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Historia del Mundo Antiguo , volumen I, I: Próximo Oriente;

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Volumen II El mundo mediterráneo, Macedonia, Alejandro, Cartago, Roma


                                        Old European Script


  Escritura Huelva Escrituras paleohispánicas_Huelva 1 Huelva 2 Sistemas de escritura  1 <<<  2 <<<
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                                                                      ¿Dónde nació la escritura?


Marco Merlini (Italy)
Inscriptions and messages of the Balkan-Danube script
a semiotic approach
Daniela Bulgarelli is the author of the paintings appearing on the study. Images and text are "Copyright© 2002 The Global Prehistory Consortium at EURO INNOVANET - www.prehistory.it. All rights reserved World Wide. May not be reproduced without permission".
(part1) (part2) (part3) (part4) (part 5 and Essential Bibliographic References)

2. Characteristics of the signs of which the script composed
2.a The technical analysis of Winn (1981) has shown how the individual signs of which the Balkan-Danube script was composed are easily identifiable. A few have been traced out in a clear-cut manner, follow precise standard shapes and have well defined outlines.  Others are carelessly made, have less certain silhouettes and are poorly marked, follow their model with difficulty and are superposed by lines resembling ligatures. The information which each one of these actually communicated was, howevera specific one and had a univocal meaning. The signs of the proto-European script, when compared to other archaic writings, are characterised by a high degree of stylisation and by having a rectilinear shape, due to the need of their being incised mechanically onto terracotta by means of a pointed stone or bone.


Fig. 2. Madonna from Rast

2.b. According to Gimbutas (1991), the ancient European script consisted of about thirty core signs which were originally abstract and arbitrary or had gradually become so (V, /\, X, M, Y, N, cross, triangle, lozenge, zigzag, spiral, square...), while the rest of the script consists of derivative signs (formed by adding one, two, or three lines to the core signs, or by duplicating or inverting two or more core signs). According to Haarmann's inventory (1995) there were 10 basic signs that created new individual signs by undergoing simple or complex variations, and another 131 which remained unaltered. These root-signs express most of the basic geometric forms and they continued to be used until the classical Greek period.

Fig. 3. Core signs of the Old European Script by Gimbutas

2.c ) The root-signs developed into the individual signs of proto-European writing, using two organising principles. The first consists of their multiple variations, since they were modified by adding small graphic markers which almost never appear as independent signs. These markers could be parallel to each other, crossed or superimposed by one, two, or three small strokes, but there were also small crosses, dots and arches. They could also be duplicated-multiplied or inverted. The sophisticated  principle of the multiple variation for creating derivative signs characterises other writing systems, but was used for the first time in proto-European script.

Second, the root-signs could be duplicated-multiplied or inverted-contrasted, creating more complex shapes. By varying and repeating-inverting-contrasting the root-signs, the repertory of the proto-European script came to contain 231 individual signs.

Fig. 4. Some modifications of the V, by Haarmann (1995) Inventory of the Proto-European signs

2.d  The sacred function of this script meant there was a natural and close association between the outlines of the signs and the religious symbols, and this is especially true for geometric and abstract symbols.

The abstract religious symbols often appear coupled with writing signs and constitute a few of the basic forms of the latter. The language for symbolic images which "fuses, is fused and is confused" with the linear signs typical of writing reveals, according to Gimbutas, the aspects and attributes of the Great Goddess (the snake, the spiral, V and M motives) or expresses the religious ideas of "Old Europe" (the meander and the swastika).

The two levels of sacred communication (abstract symbols and writing signs) were used together on the same votive objects. They should not however be confused with each other.  First, the writing signs are more numerous than the religious symbols. Second, only the writing signs can be modified and multiplied by adding small strokes, arches or crosses; the religious iconography never changes its basic shape.


Fig. 5,6. Gradesnica  plaque & Gradesnica signs

2. e. It is not always easy to distinguish the writing signs from the geometrical decorations. The artistic, abstract and schematic motifs share the same geometrical root as the writing signs.

Sometimes it is also true that the distinction between writing signs and ornaments of a naturalistic origin is not an evident one. For example, this is true of the stylised drawings used on the figurines for the sake of imitating necklaces, bracelets, garments, hairstyles, and sandals.

With such a flimsy and thin borderline between these, what criteria should be followed for the sake of distinguishing a decorative design from a written text? Until the time comes when the script will actually be deciphered, how will it be possible to recognise if and which signs are writing signs?

Harald Haarmann (1995) observes that the texts are characterised by an inventory of signs which is more ample than that of the decorations. The elements of text furthermore possess an individual quality of their own, an asymmetric type of co-ordination and a precise sequential alignment. This linear sequence may integrate both naturalistic signs and abstract ones. The writing signs may be impressed in an isolated position or in groups. Finally, they are subject to the principle of multiple variation: the basic forms acquire simple or multiple variations by adding graphic signs such as strokes, dots, and arches to them. And in this way simple signs have been transformed into complex ones.

The major characteristic of the decorative motifs is an aesthetic sense of symmetry.

