Tartaria Tablets

The Tărtăria tablets first discovered in 1961 by archaeologist Nicolae Vlassa at a Neolithic site in the village of Tărtăria (about 30 km from Alba Iulia) in Romania. Dated to around 5300 BC, there are three tablets bear incised symbols - the Vinča symbols - and have been the subject of considerable controversy among archaeologists, some of whom claim that the symbols represent the earliest known form of writing in the world. Nicolae Vlassa believed that the tablets were related to Proto-Sumerian writing, and that they offer the chance of making a cultural and chronological synchronisation of Europe and the Near East. His opinion on this subject has been confirmed by Milojcic and Sumer expert Adam Falkenstein. This opinion was also sustained by Makkay, Hood and others. However, most other archaeologist, champion of the long chronology, have not agreed with this opinion, looking for different kind of 'vices', 'errors', or 'myths'. They adopt other hypotheses.

In 1961, members of a team led by Nicolae Vlassa, an archaeologist at the National Museum of Transylvanian History, Cluj-Napoca in charge of the site excavations, unearthed three inscribed but unbaked clay tablets, together with 26 clay and stone figurines and a shell bracelet, accompanied by the burnt, broken, and disarticulated bones of an adult male.

Two of the tablets are rectangular and the third is round. They are all small, the round one being only 6 cm (2½ in) across, and two — one round and one rectangular — have holes drilled through them.

All three have symbols inscribed only on one face. The unpierced rectangular tablet depicts a horned animal, an unclear figure, and a vegetal motif, a branch or tree. The others have a variety of mainly abstract symbols. The purpose of the burial is unclear, but it has been suggested that the body was, if not that of a shaman or spirit-medium, that of a local most respected wise person.

The ritual pit contains various archaeological remains, as well as some parts of a human skeleton. The shape and the extent of the ritual pit did not permit the deposition of an inhumation, and in fact the human bones were placed there after the flesh had been removed or an exhumation process.

These tablets were discovered in what Vlassa called a ritual pit. He connected this pit with a pit house found nearby. The distance between the ritual pit and the pit house was 70 to 90 cm, and they belong to the same archaeological complex.

Vlassa believed that the bones had been burnt. The bones had charred appearance and traces of sponge or foam. Some parts of the skeleton, the skull and smaller bones, are missing. Only one of the bones among those recovered was burnt. Because at that time t was not possible to make an anthropological analysis, Vlassa did not wash the bones.

The tablets are generally believed to have belonged to the Vinča-Turda culture, which at the time was believed by Serbian and Romanian archaeologists to have originated around 2700 BC. Vlassa interpreted the Tărtăria tablets as a hunting scene and the other two with signs as a kind of primitive writing similar to the early pictograms of the Sumerians. The discovery caused great interest in the archeological world as it predated the first Minoan writing, the oldest known writing in Europe.

However, subsequent radiocarbon dating on the Tărtăria finds pushed the date of the tablets (and therefore of the whole Vinča culture) much further back, to as long ago as 5500 BC, the time of the early Eridu phase of the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia. Still, this is disputed in the light of apparently contradictory stratigraphic evidence.

If the symbols are indeed a form of writing, then writing in the Danubian culture would far predate the earliest Sumerian cuneiform script or Egyptian hieroglyphs. They would thus be the world's earliest known form of writing. This claim remains controversial.

Scholars who conclude that the inscribed symbols are writing base their assessment on a few conclusions, which are not universally endorsed. First, the existence of similar signs on other artifacts of the Danube civilization suggest that there was an inventory of standard shapes of which scribes made use. Second, the symbols make a high degree of standardization and a rectilinear shape comparable to archaic writing systems manifest. Third, that 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. If they do comprise a script, it is not known what kind of writing system they represent. Some archaeologists who support the idea that they do represent writing, notably Marija Gimbutas, have proposed that they are fragments of a system dubbed the Old European Script. Others consider the pictograms to be accompanied by random scribbles.

Based on archaeological research by Gheorghe Lazarovici and Marco Merlini, the tablets and other objects from the ritual pit belong to the cult inventory of a priestess. The same is true of the pit house. The objects belong to different cults reating to fertility and fecundity (the Great Goddess and her hypostasis). The problems of the signs on the tablets and their meaning is a very complex one; they represent symbolic objects with signs and have a religious meaning.

Sources:
New Archaeological Data Refering to Tartaria Tablets by Gheorghe Lazarovici and Marco Merlini;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C4%83rt%C4%83ria_tablets

Pic Source:
New Archaeological Data Refering to Tartaria Tablets by Gheorghe Lazarovici and Marco Merlini page 210



Written By Tripzibit on Oct 12, 2012 | 17:54

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