Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Decoding Antiquity: Eight Scripts That Still Can't Be Read

Originally published May 27, 2009 | New Scientist | by Andrew Robinson

Robinson starts with an introduction to the challenges of deciphering relatively unknown scripts and uses Egyptian hieroglyphs as an example (having been deciphered 180 years ago). He then describes eight scripts that are partially deciphered, providing a brief history of the scripts' origins and if the language and script are known, partially known, probably known, possibly known, or unknown: Etruscan, Meroitic hieroglyphs, The New World (Olmec, Zapotec and Isthmian), Minoan (Linear A and B), Rongo-rongo (Easter Island), Indus script, Proto-Elamite, and Phaistos disc. He ends the article with an outline of the world's greatest decipherments, which includes Egyptian hieroglyphs.

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