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Statues discovered in Sudan can help to read Africa oldest scripts

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December 20, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – A French Archaeological mission discovered three ancient ram statues within inscriptions that could help to decipher the oldest script in sub-Saharan Africa.

The statues, representing the god Amun, were excavated at El-Hassa, 180km north of Khartoum on a sacred causeway leading to an ancient temple. They were carved during Meroe empire, a period of kingly rule that lasted from about 300BC to AD 450.

"Merotic language, is one of the last antique writings, that still waits for its understanding... and it is the most ancient (sub-Saharan) African language written in script," said Vincent Rondot, head of the French Section of the Directorate on Antiquities of Sudan.

He said experts were still trying to work out the meaning of the words by comparing them with broken remnants of similar royal dedications in the same script.

Experts can pronounce the text and can read names, but cannot understand the words. Merotic is a branch of the same linguistic tree as languages spoken in contemporary Sudan and Eritrea, the French archaeologist said.

He said they were still trying to work out the meaning of the words by comparing them with broken remnants of similar royal dedications in the same script.

"It is absolutely essential to understand it... We only need to read the last words remaining on the inscription," said Rondot.

"This year we found one with the complete inscription around. So, for the first time, we have a complete text," he added.

The site where the ram statues were found is close to Sudan’s Meroe pyramids, a cluster of more than 50 granite tombs 200 kms (120 miles) north of the capital that are one of the main attractions for Sudan’s few tourists.

Rondot said the dig, funded by the French foreign ministry, would also provide vital information on the reign of a little-known king, Amanakhareqerem, mentioned in the inscriptions on the rams.

(ST)

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  • 21 December 2008 05:21, by DAVID N.

    I LOVE NOBIIN!, Nobatia, Makuria, Alodia were once Christian Kingdom! The sons of KUSH... Praise be unto His Name forever more in JESUS NAME!

    repondre message

    • 21 December 2008 13:10, by Brightstar

      It was lost and it shall be found again!!! (the history) They stoll it and rewroted it and they shall bring it back to us again.They destroyed our kingdoms,rewrote our history,took our land,took our wealthy and stoll our technology.but they shall one day bow down and confess to us for God words don’t Prevail.Bless are the seven kingdoms. Truth shall be one day and will one day appear.

      repondre message

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