Fig. 7. Lady Vinca wearing a ritual garment

2. f. In most cases, the writing signs are abstract and stylised geometric shapes, arbitrary motifs,  which do not offer any clues to us today, since it is impossible to connect them to forms belonging to the real world. Only rarely are symbols and writing representational. When they are, however, the shapes are either reminiscent of a human figure or part of its anatomy, or evoke a totem or sacrificial animal, a plant, or remind us of a natural phenomenon such as the sun or a stream, delineate a tool or allude to architectural forms or structures (for example, a ship).

Among the 231 signs of the Balkan-Danube script, Harald Haarmann (1995) records at least 156 arbitrary or abstract ones, only 49 representing naturalistic forms with varying degrees of stylisation, and 26 intermediate ones. Since all the other archaic systems of writing have an elevated number of pictographs, then a considerable use of abstract and arbitrary signs appears to be a specific characteristic of the proto-European script.

The lack of signs evoking naturalistic forms also bears witness to their high degree of evolution, notwithstanding the fact that they anticipated other known systems of writing by at least two millennia. The proto-European script seems to possess a great tendency for abstract signs, perhaps the result of a "geometric revolution"  that occurred in ancient times.


Fig. 8, 9. Karanovo seal & signs from Karanovo seal.

2. g. Haarmann (1995) records up to 231 individual signs. Of these, 142 seem to be basic (or simple) ones, 90 to be derived (composed) of a simple or complex variation from the basic signs. By means of the processes of repetition or association with additional small graphic markers, the V gives us highest number of modifications, (26). The next highest is the X (16), the Latin cross (13),  the /\ (10), the square, half circle and comb (5 each), the triangle (4), the rectangle without a base and the double line (3 each). All the other signs of the "metaphysic alphabet" may be either simple or complex, but they do not however show any mutations and do not undergo replication or multiplication by variations processes.


Fig. 10. Divination sphere/ball & decodified signs on sphere

2.h.  The root-signs of the script in their complete form date back to the Palaeolithic. For example, a 30,000-year-old plaque was discovered in Malta (in Siberia), which already bears circles, dots and wavy lines. Therefore, the V does not emerge from the development of a single diagonal sign, since it had already been in use, precisely because it was a V, for thousand of years. The V sign derived from the pubic triangle or from the bird silhouette of prehistoric art. Likewise, the M did not come from placing 2 /\ signs side by side, but instead appears as a zigzag line since the early Palaeolithic (Gimbutas, 1991).


Fig.11. Female statue of Mezin

(part1) (part2) (part3) (part4) (part 5)




Tanto Marija Gimbutas como Harald Haarmann consideran que los signos inscritos hallados en los Balcanes, y por extensión, en otras partes del Mediterráneo, no representarían un sistema de "pre-escritura", sino que constituirían genuina escritura (es decir, serían capaces de comunicar ideas o de expresar mensajes simbólicos).

Haartmann va más allá y liga este supuesto sistema de escritura a una cultura autóctona europea anterior a la llegada de los indoeuropeos. Según este autor, dicha civilización estaría detrás tanto de la cultura cicládica del mar Egeo como de la fundación de la cultura cretense (a finales del IV milenio aC.)

Un indicio de esta conexión cicládica/cretense, y antigua europea, sería el compartir unos símbolos comunes: el toro, la serpiente y el labryx (la doble hacha).

Según dicho autor, el culto a la mariposa estaría detrás de este último signo (¿tal vez porque una mariposa representaría, según ese modo de pensar, una combinación de serpiente y pájaro; como es sabido dos símbolos repetidos en la imaginería universal?).

Haarmann realiza un estudio minucioso de los sistemas de escritura que él llama "antiguo europeo" (básicamente el sistema de escritura de Vinca) y el lineal A cretense. Ambos representan sistemas de escritura lineal; según este autor, en los dos casos la escritura tiene carácter religioso y ceremonial (no económico); y lo que es más importante, más de 50 signos son idénticos, lo que convertiría en altamente improbable la posibilidad de que se trate de una mera coincidencia.

Así pues, el hallazgo de los ejemplos de escritura balcánica de los que hemos hablado, y su relación con el sistema cretense conocido como "lineal A", reforzaría nuestra creencia de que, anteriormente a la llegada de los indoeuropeos en Europa, existiría una comunidad de ideas -y tal vez de lenguaje- que hemos convenido en llamar "pelasga".

Esta protocultura, que ha sido denominada "antiguo europeo", podría estar detrás de la expansión de la agricultura, la cerámica y el megalitismo en casi todo el entorno europeo (especialmente en sus costas mediterránea y atlántica), y quizás (tras las primeras invasiones indoeuropeas) del desarrollo de las culturas cicládica y cretense.

Y como hemos visto, la citada cultura sería antiquísima, muy anterior al desarrollo de la civilización en el Creciente Fértil. El descubrimiento de tablillas escritas en Tartaria (Rumanía) ha puesto en cuarentena las presunciones vigentes en relación al emplazamiento y la datación del origen de la civilización.

Tal como afirma Richard Rudgley: "La noción de una escritura antigua europea se opone a las posiciones atrincheradas de la arqueología y de la visión tradicional del desarrollo de la civilización. Sus implicaciones son inmensas... Podría significar nada menos que el colapso de la actual noción de civilización".





From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

(Redirected from Vinca alphabet)
A clay vessel unearthed in Vinča, found at depth of 8.5 meters.
A clay vessel unearthed in Vinča, found at depth of 8.5 meters.

