snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » History » Near-7000 year old stone tablet found in Bulgaria may have proto-writing

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Near-7000 year old stone tablet found in Bulgaria may have proto-writing
Minstrel gone caroling
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 106 posted      Profile for Minstrel gone caroling   Author's Homepage   E-mail Minstrel gone caroling   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
For the archaeology fans:
quote:
An almost 7,000-year old stone tablet found in Bulgaria bears carvings that might turn out to be one of the world's oldest inscriptions, a prominent Bulgarian archaeologist said Thursday.
I love articles like this. [Smile]

--------------------
Last year's goat was burned down by vandals dressed up as Santa Claus and the Gingerbread Man. They were never caught.
My blog. The Adventures of the Fish O'Thwacking.
Countdown: 177 days (or less!)

Posts: 4926 | From: NW Ohio | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Casey, making hot chocolate
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Casey, making hot chocolate   Author's Homepage   E-mail Casey, making hot chocolate   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
*reads closely*

"There once was a man from Nantucket..."

So that's where that came from! [lol]

--------------------
"To be or not to be! That is the question! Now, will you answer, dare, double dare, or take the Physical Challenge?" --Mark Summers as Hamlet
Countdown: 177 days and counting... or less. My blog. 14 keyboards owed.

Posts: 5584 | From: Ohio | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 206 posted      Profile for Signora Del Drago     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
[HIJACK]Okay, I have to ask. 321 days and counting until what? I'm sure I missed it somewhere along the line, but I cannot stand it any longer. Izzat when yer gittin' married? Probably not, since Casey has been counting down since before he bought Minstrel the new sheets. No more corrigibling until you tell me!!!11!!!oneone!!![/HIJACK]

I bet Nikolai Ovcharov is the person who really unearthed it.

Here's another good one for you, Minstrel.
Ancient Writings Revealed!

--------------------
"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Casey, making hot chocolate
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Casey, making hot chocolate   Author's Homepage   E-mail Casey, making hot chocolate   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
[HIJACK] Ding! Correct! [Smile]

--------------------
"To be or not to be! That is the question! Now, will you answer, dare, double dare, or take the Physical Challenge?" --Mark Summers as Hamlet
Countdown: 177 days and counting... or less. My blog. 14 keyboards owed.

Posts: 5584 | From: Ohio | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Delta-V
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Delta-V     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Ovcharov said he had received the tablet from a private collector who had unearthed it 20 years ago.
In other words, there's no context. I wonder how they dated it?

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

Posts: 1225 | From: Wichita, Kansas | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 04 posted      Profile for Signora Del Drago     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Casey, rolling home:
[HIJACK] Ding! Correct! [Smile]

Woo Hoo!

{{{Corrigibling, Corrigibling - Casey & Minstrel}}}

I lurve you guys! <3


--------------------
"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
skeptic
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for skeptic         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
quote:
Ovcharov said he had received the tablet from a private collector who had unearthed it 20 years ago.
In other words, there's no context. I wonder how they dated it?
Good point, as Carbon 14 needs organic matter. Still it will be interesting to see how it pans out. I have read some of the stories about decrypting old texts, but unfortunatly, there is not enough to do anything with here.

--------------------
I like free speech. It lets me know who the idiots are.

Posts: 407 | From: Ireland | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mad Jay
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mad Jay     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm not an archeological expert, nor do I play one on TV, but the table has 10 differrent geometric shapes. How can they determine that the shapes are writing? For all we know they might be part of a piece of ancient abstract painting.

--------------------
Nico Sasha
In between my father's fields;And the citadels of the rule; Lies a no-man's land which I must cross; To find my stolen jewel.

Posts: 4912 | From: VA | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Casey, making hot chocolate
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Casey, making hot chocolate   Author's Homepage   E-mail Casey, making hot chocolate   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Maybe they resemble something seen later, similar to how fossils can be placed in order by how things refine?

--------------------
"To be or not to be! That is the question! Now, will you answer, dare, double dare, or take the Physical Challenge?" --Mark Summers as Hamlet
Countdown: 177 days and counting... or less. My blog. 14 keyboards owed.

