The Vinča signs, also known as the Vinča alphabet, Vinča-Turdaş script, or Old European script, are a set of symbols found on prehistoric artifacts from southeastern Europe. In Archaeology, an artifact or artefact is any object made or modified by a human culture, and often one later recovered by some archaeological Some believe they constitute a writing system of the Vinča culture, which inhabited the region around 6000-4000 BC. A writing system is a type of Symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in Language. The Vinča culture was an early culture of Europe (between the 6th and the 3rd millennium BC stretching around the course of Danube in what today is Serbia Others doubt that the markings represent writing at all, citing the brevity of the purported inscriptions and the dearth of repeated symbols in the purported script; it is all but universally accepted among scholars that the Sumerian cuneiform script of c. Epigraphy (ἐπιγραφολογία from Greek ἐπιγραφή — "inscription" is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs engraved Sumerian ( " native tongue " was the language of ancient Sumer, spoken in Southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC 3000 BC is the earliest form of writing. It is more likely that the symbols formed a kind of "proto-writing"; that is, that they conveyed a message but did not encode language. The history of writing encompasses the various Writing systems that evolved in the Early Bronze Age (late 4th millennium BC)
See also the Tărtăria tablets. The Tărtăria tablets are three tablets, discovered in Tărtăria, Romania.
In 1875, archaeological excavations led by the archeologist Zsófia Torma (1840–1899) at Turdaş (Tordos), near Orăştie in Transylvania (now Romania) unearthed a cache of objects inscribed with previously unknown symbols. Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek grc ἀρχαιολογία archaiologia – grc ἀρχαῖος archaīos Zsófia Torma (1840 – November 14, 1899) Hungarian archaeologist, anthropologist and paleontologist. Orăştie ( German: Broos, Hungarian: Szászváros) is a city in Hunedoara County, south-western Transylvania, Transylvania (Ardeal or ro ''Transilvania'' Erdély, see also other denominations) is a Central European region located in the eastern half of the Carpathian Romania ( dated: Rumania, Roumania A similar cache was found during excavations conducted in 1908 in Vinča, a suburb of Belgrade (Serbia), some 120km from Tordos. Vinča ( Serbian Cyrillic: Винча is a suburban settlement of Belgrade, the capital South San Jose (cropjpg||thumb|A suburban development in San Jose California. Belgrade (Београд Beograd is the Capital and largest city of Serbia. Serbia (Србија Srbija) officially the Republic of Serbia (Република Србија Republika Srbija) is a Landlocked Country Later, more such fragments were found in Banjica, another part of Belgrade. Banjica ( Serbian Cyrillic: Бањица; pronounced "bahn-yi-tz-ah" is an urban neighborhood of Belgrade, the capital of Thus the culture represented is called the Vinča culture, and the script often called the Vinca-Tordos script. The Vinča culture was an early culture of Europe (between the 6th and the 3rd millennium BC stretching around the course of Danube in what today is Serbia
The discovery of the Tartaria tablets in Romania by Nicolae Vlassa in 1961 reignited the debate. The Tărtăria tablets are three tablets, discovered in Tărtăria, Romania. Vlassa believed the inscriptions to be pictograms and the finds were subsequently carbon-dated to before 4000 BC, thirteen hundred years earlier than the date he expected, and earlier even than the writing systems of the Sumerians and Minoans. A pictogram ( also spelled pictogramme) or pictograph is a Symbol representing a Concept, object, activity place or event Radiocarbon dating is a Radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring Radioisotope Carbon-14 (14C to determine the age of Sumer ( Sumerian: sux-Latn [[Ki (earth ki]]-[[EN (cuneiform en]]-'''ĝir15''', Akkadian: Šumeru; possibly Biblical Shinar The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization which arose on the island of Crete. To date, more than a thousand fragments with similar inscriptions have been found on various archaeological sites throughout south-eastern Europe, notably in Greece (Dispilio Tablet), Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia, Romania, eastern Hungary, Moldova, and southern Ukraine. Greece (Ελλάδα transliterated: Elláda, historically, Ellás,) officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία The Dispilio Tablet (also known as the Dispilio Scripture or the Dispilio Disk) is a wooden tablet bearing inscribed markings ( charagmata) unearthed during The state of Bulgaria (България transliterated bg-Latn ''Balgaria'' The country preserves the traditions (in ethnic name language and alphabet of the First Bulgarian The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ( Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, Macedonian: Romania ( dated: Rumania, Roumania Hungary (Magyarország 'mɔɟɔrorsaːg) officially in English the Republic of Hungary ( Magyar Köztársaság, literally Magyar (Hungarian Republic Moldova, officially the Republic of Moldova ( Republica Moldova) is a Landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located between Romania Ukraine (Україна Ukrayina, /ukrɑˈjinɑ/ is a country in Eastern Europe.
