Rare 6th century BC slab inscribed in a lost language may contain the names of ancient gods
Science reporter Abigail Beall with The Daily Mail covered SMU sponsored research at Italy’s Poggio Colla site where archaeologists have found what may be rare sacred text in the lost language of the Etruscans. The text is inscribed on a large 6th century BC sandstone slab and could reveal name of the god or goddess that was worshipped at the site.
The article, “Sacred text found in Italy could unlock the secrets of the Etruscan religion,” published March 29.
By Abigail Beall
The Daily Mail
The Etruscans were a mysterious civilisation from ancient Italy, and although a number of artefacts from their time have been found, little is known about the group’s belief system.
Researchers recently uncovered a 2,500-year-old sandstone tablet believed to date back to the time of the Etruscans, inscribed in a lost language.
And now archaeologists believe this slab could reveal more about the group’s religion and may even give away the name of a god or goddess.
The lengthy text is inscribed on a large 6th century BC sandstone slab, uncovered from an Etruscan temple.
The civilisation lived in ancient Italy from the 8th century BC to the 2nd century BC.
‘This is probably going to be a sacred text, and will be remarkable for telling us about the early belief system of a lost culture that is fundamental to western traditions,’ said archaeologist Professor Gregory Warden, principal investigator of the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project, which made the discovery.
Finding a new religious artefact like this is rare, the researchers said.
Most Etruscan discoveries are typically grave and funeral objects, for example.
The slab weighs around 500lbs (227 kg) and it is nearly 4 feet (1.2 metres) tall by more than 2 feet (0.6 metres) wide.
It has at least 70 legible letters and punctuation marks, said Professor Warden, main sponsor of the project.
It is likely to contain words in the lost language that have never been seen before.
The slab was discovered in the foundations of a monumental temple where it had been buried for more than 2,500 years.
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