Posts: 5584 | From: Ohio | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Daniceguy
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 108 posted      Profile for Daniceguy     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
When I first saw the topic "Near-7000 year old stone..." I thought this was going to be a thread about Mick Jagger!

--------------------
"Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes!"

"No it isn't."

Posts: 171 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Norton II
Deck the Malls


Icon 505 posted      Profile for Norton II   E-mail Norton II       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mad Jay:
I'm not an archeological expert, nor do I play one on TV, but the table has 10 differrent geometric shapes. How can they determine that the shapes are writing? For all we know they might be part of a piece of ancient abstract painting.

I'm completely iggerant about archaeologicals, but to me the inscriptions look remarkably like pottery decorations. Also, how do you get a script with a few geometric designs on three pieces of stone?

--------------------
Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico

Posts: 287 | From: Mystic, CT | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Joostik
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Joostik   Author's Homepage   E-mail Joostik   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
In other words, there's no context. I wonder how they dated it?

If it had been ceramic it could have been dated (thermoluminence), but with a piece of stone the best you can get is whether the carvings are relatively "old" or "recent".

I suppose the dating is based on their resemblance to other objects, mainly pottery shards, from the Vinča and related cultures.

quote:
Two similar tablets also dating back to the 5th millenium B.C. have also been found in Bulgaria many years ago.
He probably means the so-called Gradešnica plaque and Karanovo seal.

In short: similar inscriptions have been known for a long time, their significance (not so much their age, which is generally accepted) is still hotly debated.

Posts: 794 | From: Utrecht, Utrecht | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Andrew of Ware, England   Author's Homepage   E-mail Andrew of Ware, England   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
With stone carving it is possible to examine the inscription in detail to determine whether they were done with an ancient or modern tool. In addition they can look at the amount of wear around the carving.

The latter method can never be exact, because it depends in what context the stone had been kept in.

BTW: It has been a busy day for archaeology in Bulgaria.

Ancient sacrificial (?) dagger found in Bulgaria (BBC story)

quote:
Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of Bulgaria's National Museum, told Reuters news agency the discovery was "sensational".


--------------------
Andrew, Ware, England

Posts: 1709 | From: Ware, England | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Johnny Slick
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Johnny Slick   E-mail Johnny Slick   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
They can also carbon-date the stuff they found along with the tablet, although a. that's pretty unwieldy (for example, if a later culture came along and appropriated someone else's artifact, it might make it look a lot younger than it really is), and b. it sounds like they don't have any context like another poster said. The "what kind of tool was used" can be a little unwieldy as well, as you're essentially supposing that the tools you found somewhere else in the same general area were used in the tablet area at the same time.

I'd be interested in seeing more info about this; the info is REALLY sparse and that kind of gets my Spidey senses tingling.

--------------------
Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.

Posts: 4267 | From: Seattle | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jason Threadslayer     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mad Jay:
How can they determine that the shapes are writing? For all we know they might be part of a piece of ancient abstract painting.

From the article:
quote:
An almost 7,000-year old stone tablet found in Bulgaria bears carvings that might turn out to be one of the world's oldest inscriptions, a prominent Bulgarian archaeologist said Thursday. (emphasis added)
quote:
Two similar tablets also dating back to the 5th millenium B.C. have also been found in Bulgaria many years ago. It could be argued that their carvings, although rather schematic, are part of the same proto-script, Ovcharov said.


--------------------
All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

Turing test failures: 6

Posts: 5481 | From: Decatur, GA | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
PallasAthena
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for PallasAthena     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Dredging up memories from my archaeolgy class in college...

I believe it is possible to date stone. Isotope spin or something? I'll go look it up. IIRC, though, in order to date the stone, you have to break it or fracture it.

ETA: Here is a general site on dating methods in achaeology.

The one I was thinking of was Potassium-Argon dating, but I'm not sure how useful it would be in this case. Potassium-Argon dating is for much older material. I would think it would be incredibly difficult to date this out of context.

