...
EgyptSearch Forums Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» EgyptSearch Forums » Ancient Egypt » Writing in Africa

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Writing in Africa
Truthcentric
Member
Member # 3735

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Truthcentric   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How come, prior to the arrival of Europeans, all written language in Africa was confined to Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia (the latter apparently modifying a script from southern Arabia)? Why didn't other Africans, even the more advanced ones, develop scripts.

Also, why didn't any African culture (not even the Nile Valley ones) independently invent the wheel?

Posts: 3446 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sam p
Member
Member # 11774

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for sam p     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Modern people underestimate the complexity of writing and the wheel. It required many centuries of civilization before writing emerged and even then it was usually an off shoot of some other practice. For instance, in Mesopotamia writing apparently arose from tokens which farmers used to represent assets to fascilitate trade. It was a small leap from impressing the image of a cow onto a small disc and using this symbol to mean cow in bookkeepping.

The wheel is a three piece invention which is still poorly understood by most people today. It is of little utility in some terraines or enviroments. Where it was invented, it probably evolved from rollers but these can be even less usefull in areas such as heavy rocks or sand.

Writing wasn't invented in the new world at all. There were numerous ways to keep knowledge but writing simply was never invented.

Posts: 315 | From: NW Indiana, US of A | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mystery Solver
Member
Member # 9033

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mystery Solver         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Questioning is based on false premise; minimal research is in order...

African writing systems

^Africa has developed numerous scripts over the years, amongst which, some have become defunct and which Europeans will probably never know about, while some, Europeans have actually 'helped' in bringing about their 'extinction'.

The real question is: how come Europeans have not 'independently' invented a *single* script, but inquiring European minds are quick to question, without research, about why other "Africans", who have "independently" invented so many that Europeans can only dream of accomplishing, didn't develop scripts?

Posts: 1947 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mystery Solver
Member
Member # 9033

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mystery Solver         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here is another look at so-called "Mesopotamian" development of writing:

He [Gunther Dreyer] concluded his presentation by noting similarities between specific Egyptian and Mesopotamian objects and suggesting that perhaps there is an initial influence of Egyptian writing on Mesopotamia because there are signs on Mesopotamian objects that are only "readable" from the standpoint of the Egyptian language, but not the Mesopotamian language.

Discussed here: http://www.egyptsearch.com/forums/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=8;t=003518#000001

Posts: 1947 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Obelisk_18
Member
Member # 11966

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Obelisk_18     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mystery Solver:
Questioning is based on false premise; minimal research is in order...

African writing systems

^Africa has developed numerous scripts over the years, amongst which, some have become defunct and which Europeans will probably never know about, while some, Europeans have actually 'helped' in bringing about their 'extinction'.

The real question is: how come Europeans have not 'independently' invented a *single* script, but inquiring European minds are quick to question, without research, about why other "Africans", who have "independently" invented so many that Europeans can only dream of accomplishing, didn't develop scripts?

right on man, in the vast majority of the ancient world, there was no independently invented writing systems, they were borrowed from the writing of other, older civiizations, like the greeks borrowing from pheonicians who borrowed from egyptians, and the the ethiopians who borrowed from south arabians who borrowed from cannanites who borrowed from the egyptians [Big Grin] .
Posts: 447 | From: Somewhere son... | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
lamin
Member
Member # 5777

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for lamin     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And how come the Europeans never invented the wheel? Is this question absurd?
Posts: 4274 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
lamin
Member
Member # 5777

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for lamin     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The point is not whether such and such human population invented writing, the wheel, science, mathematics, etc., but the fact that all human populations have the capacity to write and recreate the wheel. In other words all human brains are deep-structured to copy whatever any other human brain has created--except those skills that seem to be the product of sheer contingent probability.
Posts: 4274 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Johnny Blaze
Member
Member # 13931

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Johnny Blaze     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
West Africans did invent their own script. The greatest invention of humans is writting.
Posts: 62 | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rasol
Member
Member # 4592

Icon 1 posted      Profile for rasol     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lamin:
And how come the Europeans never invented the wheel? Is this question absurd?

He gets this stuff from white/supremacists sites and then drags it here for 'refutation'.

We've seen this pattern before.

Posts: 15202 | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djehuti
Member
Member # 6698

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Djehuti     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
^ A bad and silly habit, I might add.

First of all, who cares what white supremacists say anyway? Second, if you have doubts or at least questions to the cultural development or accomplishments of Africans, all one needs to do is just a little research.

And as Mystery Solver said, there were actually plenty of writing systems developed independently in Africa compared to Europe which developed only a couple independently that barely became systemized unlike those scripts which developed from foreign influence.

Mind you, there were various other scripts developed independently in Eastern Asia besides Chinese like the Bai script and even Baybayin, the natives script of the Philippines just to name a couple. So writing, like urbanization, was NOT as rare but more common than most people think.

Posts: 22724 | From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mystery Solver
Member
Member # 9033

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mystery Solver         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Djehuti:

...compared to Europe which developed only a couple independently that barely became systemized unlike those scripts which developed from foreign influence.