Most of the inscriptions are on pottery, with the remainder appearing on whorls (flat cylindrical annuli), figurines, and a small collection of other objects. Pottery is the Ceramic ware made by potters It also refers to a group of materials that includes Earthenware, Stoneware For the indie band see Figurine (band A figurine (a diminutive form of the word Figure) is a Statuette that represents Over 85% of the inscriptions consist of a single symbol. The symbols themselves consist of a variety of abstract and representative pictograms, including zoomorphic (animal-like) representations, combs or brush patterns and abstract symbols such as swastikas, crosses and chevrons. A pattern, from the French patron, is a theme of recurring events or objects sometimes referred to as elements of a set Other objects include groups of symbols, of which some are arranged in no particularly obvious pattern, with the result that neither the order nor the direction of the signs in these groups is readily determinable. The usage of symbols varies significantly between objects: symbols that appear by themselves tend almost exclusively to appear on pots, while symbols that are grouped with other symbols tend to appear on whorls.
The importance of these findings lies in the fact that the oldest of them are dated around 4000 BC, around a thousand years before the proto-Sumerian pictographic script from Uruk (modern Iraq), which is usually considered as the oldest known script. A pictogram ( also spelled pictogramme) or pictograph is a Symbol representing a Concept, object, activity place or event Uruk ( URU UNUG, Sumerian: unug Akkadian: uruk) from the Akkadian rendering of the Sumerian Toponym 'unug' is modern For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Iraq topics. Analyses of the symbols showed that they had little similarity with Near Eastern writing, leading to the view that these symbols and the Sumerian script probably arose independently. There are some similarities between the symbols and other Neolithic symbologies found elsewhere, as far afield as Egypt, Crete and even China. This article is about the country of Egypt For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Egypt topics. Crete ( Greek: Κρήτη transliteration: Krētē, modern transliteration Kriti) is the largest of the Greek islands and the Talk People's Republic of China) PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ARTICLE GUIDELINES However, Chinese scholars have suggested that such signs were produced by a convergent development of what might be called a precursor to writing which evolved independently in a number of societies. Indeed, there are some similarities between Sumerian cuneiform script and stone markings from Çatalhöyük in Turkey and Kamyana Mohyla in Southern Ukraine, both predating the Vinča culture by several millennia. Çatalhöyük (ʧɑtɑl højyk in Turkish also Çatal Höyük and Çatal Hüyük, or any of the three without Diacritics çatal is Turkish Kamyana Mohyla (Кам'яна Могила Каменная могила literally "stone tomb" is an archaeological site in the Molochna River valley about a
Although a large number of symbols are known, most artifacts contain so few symbols that they are very unlikely to represent a complete text. Possibly the only exception is a stone found near Sitovo in Bulgaria, the dating of which is disputed; regardless, the stone has only around 50 symbols. The state of Bulgaria (България transliterated bg-Latn ''Balgaria'' The country preserves the traditions (in ethnic name language and alphabet of the First Bulgarian It is unknown which language used the symbols, or indeed whether they stand for a language in the first place. A language is a dynamic set of visual auditory or tactile Symbols of Communication and the elements used to manipulate them
The nature and purpose of the symbols is a mystery. It is not even clear whether they constitute a writing system. A writing system is a type of Symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in Language. If they do, it is not known whether they represent an alphabet, syllabary, ideograms or some other form of writing. An alphabet is a standardized set of letters basic written symbols each of which roughly represents a Phoneme, a Spoken language, either A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate Syllables which make up Words A symbol in a syllabary typically represents an optional An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek idea "idea" + grafo "to write" is a Graphic symbol that represents an Idea Although attempts have been made to decipher the symbols, there is no generally accepted translation or agreement as to what they mean.
At first it was thought that the symbols were simply used as property marks, with no more meaning than "this belongs to X"; a prominent holder of this view is archaeologist P. Biehl. This theory is now mostly abandoned as same symbols have been repeatedly found on the whole territory of Vinča culture, on locations hundreds of kilometers and years away from each other.
