2,500-year-old slate containing drawings of battle scenes and paleo-alphabet discovered in Spain

By Jurassic JennJun 15, 2024 13:37 PMScience
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2,500-year-old slate containing drawings of battle scenes and paleo-alphabet discovered in Spain
2,500-year-old slate containing drawings of battle scenes and paleo-alphabet discovered in Spain. Source: www.lavanguardia.com

A remarkable discovery has unfolded in Spain as archaeologists have stumbled upon an extraordinary stone tablet featuring intriguing ancient drawings. This significant find showcases vivid Tartessian battle scenes and an elaborate alphabet. The tablet was revealed during ongoing excavations at Casas del Turuñuelo, an ancient Tartessian site in Spain's southwestern region.

The Tartessos people, an enigmatic civilization historically established in the Iberian Peninsula as early as the eighth century B.C., were renowned for their intricate writing system. However, by the fourth century B.C., the Tartessos people mysteriously disappeared. This newly discovered artifact offers invaluable insights into their culture and language.

Etched onto the slate's edges, experts have identified a sequence of 21 signs engraved in Paleo-Hispanic script, an ancient Iberian writing system. Unfortunately, a portion of the slate is missing, making it difficult to determine the exact letters absent from the series. Scholars estimate that approximately six signs were lost in the fragmented area of the plate, creating speculation on the original length of the alphabetical sequence.

Joan Ferrer i Jané, a paleohispanic philology researcher from the University of Barcelona, laments the loss of the final section of the alphabet, which typically exhibits distinct deviations. He suggests that if the slate were symmetrical, with signs adorning three of the four sides, the complete alphabet could have comprised up to 32 signs.

Measuring nearly 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length, the tablet also exhibits embedded engravings depicting three warriors engaged in a fierce battle. It is believed that these sketches served as a training ground for the artist, providing an opportunity to hone their craft, perfecting similar motifs they would later carve onto gold, ivory, or wood.

Esteemed archaeologist Esther Rodríguez González, who played a crucial role in leading the excavation, expresses the significance of this discovery for the study of Tartessos and its rich artisanal processes. This finding offers an unprecedented glimpse into the mysterious civilization and unravels crucial knowledge relating to the characters represented through their clothing, weaponry, and headdresses.

This remarkable slate serves as a testament to Tartessos' mastery of both visual artistry and linguistic intricacies, shedding light on an ancient world that had faded into obscurity. As archaeologists continue to explore the depths of Spain's historical landscapes, each new find unravels tales that expand our understanding of humanity's ancient civilizations.

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