Skip to comments.A New Type of Inscribed Copper Plate from Indus Valley (Harappan) Civilisation
Posted on 10/17/2014 10:28:15 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
A group of nine Indus Valley copper plates (c. 26002000 BC), discovered from private collections in Pakistan, appear to be of an important type not previously described. The plates are significantly larger and more robust than those comprising the corpus of known copper plates or tablets, and most significantly differ in being inscribed with mirrored characters. One of the plates bears 34 characters, which is the longest known single Indus script inscription. Examination of the plates with x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrophotometry indicates metal compositions, including arsenical copper, consistent with Indus Valley technology. Microscopy of the metal surface and internal structure reveals detail such as pitting, microcrystalline structure, and corrosion, consistent with ancient cast copper artifacts. Given the relative fineness of the engraving, it is hypothesised that the copper plates were not used as seals, but have characteristics consistent with use in copper plate printing. As such, it is possible that these copper plates are by far the earliest known printing devices, being at least 4000 years old.
(Excerpt) Read more at ancient-asia-journal.com ...
The nine copper plates. Top row: Plates 13. Middle row: Plates 46. Bottom row: Plates 79. Scale in centimetres.
Looks like those metal stamps we engraved back in junior high art class.
One of the plates bears 34 characters, which is the longest known single Indus script inscription.
I wonder what that means for decipherment efforts.
Call Glenn Beck. Or that Smith guy....
Has anybody seen my good Water Buffalo serving tray?
Is it a horned water buffalo?
Aside from some oil discoveries, introduction of gasoline/diesel vehicles, there is virtually no indication of any progress since these plates.
IOW Iraq, Pakistan, and other ancient “cradles of civilization.”
Until a bilingual of some sort is found, or an archive of longer texts, probably little headway will be made. Most of those working in the field (that is, not politically motivated non-scholars) agree that the language preserved in the script was agglutinative, but efforts to make it out as an archaic version of Dravidian have failed (and the oldest surviving Dravidian texts are over 1000 years old, that includes some from a Roman-era Red Sea pottery factory); similarly, no one has made Sumerian fit it either.
It’s known to be a writing system, as there’s actually a surviving “welcome to [town name]” type of sign outside one of the old Harappan city sites, but longer texts are mostly lacking, probably because they were originally made on materials which have not survived.
Per the abstract, that appears to be what they were used for. In the Mediterranean, the unique artifact the Phaistos Disk was inscribed with two boustrophodon spirals of characters (one on each face), and the characters were stamped into the clay before firing (the outlines of the block can be seen here and there). Both artifacts were at least a couple thousand years before Gutenberg. :’)
“Groening, rhymes with ‘complaining’.”
Very interesting. Some of the characters look very close to germanic/nordic runes, and of course we know from comparing mythologies and languages that Germanic peoples spent some time in the area.
The style of drawing reminds me of the Lascaux cave paintings though.
Judging by the cup and the bottom...
And the football at the end of the middle row of text....
...it must be an invitation to a SuperBowl Party.
Well, at least it’s good to know they had cocktails
I haven’t seen this mentioned by anyone here, but the fact that these are suspected of being plates used for printing implies a paper-making industry AND an educated public.
The drank Soma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soma) and psychedelic mushroom beverages that were out of this world.
Good thing they didn’t have cars or else the host would have to take the keys away from everybody.
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