The Old European Script (also known as the Vinča alphabet, Vinča script or Vinča-Tordos script) is a name sometimes given to the markings on prehistoric artefacts found in south-eastern Europe. Some believe the markings to be a writing system of the Vinča culture, which inhabited the region around 6000-4000 BC. Others doubt that the markings represent writing at all, citing the brevity of the purported inscriptions and the dearth of repeated symbols in the purported script.




The discovery of the script

In 1875, archaeological excavations led by the archeologist Zsofia Torma (1840 - 1899) at Turdaş (Tordos), near Orăştie in Transylvania (now Romania) unearthed a cache of objects inscribed with previously unknown symbols. A similar cache was found during excavations conducted in 1908 in Vinča, a suburb of the Serbian city of Belgrade, some 120km from Tordos. Later, more such fragments were found in Banjica, another part of Belgrade. Thus the culture represented is called the Vinca-Tordos culture, and the script often called the Vinca-Tordos script. To date, more than a thousand fragments with similar inscriptions have been found on various archaeological sites throughout south-eastern Europe, notably in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, eastern Hungary, Moldova, southern Ukraine and other locations in the former Yugoslavia.

Most of the inscriptions are on pottery, with the remainder appearing on whorls (flat cylindrical annuli), figurines, and a small collection of other objects. Over 85% of the inscriptions consist of a single symbol. The symbols themselves consist of a variety of abstract and representative pictograms, including zoomorphic (animal-like) representations, combs or brush patterns and abstract symbols such as swastikas, crosses and chevrons. Other objects include groups of symbols, of which some are arranged in no particularly obvious pattern, with the result that neither the order nor the direction of the signs in these groups is readily determinable. The usage of symbols varies significantly between objects: symbols that appear by themselves tend almost exclusively to appear on pots, while symbols that are grouped with other symbols tend to appear on whorls.

The importance of these findings lies in the fact that the oldest of them are dated around 4000 BC, around a thousand years before the proto-Sumerian pictographic script from Uruk (modern Iraq), which is usually considered as the oldest known script. Analyses of the symbols showed that they had little similarity with Near Eastern writing, leading to the view that they probably arose independently of the Sumerian civilization. There are some similarities between the symbols and other Neolithic symbologies found elsewhere, as far afield as Egypt, Crete and even China. However, Chinese scholars have suggested that such signs were produced by a convergent development of what might be called a precursor to writing which evolved independently in a number of societies.

Although a large number of symbols are known, most artefacts contain so few symbols that they are very unlikely to represent a complete text. Possibly the only exception is a stone found near Sitovo in Bulgaria, the dating of which is disputed; regardless, the stone has only around 50 symbols. It is unknown which language used the symbols, or indeed whether they stand for a language in the first place.


Sitovo tablet






 spazioinwind.libero.it/ uaarverona/5500.htm

Tablilla de Gradesnica


Informazioni sulla data

La storia dell'umanità dovrebbe essere conteggiata a partire da là dove comincia, cioè dall'inizio dell'uso della scrittura. Rimarrebbe così la spartizione tra "storia" e "preistoria", eliminando quella con riferimento a Gesù, che ha un senso solo per i cristiani.
A questo proposito, la prima forma di scrittura di cui si ha conoscenza è stata datata, secondo una buona parte degli studiosi, al 3500 a. c. Quindi l'anno 2000, per dare un esempio di riferimento, dovrebbe essere il 5500.
Certo, la datazione del C14 ha un certo grado d'imprecisione, che aumenta andando indietro nel tempo, ma in fondo anche la data di nascita del cristo è imprecisa (ammesso che sia esistito), inoltre, eventuali scoperte archeologiche future potrebbero far aggiornare tutte le indicazioni, per cui l'importante è adottare una convenzione con una cifra tonda, e poi non si cambia più.
Non sappiamo se saremo noi a far cambiare il conteggio del tempo nel mondo, ma dal momento che ciascuna cultura ha il suo sistema diverso dagli altri (e spesso un diverso dio che fa da punto di riferimento), perché non cominciare ad usare il nostro?
I cristiani hanno impiegato secoli per imporre il loro calendario; noi, però, viviamo in un'epoca in cui le informazioni viaggiano molto più velocemente, per cui ci metteremo sicuramente molto meno tempo, basta essere determinati a farlo.
Non è poi un'idea così balzana: i cinesi per esempio adottano il calendario internazionale, cioè quello Giuliano, ma l'anno 2000 è l'88 (1912 nascita della repubblica) per quelli di Taiwan, mentre per gli altri l'inizio del conteggio è a partire dalla fondazione della repubblica popolare (1949).

Andrea Cori     

Informazioni sulle origini della scrittura

Un argomento controverso è l'apparizione della scrittura nell'area balcanica. Al riguardo esistono decine di reperti con incisi dei simboli: statuette, tavolette, dischi, vasi, sigilli ed altro. Ecco alcuni dei principali con delle stime sulla loro datazione.


5000-4500 a.c. secondo Marija Gimbutas, libro "The Civilization of the Goddess", editore Harper-Collins, San francisco, 1991, pag. 320.



