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.