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Top 5 ancient scriptures disappeared and never deciphered

Zak Ben - Friday, March 21, 2014
Our primitive ancestors who inhabited the Earth 100,000 years ago, communicated through gestures that gradually gave way to the spoken language. As society became more complex, the collective memory of the group was not enough to pass all the important things orally. It was necessary to have a memory outside of orality. "In this way the growth of 'communication' led to 'communication', the development of the media to preserve and reuse the growing volume of information" (David Crowley, Paul Heyer in the book "The History of Communication").

The writing is certainly the most important conquest that man has done to transmit to future generations the knowledge and experience gained over time. Without the deciphering of ancient texts found, the heritage handed down to us today, it would be much poorer, and the 'humanity would have a very limited knowledge of past civilizations. Scattered here and there on Earth, there are still capable of writing to oppose any attempt to read. Despite the efforts of scholars who, in some cases, for generations seek to unravel the key.

Today the ancient scriptures yet to be deciphered can be divided into three categories : the records whose alphabet was deciphered, but you do not know the language, scripture whose alphabet is incomprehensible but for which you know the language, alphabet and language with the Scriptures unknown. To interpret a writing past the student should be able to count on two minimum requirements : an abundance of texts diversified enough to allow an overview of the language and archaeological finds which help to interpret unknown languages. Thus, the outcome of the decryption depends not only on the material that you have but also the possibilities of interpretation that writing provides disappearance.

The ideal would be to work on inscription "multilingual" . Comparing, that is, the same text in different languages, with infinite patience it was possible to arrive at deciphering. Scholars would never deciphered Egyptian igeroglifici without the help of the Rosetta Stone , the dark granite slab discovered in 1822 in Egypt. On this archaeological find is an inscription in three different spellings: hieroglyphic , demotic and ancient greek. Through the comparison with the ancient greek language well known by scholars, they were able to understand the rules and meanings of Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

Although most of the writings of the past have been deciphered by experts in handwriting, those semantics , by archaeologists and historians, there still remain unknown and obscure spellings  untranslatable humanity. 

Today we will talk about 5 ancient writings, scattered in various parts of the globe, the texts of which are mysteriously indecipherable and dumb, proibendoci to know the essential characteristics of the people who have them processed and that only future discoveries will reveal their secrets. Let's find out together.

Top 5 ancient scriptures disappeared and never deciphered

1. Etruscan

While Italy can boast a retractable writing able to resist any form of deciphering. Etruscans , as we know, are a mystery to the current view. Among all the peoples of ancient Italy they alone, or nearly so, are considered in the abstract and imaginative, a little less than "Martians" lived outside of time and space and disappeared leaving behind evidence of an enigmatic civilization possible without respect . of the Etruscan language What constitutes the '"enigma" for excellence and at the same time, the most alive, popular and, shall we say, compelling of all the "mystery of the Etruscan." 

The ancient Etruscans, allocated on a territory due to today's Tuscany and part of Umbria, we are used to seeing impressive ruins, incredible necropolis and appreciate the civilizing force that was passed on to Rome, but, and this is terribly frustrating, not we are able to understand the thousands of inscriptions which has left us. The Etruscans adopted the greek alphabet , probably transmitted by the early settlers coming from ' Aegean who settled in Italy from the eighth century BC and remodeled according to their needs, taking some variants, such as the direction of the writing by right to left.

The Etrusco has, therefore, no need to be "cracked", if by "deciphering" means "to interpret a writing unknown." All this, just because the writing is far from unknown Etruscan, is not made ​​of hieroglyphs or other pictograms, not the Linear A and B (the latter was so authentically "deciphered"). It is, however, nothing more than an ordinary greek alphabet, so readable without any difficulty.  The real obstacle, which has made ​​a fool of generations of scholars, is that we do not have the slightest idea of the language of the Etruscans. We can "read" their inscriptions, but we are not able to understand what they say.