Alcune delle tavolette scoperte a Tărtăria nel 1961.

3500 a.c. secondo il filologo e linguista bulgaro Vladimir Georviev, membro dell'accademia di Sofia.
3300-3000 a.c. secondo D. G. Zenotti, libro "The position of the Tartaria tablets within the Southeast European Copper Age", American Journal of Archaeology, 87 (2) 1983, pag. 209-213.


Sagittario   Scorpione   Lira
Vergine   Leone   Cancro
Toro   Ariete   Pesci
Capricorno   Gemelli   Acquario

Disco di Karanovo e una sua possibile interpretazione.

6000-3500 a.c. secondo C. Gordon, libro "Before Columbus", editore Crown, 1971, pag. 98-105.
4800 a.c. secondo Flavin D. Richard, libro "The Karanovo Zodiac and Old European Linear" editore Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers, 1998, Vol. 23, pag. 86-92. “Identificazione di una mappa di una sequenza di costellazioni, o zodiaco.”
2600-2300 a.c. secondo J. Makkay, libro "A chalcolithic stamp seal from Karanovo, Bulgaria", in Kadmos 10, 1971, pag. 1-9. “Questa incisione è stata scoperta al livello VI, un livello databile come categoria culturale in associazione al livello "Vinca-Plocnik C" cioè quello in cui è stato rinvenuto il Disco di Vinca.”
3500 a.c. secondo Heinz Siegert, libro "I Traci" editore Garzanti, Milano, 1986, pag. 36.



4000 a.c. secondo Shan M. M. Winn, libro "Pre-writing in Southeastern Europe: The Sign System of the Vinca Culture ca 4000 BC" editore Western Publishers, Calgary, 1981.

Dal libro di Heinz Siegert "I Traci" editore Garzanti, Milano, 1986. Pag 48-49: "In molti siti bulgari e romeni il metodo del radiocarbonio* ha dimostrato che reperti archeologici comparabili erano più antichi degli oggetti trovati in Asia Minore o nella zona orientale del Mar nero. È questa la prova dell'evoluzione parallela."

Fin qui, tutte queste tavolette, rinvenute nell'area danubiana, essendo in argilla sono state datate sulla base di rilievi stratigrafici o di altri indizi archeologici; esse testimoniano lo sviluppo di una proto-scrittura. Si tratterebbero di dischi sacrali o di calendari propiziatori la caccia, la pesca, l'agricoltura, o qualcosa di simile a mappe zodiacali, o un po' tutte queste cose.
Ma veniamo alla scoperta dell'archeologo Gunter Dreyer, direttore dell'Istituto germanico in Egitto.


Dopo dieci anni di scavi, il professore tedesco e la sua troupe hanno annunciato nel corso di una conferenza stampa, svoltasi nella capitale egiziana nel 1982, di aver trovato in una necropoli a circa 400 km dal Cairo, nella località di Abydos, in provincia di Suhag, iscrizioni risalenti al 3500-3400 a.c. La datazione appare certa perché in quella necropoli è stata individuata la tomba del re Scorpione I, uno dei tre o quattro regnanti prima dell'era dei Faraoni.
Considerato che finora l'origine della scrittura si faceva risalire al massimo al 3200 a.c. nella regione tra il Tigri e l'Eufrate, appunto la Mesopotamia, dove abitavano e vivevano i Sumeri, l'ultima scoperta riapre la questione e riaccende vecchie polemiche tra mesopotamici ed egizi. Dalle tombe di Abydos sono emerse numerosissime tavolette grandi 1-2 cm, con iscrizioni di vario tipo. In prevalenza si tratterebbe, dicono gli archeologi tedeschi, di etichette che probabilmente erano apposte a delle merci e di ricevute di tributi versati al re. Tutti questi documenti si possono attribuire benissimo a prodotti che appartenevano a differenti regnanti. Questo può spiegare la differenza tra l'epoca in cui regnò Scorpione I (all'incirca attorno al 3150 a.c.) e la maggior antichità di parecchie di queste tavolette. Su molte di esse sono visibili delle figure, animali, piante, montagne e anche pesci: l'immagine del pesce starebbe a significare "consegna". Sono state recuperate circa trecento tavolette, ovvero minuscole placche d'osso su cui sono incise delle iscrizioni: chiaro che queste placchette erano applicate su vasi o altri contenitori a indicare la merce, il prezzo e la provenienza, oltre a servire da vere e proprie ricevute.

Certo, non è la prima volta che si fanno queste scoperte durante gli scavi. Ma quel che conta, in questo ritrovamento, è la datazione pressoché sicura, perché alcuni di questi documenti sottoposti all'esame del radiocarbonio indicano la data del 3400 a.c. Inoltre, da quel che risulta, i disegni che compongono le iscrizioni non appaiono "primitivi" ma sembrano elaborati, così da far pensare a una disciplina già sviluppata. Il che conferirebbe all'Egitto un diritto di primogenitura, nei confronti della gente di Mesopotamia di quell'epoca, appunto i Sumeri.

Tavoletta sumera.



