The Indus Valley civilization was perhaps one of the most advanced on the planet for more than 500 years, with over one thousand settlements sprawling across 250,000 square miles of what exactly is now Pakistan and northwest India from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. It had several large, well-planned cities like Mohenjo-daro, common iconography—and a script no one has been able to understand.
Some recent attempts to decipher it over at Nature, Andrew Robinson looks at the reasons why the Indus Valley script has been so difficult to crack, and details. Since we do not know anything in regards to the underlying language and there isn’t any multilingual Rosetta stone, scholars have analyzed its structure for clues and compared it to other scripts. Most Indologists think it is “logo-syllabic” script like Sumerian cuneiform or Mayan glyphs. Nevertheless they disagree about whether or not it was a spoken language or a full writing system; some believe it represented only section of an Indus language, Robinson writes.
One team has developed the first publicly available, electronic corpus of Indus texts.
Another, led by computer scientist Rajesh Rao, analyzed the randomness within the script’s sequences. Their results indicated it is most just like Sumerian cuneiform, which suggests it may represent a language. See the full article for more details.
The Indus Valley script is far from the only one to remain mysterious. Listed below are eight others you may try your hand at deciphering.
1. Linear A
In 1893, British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans purchased some stones that are ancient mysterious inscriptions on it at a flea market in Athens. More