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Prehistorc tablet calls into question history of writing

Back in 1993, in a Neolithic lakeshore settlement that occupied an artificial island near the modern village of Dispilio on Lake Kastoria in the Kastoria Prefecture, professor George Hourmouziadis and his team unearthed the Dispilio Tablet (also known as the Dispilio Scripture or the Dispilio Disk), a wooden tablet bearing inscribed markings (charagmata) that has been carbon 14-dated to about 7300 BP (5260 BC). 

Prehistorc tablet calls into question history of writing
The Dispilio Tablet [Credit: mlahanas]
In February 2004, during the announcement of the Tablet’s discovery to the world, Hourmouziadis claimed that the text with the markings could not be easily publicized because it would ultimately change the current historical background concerning the origins of writing and articulate speech depicted with letters instead of ideograms within the borders of the ancient Greek world and by extension, the broader European one. 

According to the Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the markings suggested that the current theory proposing that the ancient Greeks received their alphabet from the ancient civilizations of the Middle East (Babylonians, Sumerians and Phoenicians etc) fails to close the historic gap of some 4,000 years. This gap translates into the following facts:  while ancient eastern civilizations would use ideograms to express themselves, the ancient Greeks were using syllables in a similar manner like we use today. 

Prehistorc tablet calls into question history of writing
The inscribed symbols of the Dispilio Tablet [Credit: mlahanas]
The currently accepted historic theory taught around the world suggests that the ancient Greeks learned to write around 800 BC from the Phoenicians. However, a question emerges among scholars: how is it possible for the Greek language to have 800,000 word entries, ranking first among all known languages in the world, while the second next has only 250,000 word entries? How is it possible for the Homeric Poems to have been produced at about 800 BC, which is just when the ancient Greeks learned to write? It would be impossible for the ancient Greeks to write these poetic works without having had a history of writing of at least 10,000 years back, according to a US linguistic research. 

The tablet is 2,000 years older than the written findings from the Sumerian era and 4,000 years older than the Cretan-Mycenean linear types of writing. 

According to Hourmouziadis’ statements back in 1994, the markings on the tablet did not resemble the human figures, the sun and moon or other figures ideograms usually depict. They actually showed signs of advanced apheresis, which indicates they are the result of cognitive processes. 

The tablet was partially damaged when it was exposed to the oxygen-rich environment outside of the mud and water in which it was immersed for a long period of time, and it is now under conservation. The full academic publication of the tablet apparently awaits the completion of the work of conservation. 

Author: Stella Tsolakidou | Source: Greek Reporter [July 16, 2012]

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  1. Does it hold truths .. will it reveal anything worth writing about?

  2. What's very interesting to me is that one of the main characters in my thriller novel "Emerald" proposes pretty close to this scenario, arguing that Vinca was a spoken and written language, ultimately evolved from the language spoken (and some argue, written) by the Cro-Magnons.

    I meant it to be fiction, but this is fascinating!

    Brian January

  3. Greek is an Indo-European language. The Indo-European language group didn't emerge until around 3000 BCE. The first evidence of Greek language comes from the Linear B writings after 1400 BCE.

    If those marks represent a written language, it would have little to do with Greek or Indo-European language - or perhaps any known language.

  4. Good point, rouge77. Exciting, though, eh? Brian January, is your book on Amazon? Must check!

  5. It's evident that the real process of learning to write of the greeks is other

  6. Well i hope that the studies will continue as it might be proved that the ability of the Greeks on writing to be the most ancient, certainly school books will change

  7. Ha! E T are the first letters then theres a representation of the all seeing eye pyramid ;) just my observation

  8. “Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” ~George Orwell

  9. That myth of "Indo-European" roots of the Greek language and Greeks must end. Greeks were autochthonous to their lands and recent DNA analysis confirms this proposition.

    Moreover, the common belief that "Phoenicians gave their Alphabet to Greeks" is another myth that needs revision. It's very unlikely that the "receivers" of a writing system can produce far superior literature than the "donors" just as this alleged "giving" was taking place.

  10. ALPHA ---------------------------------------------------------OMEGA

  11. See the blog post 'Ever heard of the Dispilio Tablet?' on Quora if you are curious about the possibility of reading the Dispilio tablet.
    If you compare the script on the Dispilio tablet to Linear B, about half of the Dispilio signs are Linear B, some tipped over or inverted, but they are recognizable.

  12. Because the wood was carbon dated to 7000-8000 BC, does not necessarily mean the inscriptions were done at the same era as the tree that this wood came from.

  13. Because the wood was carbon dated to 7000-8000 BC, does not necessarily mean the inscriptions were done at the same era as the tree that this wood came from.

  14. The top letters in the left hand corner, appear to be FE or iron in my opinion.

  15. The dating of this artifact relies solely on Carbon 14. The problem I see is the one called ' old wood problem'. The dating technique tells us the age of the wood (barring contamination) and not the time when the writing was made.

  16. Thanks for sharing this information.Nice article you have been posted, It's very informative and helpful.


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