The History of Proto-writing, Indus Script, and the Minoan Writing Systems

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History of writing

In the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans discovered a large number of clay tablets inscribed with mysterious symbols at Knossos on Crete. Believing he had discovered the palace of King Minos, together with the Minotaur's labyrinth, Evans dubed the inscriptions and the language they represented as 'Minoan'. Evans spent the rest of his life trying to decipher the inscriptions, with only limited success. He realised that the inscriptions represented three different writing systems: a 'hieroglyphic' script, Linear A and Linear B. The hieroglphic script appears only on seal stones and has yet to be deciphered.

Linear A, also undeciphered, is thought to have evolved from the hieroglyphic script, and Linear B probably evolved from Linear A, though the relationship between the two scripts is unclear. That this material was in use in Egypt from a very early period is evidenced by still existing papyrus of the earliest Theban dynasties.

Sanskrit Theory on Indus Script

As the papyrus, being in great demand, and exported to all parts of the world, became very costly, other materials were often used instead of it, among which is mentioned leather, a few leather mills of an early period having been found in the tombs. With the invention of wood-pulp paper , the cost of writing material began a steady decline. History of writing Writing systems History Grapheme List of writing systems Types Alphabet Abjad Impure Abjad Abugida Syllabary Semi-syllabary Logography Logophonetic Logosyllabary , Logoconsonantal Shorthand Featural Related topics Pictogram Ideogram The history of writing traces the development of expressing language by letters or other marks [1] and also the study and description of these developments.

Sumer , an ancient civilization of southern Mesopotamia , is believed to be the place where written language was first invented around BC. Limestone Kish tablet from Sumer with pictographic writing; may be the earliest known writing, BC. Ashmolean Museum.


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Main article: Writing system. Main articles: Recorded history and Early literature. Homo Homo erectus. China Europe India Near East. Early Later Contemporary. Main article: Proto-writing. Further information: Neolithic signs in China and prehistoric numerals. See also: History of communication. Example of the Jiahu symbols , writing-like markings found on tortoise shells , dated around BC.

1. Yantric Symbol

Further information: History of the alphabet. Middle Babylonian legal tablet from Alalah in its envelope.


  1. Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience.
  2. Tantalizing Glimpses of an Ancient Minoan Accounting System.
  3. With The Night Mail A Story of 2000 A.D. (Together with extracts from the comtemporary magazine in which it appeared).
  4. Expression and Truth: On the Music of Knowledge;
  5. Proto-writing - Wikipedia.
  6. Undeciphered writing systems?
  7. Main article: Cuneiform script. Main article: Egyptian hieroglyphs. Main article: Proto-Elamite script. Main article: Indus script. Sequence of ten Indus signs discovered near the northern gate of the Indus site Dholavira. Main article: Middle Bronze Age alphabets.

    The Sumerians

    Main article: Anatolian hieroglyphs. Main articles: Chinese writing and Chinese characters.

    Main article: Mesoamerican writing systems. Main article: History of the alphabet. Cippus Perusinus , Etruscan writing near Perugia , Italy. The beginning of the writing with the Latin alphabet. Main article: Writing material. Bright and Daniels, p. Keightley, Noel Barnard. By Dr Gwendolyn Leick. Archaeological Institute of America. Retrieved 29 February An Introduction to the History of History.


    1. Read e-book The History of Proto-Writing, Indus Script, and the Minoan Writing Systems.
    2. Undeciphered writing systems.
    3. NMS Review for USMLE Step 3 (National Medical Series for Independent Study).
    4. Records of civilization, sources and studies. New York: Columbia University Press, On Deep History and the Brain. An Ahmanson foundation book in the humanities. Berkeley: University of California Press, Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians, v. Austin: University of Texas Press, Beck, , ISBN , p.

      Pilcher 'Earliest handwriting found? Chinese relics hint at Neolithic rituals', Nature 30 April , doi : Li, X. Antiquity , 77, 31 - 44, China Daily. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved A Hundred Years at Abydos. Autumn, , pp. New York Times.

      Meroitic script

      A stone slab bearing 3,year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and archaeologists say it is an example of the oldest script ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere. Ancient civilisations in Mexico developed a writing system as early as BC, new evidence suggests. A block with a hitherto unknown system of writing has been found in the Olmec heartland of Veracruz, Mexico.

      Stylistic and other dating of the block places it in the early first millennium before the common era, the oldest writing in the New World, with features that firmly assign this pivotal development to the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. The World's Writing Systems.

      Oxford University Press. The Cambridge Medieval History volumes The New York Times. Cyclopedia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature : Supplement. New York: Harper. Pages — The same material was largely used by the Assyrians, and many of their clay tablets still remain. They are of various sizes, ranging from nine inches long by six and a half wide, to an inch and a half by an inch wide, and even less. Some thousands of these have been recovered; many are historical, some linguistic, some geographical, some astronomical.

      Writing systems. History of writing History of the alphabet Graphemes Scripts in Unicode. Types of writing systems. History of writing Grapheme. Jurchen Khitan large script Sui Tangut. Demotic Hieratic Hieroglyphs. More examples tablets or fragments of Linear A have been found at the Haghia Triadha near Phaistos than anywhere else. There are a few reasons why Linear A is difficult to decipher.

      Classicist John Younger thinks the headers represent a type of transaction, while the entries in the lists are commodities and their descriptions e.

      Translations | The One and The Many

      The purposes of these lists are likely inventories, assessments, collections or contributions, or allocations or disbursements. About 10 three-syllable words are identical in A and B, including Phaistos, which occurs 59 times in the corpus. About 2, people seem to be recorded in Linear A, some of whom may have been part of a list of available porters. Nevertheless, it would help if we knew which languages those who wrote in Linear A spoke. According to John Younger, Linear A is mostly written left to right, in more or less straight rows from top to bottom of the clay document, and sometimes lined.

      There are at least three vowels, and 90 symbols are used regularly. It is called linear because unlike Cretan hieroglyphs, the characters are abstract, drawn with lines. Hypotheses for the underlying language include a Greek-like language, a distinct Indo-European language, an Anatolian language close to Luwian, an archaic form of Phoenician, Indo-Iranian, and an Etruscan-like language. A study into possible signs in Linear A that might represent the spice saffron was reported in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology.

      Archaeologist Jo Day points out that although Linear A has yet to be deciphered, there are recognized ideograms in Linear A that approximate the Linear B ideograms, especially for agricultural commodities such as figs, wine, olives, humans, and some livestock. During his attempts to crack the Linear A code, Arthur Evans thought he saw some similarities to CROC, but reported no specifics and none is listed in any of the other previous attempts to decipher Linear A Olivier and Godart or Palmer. These instances are dated to the Late Minoan IB period and appear in lists of goods.

      Previously, researcher Schoep suggested the sign referred to another agricultural commodity, perhaps a herb or spice such as coriander. She suggests that the Linear B sign for saffron may have been a deliberate adaptation of the crocus motif from other media, and it may have replaced the older symbol when the Minoans began using the spice. Without images and context, the entire corpus of known Linear A scripts would barely fill two pages.

      Borgdorff in , called LA. In June , Version 7. It makes fascinating reading, and Younger and colleagues continue to update it regularly. This page was written by N.

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