Notes Native American tradition combined with scientific decoding methods indicate that "rock art" is really a sophisticated form of writing. The life-long research into Native American petroglyphs by LaVan Martineau, an orphan adopted into the Paiute tribe of southeastern Nevada and southwestern Utah, has resulted in detailed interpretations of the rock writings.
It was a tricky task, which defied several centuries of effort. Hieroglyphic writing was a very complex, ambiguous system mixing at least four different styles of encoding: Some signs represent a single sound like they do in modern Latin scripts.
Some signs represent a whole syllable, not just a single "letter" in fact, some represent two syllables. Some signs represent an entire idea. Greek and Roman era descriptions of the hieroglyphic system tended to lean very heavily on the symbolic and "philosophical" meanings of the signs—some of which were correct, but many of which were pure nonsense.
This gave many later scholars the idea that the entire language was purely symbolic.
This was, of course, not correct and led to some silly misreadings. Some other kinds of writing represent extinct languages ; decoding those is a much more hopeless task. The big break was the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. This provided a way to start definitively assigning known sound values to some of the signs.
Multilingual inscriptions like this are vital to deciphering lost languages—it was the discovery of another trilingual text at Behistun in Iran that enabled the decoding of the cuneiform writing system in the s.
The key to the puzzle was the fact that the Egyptian scribes wrote the names of royalty inside of a special symbol—a lozenge-like shape called a cartouchewhich symbolizes the ring of a Pharoah.
He found the name of the Greek king Ptolemy Ptolemaios in the Greek text and matched it up to symbols in the cartouches on the Rosetta Stone. Since those names contained some common elements, he was able to solidly identify a few symbols.
First, he broke the names in the cartouches down into pieces: So what if number 4 above is number 2 below? That gave an almost complete lineup.
Number 10 is actually a gender marker indicating a female name; but it was a clue to the use of determinatives and other non-alphabetic signs. Champollion was, actually, quite lucky: Not all Egyptian signs map so neatly onto individual alphabetic letters.
But using these two small pieces of evidence, he was able to get several letter sounds and the mixed use of alphabetic and ideographic signs.
With a knowledge of Coptic and the Greek text, he could start expanding this understanding outward, finding more and more symbols and correspondences.
Over the next or so years, many scholars pushed the system forward, to the point where we now have a pretty solid understanding of written hieroglyphics and their offshoots, Hieratic and Demotic.
Citizen Science for the win.The Ancient Egyptian scribe, or sesh, was a person educated in the arts of writing (using both hieroglyphics and hieratic scripts, and from the second half of the first millennium BCE the demotic script, used as shorthand and for commerce) and dena (arithmetics).
Hieratic, the cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphs, was in fact employed throughout the pharaonic period for administrative and literary purposes, as a faster and more convenient method of writing; thus, its Greek designation is a misnomer. Native American tradition combined with scientific decoding methods indicate that "rock art" is really a sophisticated form of writing.
The life-long research into Native American petroglyphs by LaVan Martineau, an orphan adopted into the Paiute tribe of southeastern Nevada and southwestern Utah, has resulted in detailed interpretations of the rock writings.
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Search. How did the early Egyptians record ideas and facts? serdab. In Egyptian tombs, the ka statue was placed in a chamber called the? Who deciphered hieroglyphics writing? Howard Carter. Who discovered the Tomb of King Tut? How were Hieroglyphics deciphered?
Steve Theodore: It was a tricky task, which defied several centuries of effort. Hieroglyphic writing was a very complex, ambiguous system mixing at least four different styles of encoding: Alphabetic: Some signs represent a single sound like they do in modern Latin scripts. The Egyptian hieroglyphic script was one of the writing systems used by ancient Egyptians to represent their language.
Because of their pictorial elegance, Herodotus and other important Greeks believed that Egyptian hieroglyphs were something sacred, so they referred to them as ‘holy writing’. Thus, the word hieroglyph comes from the Greek hiero ‘holy’ and glypho ‘writing’.