The Oldest Language Unearthed In The City Of The Dead

Samuel Reason | April 13th, 2018

Deep in Sudan, a tremendous cache of Nubian stones have been found. This is Africa’s long forgotten oldest written language. A now-obscure language that has not really been completely deciphered at all. The inscriptions have been made in the “Meroitic” language, which is the oldest known written language found south of the Sahara

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Not only were inscriptions found though, for the first time art depicting an Egyptian goddess of order Maat was also unearthed in this archaeological heaven but included a certain African influence.

The site was found in Sedeinga about 60 miles west of the Nile River in Sudan, it was located using tales from 19th-century travelers. They were stories of an ancient temple for the Queen Tiye who was one of the most artistic and illustrious Queens to ever rule Egypt. This kingdom would have been a mix of Egypt and the rest of Africa, so its culture would have been vast and varied.

Known as the City of The Dead, it spans over 60 acres containing around 80 brick pyramids that appear to be homes and also over 100 tombs. Meroitic the language of Meroe was part of this kingdom and borrowed some writing from ancient Egyptian, but for the most part, is resisting all attempts to understand it.

That’s why such a large cache of new inscriptions is very exciting for scientists and linguistics attempting to finally understand these century-old texts. They are all funerary in nature, appearing to tell the stories of people who died. Place names, family relations, and career titles seem to be indicated, the interesting thing is that from these inscriptions historians may be able to understand the location of more cities. And break down some of the daily lives of the Meroe people, as in their religion and social structure.

We can only hope that it will shed some light on a very interesting unknown culture.

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