* Il metodo del radiocarbonio, o C14, serve alla determinazione archeologica delle sostanze organiche (non l'argilla). Messo a punto nel 1946 sulla base dell'ipotesi del chimico americano W. F. Libby e sperimentato per la prima volta nel 1948, questo metodo si fonda sulla constatazione scientifica che nei vegetali e negli animali in vita (e dunque anche nell'uomo) esiste un rapporto costante fra il carbonio normale (C12) che è stabile e un suo isotopo radioattivo instabile, il C14. Con la morte dell'organismo il rapporto muta, poiché non può venire assorbito carbonio né per assimilazione né per nutrimento. L'isotopo C14 si disintegra con un tempo di dimezzamento di 5568 anni. La determinazione del contenuto di C14 rispetto a quello di C12 rende così possibile il calcolo del tempo trascorso dalla morte dell'organismo.
Questo metodo consente di datare reperti lignei e ossei sino a 50.000 anni, con una tolleranza di 100 anni in più o in meno.



 www.unet.com.mk/ ancient-macedonians/sitivo_a.htm

Signos de Sitovo, Macedonia

www.nordic-life.org/ nmh/rovas/

Clay amulet, one of the Tartaria tablets unearthed near Tartaria, Romania, and dated to ca. 4500 BC
Clay amulet, one of the Tartaria tablets unearthed near Tartaria, Romania, and dated to ca. 4500 BC

Old European / Vinča


These symbols have been found on many of the artefacts excavated from sites in south-east Europe, in particular from Vinča near Belgrade, but also in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, eastern Hungary, Moldova, southern Ukraine and the former Yugoslavia. The artefacts date from between the 7th and 4th millennia BC and those decorated with these symbols are between 8,000 and 6,500 years old.

Some scholars believe that the Vinča symbols represent the earliest form of writing ever found, predating ancient Egyptian and Sumerian writing by thousands of years. Since the inscriptions are all short and appear on objects found in burial sites, and the language represented is not known, it is highly unlikely they will ever be deciphered.

Symbols dating from the oldest period of Vinča culture (6th-5th millennia BC)

Oldest Vinča symbols

Common symbols used throughout the Vinča period

Common Vinča symbols

                                  Otros símbolos de  Vinča

Font created by Sorin Paliga (sorin_paliga@mac.com) of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Bucharest, Romania

Download Vinča font (TrueType, 55K)


www.seshat.ch/ home/kirike.htm


The Meander is a Limit of the Whirl. The Meander is a limit of human buildings. When it's harmonized with the spiral it's balancing the spirit's actions with the Nature. When the human's buildings, including the logical ones, have no limits, they are transforming into a labyrinth in which the man is loosing himself.

library.thinkquest.org/ C006353/meandr.html


Do you notice that the meander looks like the brain's "circumlocution"?

  Here are the limits of the human buildings...  
  Seal from Koros, Stracevo-Cris Culture, Katacpart-Vatatanya, near Hodmesovarsarhely, Hungary, 5500 BC
  Seal from Let, Boian Culture, SE Transilvania, Romania, early 5th mill. BC    
    Seal from Tecic, Starcevo Culture, C Yugoslavia, 5500 BC
  Ivory figurines, Mezin, Ukraine, 18.000 BC  
    Figurine from Szegvar-Tuzcoves, Tisza Culture, SE Hungary, c. 5000 BC  
  Seal from Tecic, Starcevo Culture, Yugoslavia, 5500 BC    
    Figurine from Predionica, near Pristina, S Yugoslavia, Late Vinca Culture, c. 4500 BC
Temple from Vadastra, Vincea Culture, SW Romania, c. 5200-5000 BC, H 40 cm  
    Neolithic "book" from Gradesnica, near Vraca, NW Bulgaria, early 5th mill. BC
Figurine from Vinca, Late Vinca Culture, Yugoslavia, c. 4500 BC, H 15,6 cm  
    A fragment from a Dimini Culture vase, Gonia, Greece, 5000 BC  
  Pottery from Letz, Boian Culture, SE Transilvania, Romania, early 5th mill. BC  
    Ritual vessel from Farcasu de Sus, SW Romania, Vinca Culture, early 5th mill. BC
  Vase from Late Sesklo Culture, Chaeroneia, C Greece, 5800-5500 BC, H 30,6 cm
Mask from Prediconica, near Pristina, S Yugoslavia, Vinca Culture, 4500-4000 BC  
    Figurine from Late Vinca Culture, Cronokalacka Bara, near Nis, Yugoslavia, 5th mill. BC  
  Figurine from Starcevo Culture, near Sofia, NW Bulgaria, 5000-4500 BC, H 16 cm  
    Vase from Starcevo Culture, Tecic, near Kragujevac, C Yugoslavia, 5700-5500 BC H 10,9 cm  
  Dishes from Cucuteni A Civilization, Draguseni, near Iassi, NE Romania, c. 4200-4100 BC  
    Figurine from Vinca Culture, Gradesnica, NW Bulgaria, 5000-4500 BC, H 16 cm  
  Vase from Gumelnita Culture, near Bucharest, Romania, c. 4500-4300 BC, H 22 cm  
    Figurine from Starcevo Culture, near Belgrade, Yugoslavia.  
  Figurine from Classical Cucuteni Civilization, Rusestii Noi, near Chisinau, Rep. of  Moldova, 3600 BC  
    Globular jar from Cucuteni Civilization. The rhombuses are divided by tri-lines, there is also a Zig-Zag Column on the tail lid, Brailita, SE Romania, 3600-3400 BC
  Net from Cosauti, rep. of Moldova, 18.000 BC    
    Vase from Late Sesklo Culture, Chaeroneia, C Greece, 5800-5500 BC, H 30,6 cm
Mask from Prediconica, near Pristina, S Yugoslavia, Vinca Culture, 4500-4000 BC  
    Figurine from Late Vinca Culture, Cronokalacka Bara, near Nis, Yugoslavia, 5th mill. BC  
  Figurine from Starcevo Culture, near Sofia, NW Bulgaria, 5000-4500 BC, H 16 cm  
    Vase from Starcevo Culture, Tecic, near Kragujevac, C Yugoslavia, 5700-5500 BC H 10,9 cm  
  Dishes from Cucuteni A Civilization, Draguseni, near Iassi, NE Romania, c. 4200-4100 BC  
    Figurine from Vinca Culture, Gradesnica, NW Bulgaria, 5000-4500 BC, H 16 cm  
  Vase from Gumelnita Culture, near Bucharest, Romania, c. 4500-4300 BC, H 22 cm  
    Figurine from Starcevo Culture, near Belgrade, Yugoslavia.  
  Figurine from Classical Cucuteni Civilization, Rusestii Noi, near Chisinau, Rep. of  Moldova, 3600 BC  
    Globular jar from Cucuteni Civilization. The rhombuses are divided by tri-lines, there is also a Zig-Zag Column on the tail lid, Brailita, SE Romania, 3600-3400 BC