For over a century the Etruscan was compared with all known European languages, including Basque, not lead to any tangible results. We are now sure that does not belong to the family of Indo-European languages ​​and this is called an isolated language, a real dead language . Only in a few cases it has been possible to propose a reading of some geographic or divine deducting them from the context in which they were found or assonance with words familiar to us, such as Ruma (Rome), Clevsina (Closed) Fufluns (Dionysus).

2 Proto-Elamite Elamite s Lineare

The vast territory that is now called Iran, historically known as Persia , owes its name to the Iranian people whose presence is attested in the textual sources from the first millennium BC The Persians, however, did not occupy a vacuum, but is grafted of a complex civilization, socially stratified and equipped with a self-desk by the end of the fourth millennium BC, well characterized with respect to the Mesopotamian cultures . Elam is l '"label" which is conventionally refer to this civilization to the emergence of Achaemenid dynasty. 

The Proto-Elamite is the oldest system of writing not deciphered. It was used for two centuries, from 3050 BC, Elam, the southwestern part of the Iran, not far from Sumer , a town which dates the oldest system of writing (late fourth millennium BC), deciphered in 1857. For some contact with the cuneiform Sumerian, Elamite would allow to develop a writing system independently. The excavations have emerged tablets that have allowed us to identify a thousand signs, but resistant to any culture. We know little about the people who created it and their language. It could be a language of the Dravidian family-elamo, still used in the south-eastern regions of India and Sri Lanka , but at the moment no progress has been made.

From the tablets it is understood that the ancient people of the Middle East lived in an agricultural society into which he was to command a family. and that the powerful had at their disposal for their feeding yogurt, cheese and honey, but also sheep, goats and cattle. While workers were given a diet of barley and a sort of watered down beer. Jacob Dahl, director of the research group Ancient World Research Cluster , said to be close to the decipherment, through a digitizing system of signs whose acronym RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging System) would allow a very detailed reading of those ambiguous signs.

The most important collection in the world of tablets dating back to the proto-Elamite is kept in Paris at the Louvre , and the method used by the Oxford team consists of the insertion of clay tablets in an RTI system is able to use 76 separate light cameras to capture every groove and every corner of the precious tables, but for now you do not see results. 

Centuries later the same people developed the ' linear Elamite , which would seem to derive from the Proto-Elamite, and the use of which is documented around 2250 BC If you know about 80 signs, used in written in vertical columns from top to bottom and from left to right. But the content remains a mystery. Although it has not yet been possible to arrive at a full translation of the tablets, it was to some extent feasible to interpret their meaning.

3. Gospel sensation

The mystery that hovers around the ' Easter Island and its enigmatic stone heads, the moai , it seems not even to save writing. Easter Island is the only one in the South Pacific that has developed in its own history writing, called Rongo-Rongo. It 's very likely that the language that expresses does not deviate from the Rapanui, the modern language of the island, but the sheer complexity and the mystery of his signs make it impenetrable.

Throughout the world there are only 26 tablets written in Rongo-Rongo, of which only a small part could be translated. As it is easy to assume, Rongo-Rongo writing was never completely deciphered and for many decades was misunderstood. So it was only thanks to the studies conducted by German Thomas Barthel and the discovery of a tablet which reported a lunar calendar (now preserved in the archives of the Holy Hearts in Grottaferrata near Rome), the so-called tablet Mamari , which could partially decipher some symbols.

Local legends, reported by various explorers, tell that writing it arrived by sea from Polynesia around 300 AD approximately. Another story would descend from the writing of the Indus Valley , just because some of the signs are similar. Others speculate that it began only after contact with Europeans (XVIII century). The direction of writing is unusual: it starts in the lower left and read across the row, after which you rotate the tablet 180 degrees and you start to read the next row, again from left to right. This operation must be repeated each line. Linguists call it reading bustrophedic reverse.

The Rongo-Rongo has never been understood, although some signs have been deciphered in the '50s as glyphs corresponding to images of animals.

