A group of archaeologists has discovered a new unknown language thousands of years old. The problem is that they don’t know how to decipher it.
Experts claim that the language belongs to the Anatolian Indo-European family
Archaeological excavations have been carried out in the ancient city of Boğazköy-Hattusha in Turkey for decades , many of them under the direction of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). The main reason is that dozens of ancient languages abound in that place , which once served as the capital of the Hittite empire that ruled the central-northern country in the Bronze Age, between 1650 and 1200 BC.
Among the discoveries made over an entire century, around 30,000 clay tablets have been found that detail the customs and what the society of that Anatolia so far away in time was like. Due to all this historical heritage, the place was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.
Most of these tablets contained inscriptions in Hittite , the oldest recorded Indo-European language (and the linguistic tree through which English and many other European languages originated), also other regional languages such as Luwian, Palaic or Hatic. However, a few weeks ago, investigations in this archaeological site discovered something unexpected: a new unknown language .
Yes, a new language that until now no one knows how to decipher.
It was discovered hidden alongside another cult text (in Hittite) inscribed on a tablet at the aforementioned site of Hattusha. That text specifically belongs to a language from the land of Kalašma , an area that was located northwest of the border of the Hittite empire, where the cities of Bolu or Gerede in northern Turkey are today. And next to that particular ancient ritual text was a short recitation of a mysterious language.
It comes from the “mother” of almost all languages
What the inscription says is still an unsolved enigma, although according to the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Germany , a public research university, the language belongs to the Anatolian Indo-European family, which many call the language ” mother” . And, as their name suggests, Indo-European languages constitute a large family that covers many modern countries in Europe, the Iranian plateau and the Indian subcontinent.
In fact, almost half of the world’s population speaks an Indo-European language, which includes English, Hindi, Spanish , French, Russian, Portuguese, German, Punjabi and Bengali. Historians believe that this language originated around the Black Sea, in what is now southern Ukraine.
Returning to the mysterious tablet, experts believe that although the discovery is a milestone, it was to be expected that new ancient languages would be found at the site, as the Hittites strove to preserve many languages.
“The Hittites were especially interested in recording rituals in foreign languages,” Daniel Schwemer , director of JMU’s Chair of Ancient Near Eastern Studies, said in a statement.
Furthermore, this new discovery could in the future reveal new data about the Hittite civilization, a people from Anatolia who dominated much of what is now Turkey in the second millennium BC and who are frequently mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. The truth is that it was an economic power that left an immense cultural mark throughout the world.
It is not the only lost language discovered recently. Earlier this year, researchers announced that they had deciphered an ancient script that no one had been able to understand for decades. In this study published in the journal Transactions of the Philological Society , scientists detail how they achieved this feat: understanding an unknown ancient writing system once used in Central Asia between 200 BC and 700 AD