Other undeciphered writing systems

Linear A, Meroïtic, Proto-Elamite, Old Elamite, Rongo Rongo, Vinča

Meaning of the symbols

The nature and purpose of the symbols is still something of a mystery. It is not even clear whether or not they constitute a writing system. If they do, it is not known whether they represent an alphabet, syllabary, ideograms or some other form of writing. Although attempts have been made to decipher the symbols, there is no generally accepted translation or agreement as to what they mean.

At first it was thought that the symbols were simply used as property marks, with no more meaning than "this belongs to X"; a prominent holder of this view is archaeologist P. Biehl. This theory is now mostly abandoned as same symbols have been repeatedly found on the whole territory of Vinča culture, on locations hundreds of kilometers and years away of each other.

The prevailing theory is that the symbols were used for religious purposes in a traditional agricultural society. If so, the fact that the same symbols were used for centuries with little change suggests that the ritual meaning and culture represented by the symbols likewise remained constant for a very long time, with no need for further development. The use of the symbols appear to have been abandoned (along with the objects on which they appear) at the start of the Bronze Age, suggesting that the new technology brought with it significant changes in social organization and beliefs.

One argument in favour of the ritual explanation is that the objects on which the symbols appear do not appear to have had much long-term significance to their owners - they are commonly found in pits and other refuse areas. Certain objects, principally figurines, are most usually found buried under houses. This is consistent with the supposition that they were prepared for household religious ceremonies in which the signs incised on the objects represent expressions: a desire, request, vow or whatever. After the ceremony was completed, the object would either have no further significance (hence would be disposed of) or would be buried ritually (which some have interpreted as votive offerings).

Some of the "comb" or "brush" symbols, which collectively comprise as much as a sixth of all the symbols so far discovered, may represent numbers. Some scholars have pointed out that over a quarter of the inscriptions are located on the bottom of a pot, an ostensibly unlikely place for a religious inscription. The Vinča culture appears to have traded its wares quite widely with other cultures (as demonstrated by the widespread distribution of inscribed pots), so it is possible that the "numerical" symbols conveyed information about the value of the pots or their contents. Other cultures, such as the Minoans and Sumerians, used their scripts primarily as accounting tools; the Vinča symbols may have served a similar purpose.

Other symbols (principally those restricted to the base of pots) are wholly unique. Such signs may denote the contents, provenance/destination or manufacturer/owner of the pot.

Griffen (2005) claims to have partially deciphered the script, identifying signs for "bear", "bird" and "goddess". He compares two spinning whorls, Jela 1 and 2, with almost identical marks, and identifies similar marks on bear and bird figurines. The whorl inscriptions would read "bear — goddess — bird — goddess — bear — goddess–goddess" which he interprets as "bear goddess and bird goddess: bear godess indeed", or "the bear goddess and the bird goddess are really a single bear goddess". Griffen compares the amalgamation of a goddess with bearlike and birdlike attributes in Greek Artemis. Griffen's "goddess" sign is two vertical strokes, apparently symbolizing a vulva; this is reminiscent of the Linear B "female" sign, two upright slanting strokes.


Controversial issues

The Vinča markings have not attracted as much linguistic attention as recognized but undeciphered scripts such as Crete's Linear A and Easter Island's Rongorongo. However, the Vinča material has still managed to stir some controversies of its own.

