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.
Dr Dahl's secret weapon is being able to see this writing more clearly than ever before.
In a room high up in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, above the Egyptian mummies and fragments of early civilisations, a big black dome is clicking away and flashing out light.
This device, part sci-fi, part-DIY, is providing the most detailed and high quality images ever taken of these elusive symbols cut into clay tablets. This is Indiana Jones with software.
It's being used to help decode a writing system called proto-Elamite, used between around 3200BC and 2900BC in a region now in the south west of modern Iran.
Read it all here.
A genealogical relationship exist between the Black African, Dravidian, Elamite and Sumerian languages. This is not surprising because African languages were used by Rawlinson, to decipher the cuneiform script.
We must consider the historical link between languages assumed to possess a genealogical relationship, although they are separated by thousands of miles. The anthropological factors involved in determining a genealogical relationship is the scientific study of the cognate origin, and the physical, social and cultural development and behavior of related groups. This has already been done in the earlier chapters in regards to the
Black African, Puntite and Dravidian languages. We have already shown that there is a connection between the basic vocabularies and identical constituent structures and grammatical categories.
The Elamites, Dravidians, Sumerians and Manding are all of Proto-Saharan origin. In the history of mankind they were called the Kushites . Testimony of the great heritage of the Kushites, resulted from their boldness in trade and seafaring expeditions. The authors of ancient Indian literature claimed that the Kushites ruled the world for 7000 years. According to Epiphanies, the age of the Kushites extended from the Flood to the age of Terah, the father of Abraham, the prophet of the Jews and Muslims.
In the ancient inscriptions of Africa and Asia the Kushites were called many names including Kush, and Ethiopian by the Greeks and Romans. In Sumerian inscriptions the Kushites were called Meluha=Kasi < Kush . There is historical evidence that suggest that the name Meluha, was a geographical name for the Africans who lived in the area of Nubia and Northwest Africa.
The people of Nubia are mostly associated with the name Kushite were the C-Group culture group, worshipers of Amon and Neith . The Egyptian term for these people was K-'-sh and K-'-sh-i. The Hebrews called them Kush. In the cuneiform inscriptions the Sudanese were called Kushiya.
The Kushites belonged to the Maa confederation. As a result of this Kushite origin in Asia we find many place names with the term Kush, e.g.,the Kushana of Central Asia, Kashmere and Hindu Kush .
According to the Matsya, an ancient book from India, the world belonged to the Kushites or Saka (as they are sometimes called) for 7000 years. In the Mahabharata, the Sakadvipa is the 'land of the [Kushites] Sakas. The seven mountains of Sakadvipa were named Meru, Malaya, Jaladhara, Raivata, Syama, Durgasaila and Kesara.
The Meru of Indian literature may be none other than the Meroe of the Sudan, or a primeval Meroe that was long ago lost to cataclysm. The four kingdoms of the Saka were Maga (Manga), Masaka, Mansa and Mandaga. The Maga, reminds us of the Magians or the Maka of the Persian inscriptions. The Masakas, in the Mahabharata, are called Kastriyas. The Mandagas or Manda were also probably Mada or the Medes. These Medians may have had a connection with the ancient Mande speakers of Africa, especially the Manding who often accompanied the Dravidians out of Middle Africa into Asia. This would explain the close relationship between Elamite and the Manding languages.
Place names offer testimony to the ancient inhabitants of an area. Because whereas languages and the people who spoke them may disappear from a region place names of important areas will remain constant.
There are similar place names found in the Sudan and Asia. Prof. Bator Vamos Toth, an expert on the ancient Tamana culture has found 21 suffixes, and hundreds of place names that link the Sudan and Asia . For example , Dr. Vamos Toth has noted that there is a Kar-nak in Egypt and Kar-nak in Central Asia. Other common place names affixes include -bura,-dan, -kara, -tal and -ur.