Ruling out the Minoan script, which is believed to have been inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphics, what are we told about these "un-systemized" scripts?
Posts: 1947 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djehuti
Member
Member # 6698

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Djehuti     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
^ I am referring to runes and Iberian pictographs.
Posts: 22724 | From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Whatbox
Member
Member # 10819

Icon 14 posted      Profile for Whatbox   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Tyro:

How come, prior to the arrival of Europeans, all written language in Africa was confined to

Cuz Egypt's the ****!!!  -

quote:
Originally posted by Mystery Solver:
Questioning is based on false premise; minimal research is in order...

African writing systems

^Africa has developed numerous scripts over the years, amongst which, some have become defunct and which Europeans will probably never know about, while some, Europeans have actually 'helped' in bringing about their 'extinction'.

Ok.

quote:
The real question is: how come Europeans have not 'independently' invented a *single* script, but inquiring European minds are quick to question, without research, about why other "Africans", who have "independently" invented so many [scripts] that Europeans can only dream of accomplishing, didn't develop scripts?
Do you know the names of any of these scripts? All I'm aware of, other than the Shamum's script in your given link, are the Mende and Nsibidi scripts.

I've read that they have used scripts, but these systems never gained wide use.

Posts: 5555 | From: Tha 5th Dimension. | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wally
Member
Member # 2936

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Wally   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
...sigh...
The following are some examples of African writing systems:

Ethiopic/Geez
Afan-Oromo Script
Amharic
Bassa Script
Egyptian
Meroitic
Vai
Mende
Nsibidi
N'Ko
Akan
Adinkra
Wabuti
Tifingh


...
[Wink]

Posts: 3344 | From: Berkeley | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Whatbox
Member
Member # 10819

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Whatbox   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
^Wally, I sure am glad we have your site, as far as relying on a site for factual information is conerned. And thank you.

Can anyone spot something wrong with this picture? (A site I came across just now while in search)

Not to mention the sheer number of times you will hear the "black soil" thing witlessly repeated.

I've heard about Vai, though I had it Vai was colonial-derived.

Posts: 5555 | From: Tha 5th Dimension. | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ArtistFormerlyKnownAsHeru
Member
Member # 11484

Rate Member
Icon 10 posted      Profile for ArtistFormerlyKnownAsHeru     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Wally:
...sigh...
The following are some examples of African writing systems:

Ethiopic/Geez
Afan-Oromo Script
Amharic
Bassa Script
Egyptian
Meroitic
Vai
Mende
Nsibidi
N'Ko
Akan
Adinkra
Wabuti
Tifingh


...
[Wink]


Posts: 3423 | From: the jungle - when y'all stop playing games, call me. | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clyde Winters
Member
Member # 10129

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Clyde Winters   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://www.geocities.com/ahmadchiek/Slide2.GIF[/IMG]

.


The Gebel Sheikh Suleiman inscription.

 -


Williams (1987) and Trigger (1980) have failed to discuss the entire inscription on the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman relief. These scholars ignore the Proto-Saharan inscription, and describe only, the relief from left to right as follows: a serekh topped by a falcon looking over a victorious battlefield, sacred bark and a bound prisoner .


But in reality we find more than these figures on the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman inscription which appears to date back to the A-Group period of Nubia over 5000 years ago. This is obvious when we examine the photograph of the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman relief.

From left to right on this relief we see a falcon on a serekh sign surmounting a house/ palace. In front of this village/ palace scene we see a prisoner bound by Stj bow ( the sign for the Steu). Facing the prisoner bound by Stj bow ( the sign for the Steu).

 -

Facing the prisoner bound by the stj sign we see a bird over a circle with the letter X inside. Besides this scene we have another bird setting a top the letter X within the circle sign facing a victorious battle scene which includes a man bound to a sacred bark.

Over the sacred bark we find 21 Proto-Saharan signs. These signs agree with the Egyptian pottery symbols (see figure 3). The Gebel Sheikh Suleiman inscription is an obituary written about a king called Fe .




As noted above Homburger found that the Manding languages are closely related to the Coptic language. Using the Manding language we can read the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman inscription. Reading from right to left we read:

1. i gba lu

2. fe kye nde

2 1/2. ka i lu

3. fe fe tu

4. be yu su (su su) tu

5. su se lu gbe

6. po gbe tu

Below is the translation of the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman inscription:

"1. Thou family habitation, hold (it) upright. 2. Fe's estate (is on) the shore (of the watercourse). 2 1/2. Cut thou (sepulchre) habitation for the family (here). 3. Fe preferred to be obedient to the order. 4. Lay low the (celebrity) in the large hemisphere tomb (and) offer up libations that merit upright virtue.6. Pure righteousness (is) King (Fe)."

This King Fe, of Gebel Sheikh Suleiman, may relate to Pharoah Pe-Hor (Throne of Horus) since in African languages /f/ and /p/ are often interchangeable. It is interesting to note that there is an inscription on a storage jar from Cemetery L of Qustul, Nubia that reads Pe-Hor (Williams 1987, p. 164). This Pe-Hor may be the Fe, of the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman inscription.

