50 PM PDT by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: SunkenCiv
"But this is painstaking work. So far Dr Dahl has deciphered 1,200 separate signs, but he says that after more than 10 years study much remains unknown, even such basic words as "cow" or "cattle"..."

It is the long-lost To Serve Beef: The Complete Party Guide To Hosting A Beef Bash in Bashan cookbook.

49 posted on 10/23/2012 12:25:38 PM PDT by ApplegateRanch (Love me, love my guns!©)
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To: BwanaNdege

I also use Paint.NET


50 posted on 10/23/2012 3:08:48 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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