Dr. Vamos Toth has illustrated how the inhabitants of the Carpathian Valley and other cultures around the world share a similar culture.In all the countries sharing place names Dr. Bator found a common toponym: Tamana. He therefore calls this ancestral culture/civilization Tamana. It is interesting to note that the Proto-Saharans formerly lived in these areas.
The word Tamana means 'great place'. These ancient Tamana sites were probably forts established in areas occupied by hostile non Proto-Saharan speaking peoples.
The Kushites when they migrated from Middle Africa to Asia called themselves Kushites. This is most evident in place names and the names of gods. The Kassites, chief rulers of Iran occupied the central part of the Zagros. The Kassite god was called Kashshu, which was also the name of the people. The K-S-H, name element is also found in India. For example Kishkinthai, was the name applied to an ancient Dravidian kingdom in South India. Also it should be remembered that the Kings of Sumer, were often referred to as the " Kings of Kush".
The major Kushite tribe in Central Asia was called Kushana. The Kushan of China were Ta Yueh-ti or "the Great Lunar Race". Along the Salt Swamp, there was a state called Ku-Shih of Tibet. The city of K-san, was situated in the direction of Kushan, which was located in the Western part of the Gansu Province of China.
In this chapter we will explain how the Elamite, Dravidian, Manding and Sumerian languages diverged from a common Paleo-African language.The ancient Proto-Saharans from their literature and culture appear to have descended from a common ancestor. This sociolinguistic reality of a number of related groups 5000 years ago is proven by a comparison of terms from
Dravidian (D.), Elamite (E.) , Manding (M.), and Sumerians (S.), which show shared features retained during a process of divergence from a common ancestor.
There is no area of linguistic structure which can totally resist change, but that area of language least accessible to foreign influence is the basic vocabulary. The basic vocabulary of a language is that sector of the lexicon, which comprise the basic elements of one's culture the division of the body and biological activities such as eating, sleeping and etc.
But the lexical comparisons are not enough to prove a genealogical relationship, because grammar and morphology holds precedence over phonology and syntax. As a result below I will elucidate the interrelationships between Dravidian (Dr.), Elamite, Manding (M.) and Sumerian and the common retention rate within the members of these Proto-Saharan languages.
The Proto-Saharan languages are agglutinative. In these languages subject (S), verb (V), object (O) is the order of the basic constituents.
There are numerous examples of phonetic, morphological, and lexical parallels between Elamite, Dravidian, Manding and Sumerian. For example,there is a system of five basic vowels and three-fold distinction of lip rounded and rounded.
Elamite has a Turkic core vocabulary. For example, one = kir in Elamite, bir in Turkish
mother = amma in Elamite, anne in Turkish
father = atta in Elamite, Ata in Turkish
water = zul in Elamite, su in Turkish
many = irshekki in Elamite, çok in Turkish
meat = ishti in Elamite, et in Turkish
to eat = mak- in Elamite, yemek in Turkish
sky = kik in Elamite, ko¨k in Turkish
man = ruh in Elamite, er in Turkish
This is fairly amazing considering that as much as
4,500 years separate modern Turkish from Elamite.
Terrific linguistic connections! Thanks, S.M. The kir is closer to the Proto-Saharan than to Arabic or Hebrew.
The Hebrew echad or ehat = one, corresponds to the Syrian eka and to the Sanskrit eca = one. It is a cognate to ikka = one in the Gonga languages of southeast Ethiopia. In the Proto-Saharan ikki is a directional element = to, toward, and has the Creator as the reference. In the ancient world the first position - often symbolized by a solar symbol, was reserved for or assigned to the deity.
Mr. Selahi Diker in his book ''And the whole Earth was of one language'' has alrady proved that Elamite Language is Turkish, Oguz language. When you write the Elamite language in latin alphabets any ordinary Turkish peaople living in today will understand some of it. As an agglutinative language Elamite and concerning the geographic area of Elamite peaople is very close to Turkish peaople, it is trajic that none of the western scientists study on that connection.
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