The Indus Valley civilization was perhaps one of the most advanced on the planet for over 500 years, with more than one thousand settlements sprawling across 250,000 square miles of what is now Pakistan and northwest India from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. It had several large, well-planned cities like Mohenjo-daro, common iconography—and a script no one has been able to understand.
Over at Nature, Andrew Robinson looks at the reasons why the Indus Valley script happens to be so hard to crack, and details some recent attempts to decipher it. Since we don’t know any single thing about the underlying language and there is no multilingual Rosetta stone, scholars have analyzed its structure for clues and compared it with other scripts. Most Indologists think it really is “logo-syllabic” script like Sumerian cuneiform or Mayan glyphs. But they disagree about whether or not it was a spoken language or a complete writing system; some believe it represented only element of an Indus language, Robinson writes.
One team has developed the first publicly available, electronic corpus of Indus texts.
Another, led by computer scientist Rajesh Rao, analyzed the randomness into the script’s sequences. Their results pay for essay indicated it really is most comparable to Sumerian cuneiform, which implies it may represent a language. Read the article that is full more details.
The Indus Valley script is far from the only one to keep mysterious. Here are eight others you may try your hand at deciphering.
1. Linear A
In 1893, British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans purchased some ancient stones with mysterious inscriptions in it at a flea market in Athens. On a later trip to your excavations at Knossos in the island of Crete, he recognized one of the symbols from his stones and began a research of this tablets that are engraved uncovered at various sites regarding the island. He discovered two different systems, which he called Linear A and Linear B. Read More…