Archaeologists puzzle over ancient language

Archaeologists working in Turkey have found what they think to be evidence of a long forgotten language. A team of archaeologists working at Ziyaret Tepe, the site of the ancient Assyrian city of Tushan in south eastern Turkey, discovered an ancient clay writing tablet inscribed with Cuneiform characters, in the remains of a palace. Cambridge University researcher, Dr John MacGinnis, who examined and deciphered the tablet, found a list of 60 female names on the artefact. Some names are Assyrian, several more belong to other languages of the period, such as Luwian or Hurrian. Forty five of the names were not recognised as being one of the thousands of known Ancient Middle Eastern names, leading the team to believe that they have discovered evidence of an unidentified language.

Experts are now set to examine the names in further detail to discover if the letters bear any resemblance to existing known Assyrian languages such as Shubrian, which was previously thought to never have been written down.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that this tablet has potential to unlock more pieces in the historical puzzle.

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