The earliest form of writing in the world? The Sumerians may not have been the first people to invent the earliest form of writing, which allegedly appeared c. 3500 B.C.E. The Tartaria tablets, found in the western part of Romania and dating back to around 5300 B.C.E, according to radiocarbon dating, suggest that it was in Eastern Europe that writing first appeared.
Some experts have dubbed the writing the Old European Script or the Danube Script. The tablets have been linked to the Neolithic Turdas-Vinca culture (c. 4500-3700 B.C.E), spread across several Romanian provinces, the south of Serbia, the southeast of Hungary, the northwest of Bulgaria and other countries. In 1961, archaeologist Nicolae Vlassa discovered what may be direct evidence of the earliest forms of writing in the world. While conducting an archaeological excavation at a Neolithic site in Romania, Vlassa’s team uncovered three small clay tablets containing indecipherable etchings, now known as the Tartaria Tablets. There have been varying interpretations of the meanings of the etchings on the tablets. Some believe the etchings are a primitive form of writing, while others believe they are pictograms, random scribbles, religious symbols, or symbols of ownership.
The tablets are each about 2 ½ inches across. Two are rectangular, and one is round. The round tablet and one rectangular tablet have holes drilled through them. The clay tablets were unbaked and were discovered along with 26 clay and stone figurines, a shell bracelet, and damaged human bones. Some believe that the tablets were actually found in a sacrificial burial pit. The tablets are inscribed on only one side, and the inscriptions resemble a horned animal, an unclear figure, a vegetal motif, a branch or tree, and a variety of mainly abstract symbols.
The so-called Danube Script is a script that appeared some 2,000 years earlier than any other known writing. It appeared in southeast Europe c.7300 BC. The script first appeared in the central Balkans but quickly spread to southern Hungary, Transylvania, the Danube valley, Macedonia, and northern Greece. The Danube script flourished up to about 5,500 BC when a social upheaval apparently took place. The script is currently undecipherable but is certainly generating a lot of interest among scholars of ancient languages
Tartaria Tablets | Older than Sumerian Ones
Nicolae Vlasa made a colossal discovery in 1961. At Tartaria, in an ancient tomb, he found 2 tablets with inscriptions that were dated from 4500-200 BC. Tartaria is located in Alba county, Saliste. At the same site, there were found human skeletons. The inscriptions on the tablets are 1000 years older than the ones discovered at Djemer-Nasr, Kis and Uruk from Summer, dated by specialists somewhere around 3300 BC. The culture who created the tablets in taught to be Turdas-Vinca (4500-3700 BC). The tablets have been dated with C14 and it is officially confirmed that the inscriptions on them are the oldest form of writing known to man, outdating the Sumerian ones.
Scholars who conclude that the inscribed symbols are writing base their assessment on three conclusions, which are not universally endorsed. First, that similar signs on other artefacts of the Danube civilization suggest that there was an inventory of precise standard shapes of which scribes made use. Second, the characters of this proto-European script, when compared to other archaic writings, manifest a high degree of standardization and a rectilinear shape. Third, the information communicated by each character was a specific one with an unequivocal meaning. Finally, that the inscriptions are sequenced in rows, whether horizontal, vertical or circular.
Others consider the pictograms to be accompanied by random scribbles. Their meaning (if any) is unknown. If they do comprise a script, it is also not known what kind of writing system they represent. Some archaeologists who support the idea that they do represent writing have proposed they are fragments of a system dubbed the Old European Script.
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