I'm still digging for info.

ETA2: Here is an article discussing in detail that I have difficulty following, the process by which some rock art from Utah was dated. Not sure how or if this method or one similar would apply to the Bulgarian tablet.

ETA3: (removed because it didn't make sense on second thought)

--------------------
"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about." --Ray Nagin

Posts: 1325 | From: Missouri | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ieuan ab Arthur
The First USA Noel


Icon 206 posted      Profile for Ieuan ab Arthur     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Hi All:

Going from my days in Arch back in university, they are going to have a very hard time proving that this artifact is 4th/5th millenium BC. The biggest problem against absolute dating is that it comes from an unknown context. This means:

  • There is no horizon that can be used to date the find geologically.
  • There is no assemblage (i.e., other artifacts associated with the find) to use in any comparison
  • There is no organic material for C-14 dating.
  • As it is stone, it can't be dated in itself (as can certain other materials such as ceramics)

This only leaves the old method of "It looks earlier than anything we've found up until now." This is called relative dating. Unless and until similar artifacts are found in context, this artifact can only provide limited information.

My rant about "collectors" robbing science by removing important artifacts from their context simply because the artifact looks nice on their mantlepiece is best left for another day.

Ta ra 'wan,

Ieuan "digga digga digga" ab Arthur

--------------------
"I e-mail or I don't e-mail. The magic just happens" - From OP in We've Got Mail

Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd

Posts: 626 | From: Toronto, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Delta-V
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Delta-V     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by PallasAthena:
I believe it is possible to date stone. Isotope spin or something? I'll go look it up. IIRC, though, in order to date the stone, you have to break it or fracture it.

K-Ar dating will tell you how old a stone is (i.e., when it cooled from magma). Doesn't tell you anything about when things are carved into the stone, unfortunately. Also, this is probably not igneous rock, but sedimentary rock (it looks like sandstone, or something similar), which can't be directly dated.

quote:
ETA2: Here is an article discussing in detail that I have difficulty following, the process by which some rock art from Utah was dated. Not sure how or if this method or one similar would apply to the Bulgarian tablet.

In that case, they were able to extract carbon from the pigments used to make the painting. Since this is simply marks gouged into the stone, there probably isn't any material left behind to date.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

Posts: 1225 | From: Wichita, Kansas | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Apolacyps
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Apolacyps     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Looters make me angry. I don't understand why it is so hard for them to understand that without context, artefacts mean nothing.

I really feel that, even with lines like "The collector asked to remain anonymous, because he risked criminal prosecution for looting or criminal possession of antiquities", this kind of article makes them feel important and thus encourages them. They all want to be the next guy (or girl) with some really significant artefact in his (or her) collection, completely missing the fact that it MIGHT have been significant if they'd just left it in the ground.

All of the looters I have met in my life seem to really enjoy the attention they get when they show off their "cool" artefacts.

Posts: 10 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kindly Wise
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Kindly Wise   E-mail Kindly Wise   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
If I remember my proto-Thracian grammar correctly, that particular piece of stone reads:

"Gilgamesh has crabs"

--------------------
Beati caseusarii

Posts: 103 | From: Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kindly Wise
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Kindly Wise   E-mail Kindly Wise   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I had a fellow come into my Agency office today demanding that we do some tests to find out why his McChicken sandwich made him hurl yesterday.

"You have a machine," he says. "Put a piece of sandwich in the machine and it will tell you what is in the meat."

A fine of example of "CSI-Creep" into daily reality.

So it is often with ancient artifacts: it's more complicated than running the $10,000.00 work-up and getting -"DING"- the age of the artifact and its makers.

Those marks look suspiciously like the doodles from the pad near out telephone.

--------------------
Beati caseusarii

Posts: 103 | From: Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jimmy101
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for jimmy101   E-mail jimmy101   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Kindly Wise:
...
Those marks look suspiciously like the doodles from the pad near out telephone.

What? That means it is a scribbling from near a 6,000 year old telephone? [Razz]
Posts: 629 | From: Greenwood, IN | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2