The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #29 September / October 2017
News Brief
by Erik Zidowecki
September / October 2017 | 
News Brief
3000 Year Old Script
Discovered In Georgia

An archaeological expedition from Tbilisi State University discovered in 2015 some ancient writings at Grakliani Hill, near Kaspi town. Experts agreed that the text, which seemed to actually be two languages, was a sample of written languages but they had no idea what writing system the scripts used. They only knew was that both writings dated back about 3,000 years.

This was an amazing find, and it also created new questions. "A written language is a sign of civilization, and the world has now enriched with another huge civilization,” said the head of the Institute of Archeology of Tbilisi State University, Vakhta. This means that there existed not just more languages, but perhaps an entire previously unknown civilization!

What is more is that Beta Analytic, the world's largest professional radiocarbon dating laboratory, recently determined that the text dated back to the 11th or 10th century BC. This means that written language existed for those living in Georgian territory around 3,000 years ago.

Up until now, the Bolnisi inscriptions were believed to be the oldest Georgian language inscriptions. They were dated to 494 AD. This had placed Georgia as the fifth oldest script out of the world’s 14 writing systems.

This new discovery will probably change that, as the Grakliani unknown writing is now the third oldest writing system, "younger" only then the 3,500-year-old Chinese hieroglyphs and Cuneiform script.

Voynich Manuscript Translated
... Or Not

One of the last linguistic mysteries is the Voynich Manuscript. It is a strange booklet, presumably from the 15 century, full of pictures of women and plants and a unique and untranslated text.

There have been many attempts to translate the work and explain its purpose, but no one has been able to come up with a comprehensive explanation.

Very recently, a history researcher and television writer by the name of Nicholas Gibbs published an article in the _Times Literary Supplement_, claiming he cracked the code on the mysterious book. He believes it is actually a guide to women's health and was mostly plagiarized from other works of the time period.

As happens with each attempt at an explanation, many immediately dismissed the claims as false. Experts say his analysis is a mix of stuff already believed to be true along with stuff Gibbs could not possibly prove.

Others disagree with a series of abbreviations which Gibbs claimed were common from other medieval Latin texts. Harvard's Houghton Library curator of early modern books John Overholt posted about it on Twitter: "We're not buying this Voynich thing, right?". The editor of History Today, Medievalist Kate Wiles, replied, "I've yet to see a medievalist who does. Personally I object to his interpretation of abbreviations."

So to sum it up, the Voynich Manuscript was explained then the explanation was debunked...again. Will we ever have a true solution?

News Brief
Writer: Erik Zidowecki

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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