8 Ancient Writing Systems That Haven’t Been Deciphered Yet

8 Ancient Writing Systems That Haven’t Been Deciphered Yet

The Indus Valley civilization was probably the most advanced on earth for longer than 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.

Some recent attempts to decipher it over at Nature, Andrew Robinson looks at the reasons why the Indus Valley script has been so difficult to crack, and details. It to other scripts since we don’t know anything about the underlying language and there’s no multilingual Rosetta stone, scholars have analyzed its structure for clues and compared. Most Indologists think it really is “logo-syllabic” script like Sumerian cuneiform or Mayan glyphs. Nevertheless they disagree about whether it was a spoken language or a complete writing system; some believe it represented only part 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 in the script’s sequences.Continue reading