4. Phaistos Disc

The island of Crete holds a very enigmatic object stored at Heraklion , the capital of the Mediterranean island. This is the Phaistos Disk , a disk of clay discovered in 1908 by the Italian Luigi Pernier  during excavations at the north-east of the palace of Phaistos . The object, about 15 inches in diameter, and has since remained a puzzle to the scientific community, unable to find a solution to the mysterious hieroglyphics that cover (241 on one side and 242 on the other).

It is written with performance spiral on both sides and to obtain registration were used 45 punches that correspond to the 45 different signs on the disk. The writing seems to syllabic and its origin is presumably the Aegean. The nature of the text is uncertain, and the problem turned out to be also its decoding. This is a unique case. Nothing like this has ever been found, and this is impossible for any comparison.

What baffles scholars is that its authors did not took the time to write or engrave signs, but they used real mold to imprint on the surface of the disc when the clay was still wet. Maybe it was a printing system primeval? According to most scholars it would be a sort of primer, and not a text that makes sense. The Phaistos Disc has challenged many translators, and although many attempts have been made to decipher it has not been able to come to a conclusion.

The proposed solutions include guidance on a board game, an astronomical chart, a prayer, a legend, and other things, sometimes really bizarre. Any attempt to decipher so far foundered in the face inaccessibility of the signs. Consequently, also the language (if language is) remains an enigma. The comparison with other writing systems of the island no results: they are totally different. This has convinced some scholars that can deal with an imported object, perhaps, from ' Anatolia : one of the signs seem, in fact, be similar in the rock tombs of Lydia  (Turkey).

If so, the language of the Anatolian would be hard. Maybe one day another document will come to light and will give us clarity on the content of the slab of clay, or someone will discover one or more of the stamps used to create the disc of Phaistos. But until then, the mystery of the Phaistos Disc will remain just another unsolved puzzle.

5. Meroitic Hieroglyphics

A 200 km from Khartoum, the desert of northern Sudan is home to an archaeological site that can rival the most well-known pyramids of Egypt to Meroe , among the sand dunes, there are the ruins of an ancient civilization lived more than 2000 years ago , that of the Nubians . Here he lived his capital, Kush , also called Nubia, at the intersection of the White Nile , the Blue Nile and the f iume Atbara . It is in fact one of the first kingdoms of the Nile Valley , Egypt dominated initially and then in turn conqueror of Pharaonic kingdom in the eighth century BC at the height of its commercial and military power, which imposed the command for about a century before be rejected back to what is now Sudan.

In 712 BC the kings of Kush conquered Egypt giving life to the XXV dynasty, known to history as the realm of "Pharaohs blacks." The Kushite kings came from the lands south of Egypt, the territories that correspond more or less to today's Sudan, and was the capital of Meroe. Their hegemony over the country of the Nile was short-lived, about 60 years: in 656 BC, defeated by the Assyrians , folded in their original boundaries.  of this mysterious people were inscriptions and archaeological evidence.

If the first time the Meroitic kings adopted as the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system, starting from the third century BC developed a new writing characterized by two handwritings, one for the people and a cursive hieroglyphic inscriptions for gifts. The phonetic value of the 23 signs that compose it, similar to a modern alphabetic system, was established in 1911 by Francis Griffith , an Egyptologist at the University of Oxford. Since then, there has been no progress.

The Meroitic belonged to a group of African languages ​​have disappeared and can not be compared with any current language. The writing consisted of 23 symbols, the texts were divided into fragments (stiches), divided by two or three points, and most of them was of type funerary. The inscriptions of the temples were built with Meroitic hieroglyphs, for other documents resorted to italics.

The Meroitic can not be understood because we have no idea of the language : a few dozen words it is understood the meaning, as Tenke (north) or atomic (water), but nothing more. Most of the inscriptions 
is, therefore, meaningless. Thus the history of this people, that perhaps the inscriptions describe, remains a mystery. Griffith was sure that would have been deciphered yet, despite decades of comparisons with modern African languages ​​and dialects, it was not possible.