Friday, 26 October 2012

Before the Writing of Sumer

A little village lost beyond the Carpathian Mountains... Few houses, and those not exactly beautiful, on one side and the other of the main street and few more streets lost between fields of wheat and corn, protected by fruit bearing trees say nothing about this village. Is just another village, no different from countless other villages around today's Romania. And yet, and old man, dressed in the traditional white and black colors of the one that got to know life, says: "This village of ours, that you can see today, is our new village. The old Tartaraia, as the ancestors say, was a bit further away. From the valley, all the way here where you start climbing the hill, was a mighty village, full of life with our ancestors, only God knows how far back in time. That's hat out grandparents knew, from their grandparents and so on."

This village is called Tartaraia, an unusual name even for Romanians. In the village of Tărtăria,  in 1961 was discovered an important religious complex; the material showed a continuity of habitation for several thousand years. Among others, they found three sensational clay tablets, which according to the isotope carbon 14 dating were made at least 6,500 years ago, in 5300 BC to be more exact. Together with the three clay tablets, covered with strange signs, was discovered a small cache of offerings, accompanying the charred bones of a mature human. The artifacts suggest this person was a Great Priest or Shaman and he was cremated during a sacrificial ritual. 

The Danube Script appeared some 7,000 years ago in the Danube valley: in Serbia, Kosovo-Metohija, Southern Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and northern Greece. It flourished for one and a half millennia. Around 5,500 years ago, a social upheaval eclipsed this and other elements of the advanced culture of the Danube Civilization. Some researchers argue that there were devastating invasions of new populations from the steppes while others have hypothesized the imposition of new dominant elites.

Specialists from Hungary,  former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, the U.S. and the former USSR, tried to decipher and date the clay tablets based on the latest scientific achievements in the field (Carbon 14 and so on). Bulgarian Academician Vladimir I. Georgiev said that "tablets from Tartaraia are (...) a millennium older than the Sumerian writing" and "writing in the form of icons appeared in southeastern Europe and not in Mesopotamia, as was previously thought, the designs and marks on the three tablets representing "the oldest writing in the world", especially as Sumerian writing in sec. fourth BC, "appeared quite unexpectedly and in a developed form", which means that it was either brought there or was improved in cuneiform writing. Similarly, the orientalist, Andrei Nadirov is excited before the wonder of the tablets from Tartaraia, who transmit over times, "a message from pre-Dacian brothers". Marija Gimbutas, an eminent American scientist was writing that these tablets fit in an ancient sacred writing coming since the Paleolithic, through the Neolithic richest events, and belonging to the civilization of Old Europe. Investigations made by Hungarian researchers (Makkay Janos ERŽEN Nustupny), Yugoslavs (Jovan Todorovic), U.S. (S. Hood, David Whipp), Soviet (TS Passek, V. Titov, Boris Perlova) etc. reached the same conclusions. 

Unfortunately the meaning of the signs found on the tablets remain a mystery up to today. Over the last seven thousand years, and continuing today, traditional pieces of folkloric art in Romania (from carpets to clothes) are being produced that continue these ancient signs. The lozenge, the X, the E, the b, the D, the M, the circle, the angle, the tree, the spiral, the angle, the cross, the rosette, short parallel lines are highly productive and persistent motives attesting to the Neolithic Script.
Whilst Tartaria signs have not lost their popularity over the millennium as decorative motives, it remains the case that in rural tradition they are not purely ornamental elements, but allusive expressions of religious ideas, codes associated with magic powers and basic symbols relating to the divinity and its epiphanies.

Powerful geometric motives continue to be transmitted from mother to daughter. 


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