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                                Old European Script


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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.

La antigus escritura  europea( The Old European Script (también conocida como  Vinča alphabet, Vinča script o Vinča-Tordos script) es el nombre que se da aveces a las marcas halladas en artefactos prehistóricos hallados en el  sudeste de Europa.

Estos símbolos  (fechados entre el VI-V milenios a.C.)  se han descubierto en numerosos lugares del sudeste de  Europa y sobre todo en Vinça, cerca de Belgrado. Pero también en Grecia,  Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungría, Moldavia y Ucrania


www.prehistory.it/ ftp/winn2.htm: Signos de Tordos

Algunos historiadores y lingüistas  suponen que se trata de un  sistema de escritura   de la  Cultura de Vinča , cuyos individuos habitaban la región alrededor del  6000-4000 a.C.

Otros dudan que las marcas sean signos de escritura y se refieren solo a símbolos , debido a lo escaso de los signos que aparecen agrupados  inscriptions




5. Doble  M  en un fragmento de cerámica de Corinto, Grecia, cca 4200 BC.

El descubrimiento de la escritura

En  1875,  excavaciones arqueológicas  llevadas a cabo por la arqueóloga  Zsofia Torma (1840 - 1899) en Turdaş (Tordos), cerca de  Orăştie en Transylvania (now Romania) sacaron a la luz una serie de objetos escritos con signos desconocidos.

 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.


www.prehistory.it/ ftp/winn2.htm

Figure 1. Partial distribution of sites having evidence of sign usage



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.

Figure 3. Examples of new evidence pertaining to Parţa and Tordos (Turdaş)



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.

La importancia de estos hallazgos es que se   datan por el contexto alrededor del  4000 BC, alrededor de MIL ańos antes de que apareciesen los pictogramas   protosumerios de  Uruk (moderno Iraq), considerados como la primera  y más antigua escritura conocida .


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.

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




. (a,b) Tartaria (Vlassa 1963); (c) Lepenski Vir (Winn 1981); (d,e) actual and regularized composition on the stone; (f) Gradešnica (Nikolov 1970); (g) Tangiru (Berciu, 1961)

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).


Ver también :



  • 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

Links externos


Berciu, C., 1961.  Contributii la Problemele Neoliticului in Lumine Noilor Cerecetari, Bucharest.

Evans, A.J. 1897. Further Discoveries of Cretan and Aegean Script: with Libyan and Proto‑Egyptian Comparison, Journal of Hellenic Studies XVII:327‑395.

Falkenstein, A., 1965.  Zu dem Tontafeln aus Tartaria, Germania, 43:269‑273.

Foster, M.L. , 1984. Iconic Representations in the Paleolithic. Paper delivered at the symposium, Symbolism in Lithic Cultures, American Anthropological Association, Denver.

Georgiev, V.I., 1969. Un Sceau inscrit de l'epoque Chalcolithique trouve en Thrace,  Studi Micenei ed Egeo‑Anatolici, IX: 32‑35.

Hood, M.S.F. , 1967.  The Tartaria Tablets, Antiquity, 41:99‑102.

Lazarovici, Gh. 1970. Cultura Vinča A in Banat. Acta Musei Napocensis VII:473-487.

Makkay, J., 1968. The Tartaria Tablets, Orientalia 37:272‑289.
‑‑‑‑‑, 1969. The Late Neolithic Tordos Group of Signs, Alba Regia, X, Székesféhervár, 9‑49.

‑‑‑‑‑, 1971. A Chalcolithic Stamp Seal from Karanavo, Bulgaria, Kadmos, X: 1‑9.

Mikov, V., G.I. Georgiev, and V.I. Georgiev, 1969. Nadpis't v'rkhu kr'glija pecat ot Karanovo Najdrevnata pismenost v Evropa, (Resumé:  L'inscription du sceau circulaire de Karanovo‑‑la plus ancienne écriture d'Europe), Arkheologija XI:4‑13.

Nikolov, B., 1970.  Glinena plocka c pismeni znaci ot s. Gradešnica, Vra
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Pontius, A.A. , 1984a.
Emergence of Written Language: Neuro‑Biological Substrates, International Journal of Biosocial Research, 6: 15‑28.
‑‑‑‑‑, 1984b. Model of Ecological (Cultural) Evolutionary Neuropsychiatry, Perceptual and Motor Skills, 58:143‑148.

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‑‑‑‑‑, 1973. Before Civilization:  The Radiocarbon Revolution in  Prehistoric Europe. New York.

Roska, Marton, 1941. A Torma Zsófia Gyüjtemény  (Die Sammlung Zsófia Von Torma).
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Schmidt, H. 1903,  Tordos,  Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 35:438‑469.

_, J., 1970. Written Signs in the Neolithic Cultures of Southeastern Europe, Archaeologica Iugoslavica, X: 74‑84.

Vasić, M. M. 1908. Southeastern Elements in the Prehistoric Civilization of Servia. Annual of the British School at            Athens XIV:319‑341.
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Vlassa, N., 1963. Chronology of the Neolithic in Transylvania, in the Light of the Tartaria Settlement's Stratigraphy, Dacia, N.S. VII: 485‑494.

-----, 1969. Einege Bemerkungen zu Fragen des Neolithikums in Siebenbürgen, Studijné Zvesti, 17:513‑540.

‑‑‑‑‑, 1970. Kulturelle Beziehungen des Neolithikums Siebenbürgens zum Vorderen Orient, Acta Musei Napocensis, VII:3‑39.

‑‑‑‑‑, 1974. Neue Beiträge Zur Frage orientalischer Einflüsse im Neolithikum Siebenbürgens, Praehistorische         Zeitschrift, 49:181‑192.

Winn, Shan . M. M. , 1981. Pre‑Writing in Southeastern Europe: The Sign System of the Vinča Culture ca. 4000 B.C. Western Publishers, Calgary.
-----, 1973.  The Signs of the Vinča Culture: an Internal Analysis; Their Role, Chronology and Independence from Mesopotamia.  University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
-----, 1990.  A Neolithic Sign System in Southeastern Europe, The Life of Symbols, ed. by  Mary Le Cron Foster and Lucy Jayne Botscharow.  Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Zanotti, D.G., 1983. The Position of the Tartaria Tablets within the Southeast European Copper Age, American Journal of Archaeology, 87:209-213.