The primary advocate of the idea that the markings represent writing, and the person who coined the name "Old European Script", was Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994), an important 20th century archaeologist and premier advocate of the notion that the Kurgan culture of Central Asia was an early Indo-European culture. Later in life she turned her attention to the reconstruction of a hypothetical pre-Indo-European Old European culture, which she thought spanned most of Europe. She observed that neolithic European iconography was predominately female — a trend also visible in the inscribed figurines of the Vinča culture — and concluded the existence of a matristic (not matriarchal) culture that worshipped range of goddesses and gods. (Gimbutas did not posit a single universal Mother Goddess.) She also incorporated the Vinča markings into her model of Old Europe, suggesting that they might either be the writing system for an Old European language, or, more probably, a kind of "pre-writing" symbolic system. Most archaeologists and linguists disagree with Gimbutas' interpretation of the Vinča signs as a script: it is all but universally accepted among scholars that the Sumerian cuneiform script is in fact the earliest form of writing.

A rather odder controversy concerns the theories of Dr. Radivoje Pešić from Belgrade. In his book The Vinča Alphabet, he proposes that all of the symbols exist in the Etruscan alphabet, and conversely, that all Etruscan letters are found among Vinča signs. However, these claims are not taken seriously by scholars, who demonstrate that the Etruscan alphabet is derived from the West Greek Alphabet, which in turn is derived from the Phoenician writing system. This is however not completely incompatible with Pešić's views as he claims that the Phoenician writing system descended from Vinčan. Pešić's critics have claimed that his support for the continuity theory, which claims a Slavic presence in the Balkans far earlier than the usually accepted date, is motivated by a nationalistic agenda; hence, for instance, his claim that the poet Homer must have spoken a Slavonic dialect (Pešić, 1989).


See also



  • Gimbutas, Marija. 1974. The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe 7000 - 3500 BC, Mythos, Legends and Cult Images
  • Griffen, Toby D., Deciphering the Vinca Script [1], 2005.
  • Pešić, Radivoje, The Vincha Script (ISBN 86-7540-006-3)
  • Pešić, Radivoje, "On the Scent of Slavic Autochthony in the Balkans," Macedonian Review 19, nos. 2-3 (1989), 115-116
  • Winn, Milton McChesney. 1973. The signs of the Vinča Culture : an internal analysis : their role, chronology and independence from Mesopotamia
  • Winn, Shan M.M. 1981. Pre-writing in Southeastern Europe: the sign system of the Vinča culture, ca. 4000 BC

External links

NOTES: - [ Traduzca esta página ]
Gradesnica, in Archeologija, Sofia, no.3/1970, page 1-9; an interpretation
of "writing” from Tartaria was suggested by Radu Florin in note 13, ...
www.bvau.ro/docs/doc_eng.htm - 106k - En caché - Páginas similares

                                             Dispilio Tablet








                                                                                                         Dispilio Tablet

Windmills Travel and Tourism - [

Dispilio Tablet This tablet dates with certainty from 5260 BC. and is not unlikely to be an early form of written speech, as has been assumed about similar ...
www.windmillstravel.com/album.php?id=1& destination=24&destinationtype=prefect - 62k -

The prehistoric settlement of Dispilio is situated on the southern shore of Kastoria lake, Orestiada, at the site Nissi (=island). It was located in 1932, when the lake level fell.

Systematic excavations (1992 onward) unearthed the remains of a large lakeside settlement of the Late Neolithic period; one of the most important and oldest of its kind in Europe. Excavations at Dispilio constitute a landmark for archaeological investigations in Greece because of the special character of the site and because it permits the study of habitation structures during the Neolithic Period.
The houses of the settlement, circular and rectangular, were built of timber, reed, and clay upon timber-post framed platforms. The modern reconstruction of the lakeside settlement provides a wonderful insight into the habitation norms of that period.
  • 5,500 B.C. (approx.) - The Lake Settlement of Dispilio in Castoria: A unique in its kind lake settlement with exceptional findings such as ceramic works, structural elements, fruits, bones, figurines, the first late stone-age flute found in European soil and the most significant finding, the Dispilio Tablet, a wooden tablet bearing inscribed symbols, dated (according to the C14 method) back to 5260 B.C.

  • http://www.archaeonia.com/history/prehistory.htm


Dispilio. Linear writing symbols,
found incised on a wooden tablet.
The tablet dates from 5260 BC (Late Neolithic I).
Hellenic Ministry of Culture/ARF.
Chourmouziadis, G.Ch.,
O limnaios proistorikos oikismos tou Dispiliou Kastorias,
kodikas, Thessaloniki 1996, p. 5.

© Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Image processing: FHW

Dispilio and many more Hellinic Neolithic sites can be found here:
(just click on gallery)


Dispilio Tablet

This tablet dates with certainty from 5260 BC. and is not unlikely to be an early form of written speech, as has been assumed about similar symbols incised on clay, discovered at the Vinca culture settlements in the southern Balkans. If it is proved so, the beginning of writing goes back in time two thousand years



The Dispilio Tablet is a wooden tablet bearing inscribed symbols dated between 7,260 B.C. and 5.250 B.C.; the table was discovered in Dispilio Lake settlement by George Chourmouziadis.

Dispilio. Linear writing symbols,
found incised on a wooden tablet.
The tablet dates from 5260 BC (Late Neolithic I).
Hellenic Ministry of Culture/ARF. Chourmouziadis, G.Ch.,
O limnaios proistorikos oikismos tou Dispiliou Kastorias,
kodikas, Thessaloniki 1996, p. 5.






