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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: elam; elamite; elamites; epigraphyandlanguage; godsgravesglyphs; iran; jiroft; language; marhashi; protoelamite; warahshe; yusefmajidzadeh
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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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