Skip to comments.German Scientists: Europe's Oldest Script Found In Bulgaria (Minoan)
Posted on 05/19/2005 2:56:33 PM PDT by blam
German Scientists: Europe's Oldest Script Found in Bulgaria
Lifestyle: 18 May 2005, Wednesday.
Ancient tablets found in South Bulgaria are written in the oldest European script found ever, German scientists say.
The tablets, unearthed near the Southern town of Kardzhali, are over 35-centuries old, and bear the ancient script of the Cretan (Minoan) civilization, according to scientists from the University of Heidelberg, who examined the foundings. This is the Cretan writing, also known as Linear A script, which dates back to XV-XIV century B.C.
The discovery proves the theory of the Bulgarian archaeologists that the script on the foundings is one of the oldest known to humankind, the archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov announced Wednesday.
Ovcharov, who is heading the archaeological expedition in the ancient Perperikon complex near Kardzhali, called the discovery "revolutionary". It throws a completely different light on Bulgaria's history, he said in an interview for the National Television.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein!
Linear B used the Minoan alphabet (actually a syllabary) to write Greek. Linear A uses the same characters for an unknown language which has resisted any effort to translate it. (If Michael Ventris couldn't do it, I dunno who could. He was a genius who died too young.) It's believed to be the language spoken by the Minoan inhabitants of Crete before the Dorian (Greek) invasion.
The extant documents are mostly inventory/tax lists, not a good sample to decipher an unknown language. Maybe these new documents will enable another attempt. But since they're tablets, they're probably just more tax rolls!
(That death and taxes thing again.)
"XV-XIV century B.C."
For some reason, I can't stand that. Pick a darn format you want to use and go with it!
There's something extremely depressing about the oldest writing known being for tax rolls.
That is too bad.
Were no epic poets tax collectors?
But of course if you're running a small kingdom like Crete with tributary princes, you better keep track of who has brought how much grain and oil and "ti-ro-pi-de" (tripods - the word that enabled Ventris to break the code).
Writing was invented to keep track of the taxes. (See Domesday Book for a more recent example.) Religious monuments and public proclamations came later.
I'd actually feel better if the earliest writing was soft-core porn than tax records :-)
Well ... yeah ... but technically that was the pre-viagran record.
Technically, tax rolls are records of screwing...
LOL. I think you're on to something.
But not mutual screwing....
IIRC, the oldest Sumerian tablets (around 3300 B.C. - older than the Egyptian hieroglyphs which began around 3100-3000) are in an unknown language, but they are lists, with quantities, of repetitive characters, which sounds an awful lot like an inventory, which means . . . taxes!
IIRC, Manes' stela is ca. 3200 BC, but I might be wrong.
The Narmer palette dates to around 3200 B.C. and according to the Egyptian tourist board website is one of the oldest examples of hieroglyphs.
Re: Linear A: unless the underlying language is discovered, it's not going to be deciphered, regardless of the number of scrolls available. There are lots of examples of Etruscan writing.
Well, I might be messed up. I meant that well-known from illustrations panel with two beasts with super-long intertwined necks and large Pharaonic figure. I remember reading the description that it was a panel (or stela?) signifying the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, that it was about 3200 BC and that the unification was done by Menes. But my memory could have let me down.