These references include both mainstream scholarship and fringe theories.

  • M.G. Abdushelishvili. The genesis of the aboriginal population of the Caucasus in the light of anthropological data, Tokyo, 1968
  • Milan Budimir, The Greeks and Pelasti (1950)
  • Milan Budimir, Pelasto - Slavica (1956)
  • E.J. Furnee. Vorgriechisch-Kartvelisches: Studium zum ostmediterranen Subtrat nebst einem Versuch zu einer neuen pelasgischen Theorie, Leuven-Louvian, 1979
  • Rismag Gordeziani. Pre-Grecian and Georgian, Tbilisi, 1985 (in Georgian, German summary)
  • Donald A. Mackenzie, Myths of Crete and Pre-Hellenic Europe, 1917 reviewed
  • J. Melaart. The Neolithic of the Near East, London, 1975
  • F. Schachermeyr. Die Ägäische Frühzeit. Forschungsbericht über die Ausgrabungen im letzten Jahrzehnt und über ihre Ergebnisse für unser Geschichtsbild. Bd. I. Die Vormykenischen Perioden des Griechischen Festlandes und der Kykladen, Vienna, 1979
  • Akaki Urushadze. The Country of the Enchantress Media, Tbilisi, 1984, 25 pp (in Russian and English)
  • Aristeidē P. Kollia. "Arvanites kai hē katagōgē tōn Hellēnōn : historikē, laographikē, politistikē, glōssologikē episkopisē , Athens : [A.P. Kollias], 1985, [i.e. 1986]
  • Robert d'Angély. Des Thraces & des Illyriens à Homère Nicariu, Corsica : Cismonte è Pumonti, c1990
  • Robert d'Angély. Grammaire albanaise comparée Paris : [Solange d'Angély], 1998
  • Nermin Vlora Falaschi. L'Etrusco lingua viva Roma : Bardi, 1989
  • Giuseppe Catapano. Thot Parlava Albanese Roma : Bardi, 1988
  • Marchiano Stanislao. I Pelasgi e la loro lingua (1888)
  • Mathieu Aref. Albanie ou l'incroyable odyssée d'un peuple préhellénique (2003)
  • Mathieu Aref. Grèce : (Mycéniens = Pélasges) ou la solution d'une énigme (2004)


Studies in Ancient Chronology


Chronology Links of Interest

We give here a few links of chronological interest, which we hope will prove useful. As there is little yet available on the Internet concerning the traditional topics fundamental to ancient dating (such as stratigraphy, ceramic typology, chronicles, kinglists and genealogies), our selection concentrates on scientific methods.




  • ABZU
    Guide to the resources for the study of the Ancient Near East available on the Internet (Oriental Institute Chicago).
  • ANE
    Discussion list for the study of the Ancient Near East.
  • SCIEM 2000
    An ambitious project for the "Synchronization of Civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 2nd Millennium B.C.", funded by the Austrian Academy.
  • The Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean
    A useful summary by Jeremy Rutter of Dartmouth College.
  • Megiddo: The Chronology Debate
    From the archaeology pages of Tel Aviv University.
  • Palestine Exploration Fund
    The leading British society for the promotion of research into the archaeology, history, culture, topography, geology and natural sciences of Palestine.

Greek archaeologist George Chourmouziadis discovered a wooden [[Dispilio Tablet]], which He claims to show Ancient Greek Letters dating between 7250 and



Dispilio Excavations  
Visit the official website of the excavations at the Neolithic Lakeside Settlement of Dispilio, Greece.


The Dispilio Tablet (also known as the Dispilio Scripture or Disk) is a wooden tablet bearing inscribed symbols (charagmata), dated (according to the carbon 14 method) to about 7300 years before present. The Dispilio Tablet, discovered in 1993, is among numerous archaeological findings located in the Neolithic lake settlement of Dispilio in the northern Greek prefecture of Kastoria. The lake settlement of Dispilio was accidentally discovered in 1932 by Antonios Keramopoulos, a Greek university professor. In 1992, archaeological excavations began at the site, with a team led by the professor of prehistoric archaeology from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, George Chourmouziadis.

At the Dispilio lake settlement a number of items were found, including ceramics, structural elements, fruits, bones, figurines, the first Neolithic flute found in Europe and the most significant finding, the Dispilio Tablet, its discovery first made public by Dr. Chourmouziadis at an annual archaeological symposium in February 1994 at the University of Thessaloniki. The findings were extensivley published in the June 2000 issue of Eptakyklos with almost 150 pages of articles, sketches and photographs. These included articles by Professor Chourmouziadis and members of his team, concerning lake dwellings in general and on the site's paleoenvironment, botany, fishing techniques, tools and ceramics.

Moreover, the age of the lake settlement in Kastoria was developed between 5,500 B.C. and 5,000 B.C. There was some damage to the tablet when it was abruptly exposed to the oxygen-rich environment outside of the mud and water it was immersed in for a long period of time. A recreation of the lake dwellers' settlement has been erected near the site.

Linear A symbols of the Dispilio Tablet.
Linear A symbols of the Dispilio Tablet.
The inscribed symbols of the Dispilio Tablet.
The inscribed symbols of the Dispilio Tablet.



See also