The prevailing theory is that the symbols were used for religious purposes in a traditional agricultural society. If so, the fact that the same symbols were used for centuries with little change suggests that the ritual meaning and culture represented by the symbols likewise remained constant for a very long time, with no need for further development. The use of the symbols appears to have been abandoned (along with the objects on which they appear) at the start of the Bronze Age, suggesting that the new technology brought with it significant changes in social organization and beliefs. The term Bronze Age refers to a period in human cultural development when the most advanced Metalworking (at least in systematic and widespread use included techniques for
One argument in favour of the ritual explanation is that the objects on which the symbols appear do not appear to have had much long-term significance to their owners - they are commonly found in pits and other refuse areas. Certain objects, principally figurines, are most usually found buried under houses. This is consistent with the supposition that they were prepared for household religious ceremonies in which the signs incised on the objects represent expressions: a desire, request, vow or whatever. After the ceremony was completed, the object would either have no further significance (hence would be disposed of) or would be buried ritually (which some have interpreted as votive offerings). A votive deposit or votive offering is an object left in a Sacred place for Ritual purposes
Some of the "comb" or "brush" symbols, which collectively compose as much as a sixth of all the symbols so far discovered, may represent numbers. Some scholars have pointed out that over a quarter of the inscriptions are located on the bottom of a pot, an ostensibly unlikely place for a religious inscription. The Vinča culture appears to have traded its wares quite widely with other cultures (as demonstrated by the widespread distribution of inscribed pots), so it is possible that the "numerical" symbols conveyed information about the value of the pots or their contents. Other cultures, such as the Minoans and Sumerians, used their scripts primarily as accounting tools; the Vinča symbols may have served a similar purpose. The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization which arose on the island of Crete. Sumer ( Sumerian: sux-Latn [[Ki (earth ki]]-[[EN (cuneiform en]]-'''ĝir15''', Akkadian: Šumeru; possibly Biblical Shinar
Other symbols (principally those restricted to the base of pots) are wholly unique. Such signs may denote the contents, provenance/destination or manufacturer/owner of the pot.
Griffen (2005) claims to have partially deciphered the script, identifying signs for "bear", "bird" and "goddess". He compares two spinning whorls, Jela 1 and 2, with almost identical marks, and identifies similar marks on bear and bird figurines. The whorl inscriptions would read "bear — goddess — bird — goddess — bear — goddess–goddess" which he interprets as "bear goddess and bird goddess: bear goddess indeed", or "the bear goddess and the bird goddess are really a single bear goddess". The term Bird Goddess was coined by Marija Gimbutas with relation to Neolithic Europe. Griffen compares the amalgamation of a goddess with bearlike and birdlike attributes in Greek Artemis. In Greek mythology, Artemis language|Greek] ( Nominative), ( Genitive))] was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister Griffen's "goddess" sign is two vertical strokes, apparently symbolizing a vulva; this is reminiscent of the Linear B "female" sign, two upright slanting strokes. Linear B is a script that was used for writing Mycenaean, an early form of Greek.
The primary advocate of the idea that the markings represent writing, and the person who coined the name "Old European Script", was Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994), an important 20th century archaeologist and premier advocate of the notion that the Kurgan culture of Central Asia was an early culture of Proto-Indo-Europeans. Marija Gimbutas ( Marija Gimbutienė) ( Vilnius, January 23, 1921 – Los Angeles, United States February 2 The Kurgan hypothesis (also theory or model) is a model of early Indo-European origins, which postulates that the Kurgan culture of the Pontic steppe The Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language, who likely lived around 4000 BC, during the Copper Age and the Later in life she turned her attention to the reconstruction of a hypothetical pre-Indo-European Old European culture, which she thought spanned most of Europe. She observed that neolithic European iconography was predominantly female—a trend also visible in the inscribed figurines of the Vinča culture—and concluded the existence of a "matristic" (her term for "woman-centered", as opposed to androcentric, but not necessarily matriarchal) culture that worshipped a range of goddesses and gods. The Neolithic (from Greek νεολιθικός — neolithikos from νέος neos, "new" + λίθος lithos Iconography is the branch of Art history which studies the identification description and the interpretation of the content of images Gynocentrism ( Greek γυνο gyno-, "woman" χεντρον kentron, "center" is the practice conscious or otherwise of placing Androcentrism ( Greek, andro-, "man male" is the practice conscious or otherwise of placing male human beings or the masculine point of view at Matriarchy is a term which is applied to gynocentric form of Society, in which the leading role is by the Female and especially by the Mothers (Gimbutas did not posit a single universal Mother Goddess. A mother goddess is a Goddess, often portrayed as the Earth Mother who serves as a general Fertility deity the bountiful embodiment of the Earth. ) She also incorporated the Vinča markings into her model of Old Europe, suggesting that they might either be the writing system for an Old European language, or, more probably, a kind of "pre-writing" symbolic system. Most archaeologists and linguists disagree with Gimbutas' interpretation of the Vinča signs as a script.
Like most undeciphered writing systems, the Vinca script has attracted the attention of fringe authors. Fringe science is scientific Inquiry in an established Field of study which departs significantly from Mainstream or Orthodox The Serbian archaeologist Radivoje Pešić proposes in his book The Vinča Alphabet (ISBN 86-7540-006-3) that all of the symbols exist in the Etruscan alphabet, and conversely, that all Etruscan letters are found among the Vinča signs. Old Italic refers to several now extinct Alphabet systems used on the Italian Peninsula in ancient times for various Indo-European (predominantly Italic This view is not accepted by mainstream archaeologists.