Scholar Deciphers 3,200-Year-Old Inscription That Could Shed Light on the “Sea People”

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tags: archaeology, Ancient Troy, Sea People

An interdisciplinary team of Swiss and Dutch archaeologists say they have managed to deduce the writings on a 3,200-year-old stone tablet that appears to tell tales of ancient Troy and the so-called "Sea People."

The 95-foot-long, 13-inch-tall limestone slab in question was discovered in 1878 in a small village in what is now modern-day Turkey, reports Natasha Frost of Atlas Obscura. Despite having no idea what the hieroglyphic symbols meant, French archaeologist Georges Perrot supposedly copied the entire inscription for his records before the limestone was taken away by the villagers and used to build a new mosque.

The archaeologists deciphered a copy of that inscription, which was written in Luwian, the tongue of a little-known civilization believed to exist thousands of years ago in Asia Minor, writes Owen Jarus of Live Science. The Luwians have been proposed by some to be the "Sea People" cryptically mentioned in Egyptian writings that might have helped drive the end of the country's New Kingdom. Swiss geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger goes further, proposing that the Luwians fueled the collapse of the Bronze Age superpowers by starting a series of conflicts in a kind of "World War Zero" some 3,200 years ago.

Read entire article at Smithsonian

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