Ancient Writing Systems That Remain a Mystery

Cretan Hieroglyphs pic

Cretan Hieroglyphs

A cybersecurity major, Mason Bird has demonstrated a strong commitment to learning, and was welcomed into the National Honor Society while in high school. He enjoys learning about a wide range of subjects outside of the focus of his formal education. Mason Bird considers himself a life-long learner of history and maintains a particular interest in topics such as antiquity and literature.

There are a number of ancient writing systems that cryptographers and scientists have successfully translated. However, there remain some writing systems that continue to baffle professionals. Here are just a few that remain a mystery.

Cretan hieroglyphs – Found on the Phaistos Disc, Cretan hieroglyphs date back to around 2000 BCE. They have been linked to Linear A and B, two systems that were discovered in 1893 but have not yet been deciphered. Many believe that the Cretan hieroglyphs developed into Linear A, but since both systems have scientists stumped, it remains a theory.

Olmec – Dating back to the first millennium BCE, the Cascajal Block contains the only known example of a writing system connected to the Olmec Empire. With 62 glyphs, most of which appear to have no organization or similarities to other ancient writings, the block is confusing to most scientists, and they contest its authenticity.

Rongorongo – First discovered in the 1860s on Easter Island, Rongorongo is written on wooden tablets that have largely been destroyed over the years. The script is written in an odd way; it is supposed to be read from left to right, and then the tablet is turned 180 degrees for the next line. Scientists have asked island natives the Rapa Nui about the text, but they claim no one knows what the inscriptions mean anymore.

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