The world’s oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics.

This international research project is already casting light on a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level.

“I think we are finally on the point of making a breakthrough,” says Jacob Dahl, fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and director of the Ancient World Research Cluster.

  • Proto-Elamite is the name given to a writing system developed in an area that is now in south-western Iran
  • It was adopted about 3200BC and was borrowed from neighbouring Mesopotamia
  • It was written from right to left in wet clay tablets
  • There are more than a thousand surviving tablets in this writing
  • The biggest group of such texts was collected by 19th Century French archaeologists and brought back to the Louvre
  • While other ancient writing, such as Egyptian hieroglyphics, Sumerian and Mesopotamian, have been deciphered – attempts with proto-Elamite have proved unsuccessful

CONTINUE READING: BBC News – Breakthrough in world’s oldest undeciphered writing.

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