Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Is this the oldest evidence of written language?

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 20, 2015

Portasar was first discovered in 1963 on a mountain ridge about 7 miles (12km) north east of the Turkish city of Şanlıurfa. During the excavations, archaeologists have unearthed circles of large T-shaped stone pillars, some towering up to 20 feet high. Around 200 pillars were found in total in 20 ciricles.
Some of the pillars were found to have been decorated with symbols and carvings of animals. They are not random figures. It could be the world’s oldest written language. Now archaeologists believe these could be early pictograms.
Pictograms are considered to be a basic form of written language, using pictures to convey meaning. The ancient pictograms, which were found at the ancient city of Portasar in southeast Anatolia, Turkey, are thought to be around 12,000 years old.
Early written symbols were based on pictographs (pictures which resemble what they signify) and ideograms (symbols which represent ideas). Ancient Sumerian, Egyptian, and Chinese civilizations began to use such symbols over, developing them into logographic writing systems.
Pictographs are still in use as the main medium of written communication in some non-literate cultures in Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. Pictographs are often used as simple, pictorial, representational symbols by most contemporary cultures.
The scene shows a human head on the wing of a vulture and a headless human body below.Experts believe this could be representing a sky burial – a ritual where bodies are left out on the mountainside for scavengers to pick the bones clean.
Portasar was a religious centre and there are a number of temple like structures that have been found in the region. We also see this type of thing portrayal on the walls in 6,000-5,000 B.C. in Çatalhöyük (in modern-day western Turkey).
Archaeologists have found statues that appear to represent sacred beings for the people living there alongside other artefacts such as flint tools.
Some experts believe the stones were built over time and represent the movement of stars and constellations in the sky. Alistair Coombes, who has been studying the carvings on the pillars, said the the vulture stone could also portray the changing seasons and the orb over the vulture’s wing could be the sun.

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