Joanna Carver, reporter
(Images: University of Oxford)
High-definition imaging still has a cutting-edge ring to it, but it could bring us the solution to a mystery that’s been puzzling scholars for nearly as long as scholars have existed. With the newly developed Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) system, we can examine ancient artefacts better than ever before – which means there’s a chance at deciphering at last an engimatic script from 5000 years ago.
Proto-Elamite is the world’s oldest undeciphered script, used between 3200 and 3000 BC in what is now Iran. Although it has some similarities with Mesopotamian, 80 to 90 per cent of it isn’t understood.
“I have spent the past 10 years trying to decipher the proto-Elamite writing system and, with this new technology, I think we are finally on the point of making a breathrough,” said Jacob Dahl of the University of Oxford, a co-leader of the Cuneiform Digital Library.