References:


Trigger, B G.(1980) Nubia Under the Pharoahs, Boulder,Colorado: Westview Press .


Williams, B The A-Group Royal Cemetery at Qustul: Cemetery L, Chicago:Oriental Institute University of Chicago, 1987.

 -

Here we see that the Gebel Shaikh Suleiman inscription is authetic. The research of van den Brink and Petrie make it clear these signs were not chicken scratches, as you assume, and probably represent a system writing which has existed for over 5000 years.

 -

These signs are found throughout the Sahara and Nubia .

 -

.

The depth of the signs are the same and indicate that they were probably made at the same time.

The Thinite symbols and symbols on Gebel inscription are all dated to the A-Group .Bruce Williams in The A-Group Royal Cemetery at Qustul: Cemetery L (1987), has noted that the prisoner on the Qustul incense burner is analogous to the bound prisoner on the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman.

 -  -

The Thinite writing, Gebel Sheikh Suleiman, and Qustul insense burner highlight the antiquity of writing in Middle Africa. The fact that the prisoner is bound by a Stj (Steu), the authors of this relief were the A-Group people. It was here as pointed out above that the Mande speakers formerly lived before they arrived.

.

Posts: 8838 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clyde Winters
Member
Member # 10129

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Clyde Winters   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Thinite pottery signs also agree with the inscriptions on the Seth rock.

Seth inscription .

 -


The Seth inscription is from the Western Desert (see: Rock the Oasis, Archaeology, March 13,2006.

http://www.archaeology.org/online/interviews/ikram
)

It appears that in ancient times before the rise of Egypt, Seth was worshiped by people in the Sahara. Recently a very interesting inscription has been found that relate to this worship.

The symbols on the engraving are written in the so-called Libyco-Berber writing which is really made up of Mande signs. Using the Vai signs we are able to read the inscriptions in the Malinke-Bambara language.


On the left side we see a figure of a cannine and on the right we have a figure of Seth. Reading the inscriptions from right to left I will decipher the writing.


Under the cannine figure we have: Be tu a ka na or "To exist obedient to the order in joy [with the] Mother".


Reading the inscriptions under the Seth figure we have reading the inscription from right to left: i lu i gyo fa yo gyo, or " Thou hold upright this divinity of the cult, [our] Father, the vital spirit of the society consecrated to (Seth's) cult".


This figure is important in relation to the Western Sahara and the Seth cult. Michael Rice, in Egypt's Making: The Origin of Ancient Egypt 5000-2000 BC, makes it clear that Seth was the god of the Southern people and that Anubis (the canine god) was the protector of the people of the South.


.

Posts: 8838 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clyde Winters
Member
Member # 10129

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Clyde Winters   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The pottery marks and Gebel Shaikh Suleiman relief make it clear that their was widespread literacy in Nubia/Sudan 3000 years ago. Petrie [1900]was the first to record the pot marks found in the Sudan.

 -


Recently Edwin van den Brink provides a detailed discussion of pot marks dating to the Thinite period from Lower and Upper Egypt. There is continuity between these signs from the Thinite period through Dynaties O and I down to the Saharan/Libyco-Berber rock inscriptions and Vai Syllabary.

 -

Although it is alleged that Africans were always illiterate, archaeological, historical, and epigraphic evidence indicate that Africans invented many writing systems. And that these writing systems were used from ancient times all the way up to the present (Bekerie 1994).
The original inhabitants of the Sahara where the Egyptian or Kemitic civilization originated were not Berbers or Indo-Europeans (Winters 1985b). This was the ancient homeland of the Dravidians, Egyptians, Sumerians, Niger-Kordofanian-Mande and Elamite speakers is called the Fertile African Crescent (Anselin 1989, p.16, 1992; Winters 1981,1985b,1989, 1991,1994).

The inhabitants of this area lived in the highland regions of the Fezzan in modern Libya and Hoggar until after 4000 B.C. We call these people the Proto-Saharans (Winters 1985b, 1991). The generic term for this group is Kushite.
The Proto-Saharans were called Ta-Seti and Tehunu by the Egyptians. In the archaeological literature they were called A-Group and C-Group respectively. Farid (1985, p.82) noted that:
We can notice that at the beginning of the neolithic stage in Egypt on the edge of the Western Desert corresponds with expansion of the Saharian Neolithic culture and the growth of its population .

The Fertile Saharan Crescent is an arc shaped series of highland regions in the Saharan zone of Africa. The Saharan zone is bounded on the north by the Atlas mountains, the Atlantic Ocean in the West, the tropical rain forest in the south and the Red Sea in the East. It was here that the ancestors of the founders of the river valley civilizations in Africa, the Middle East, China and Indus Valley developed their highly organized and technological societies (Winters 1983a, 1985b).

 -




The discovery of Intercultural style vessels from Susa (in Iran),Sumerian, Egyptian and Indus Valley sites suggest a shared ideological identity among these people (Kohl 1978). In fact the appearance of shared iconographic symbols and beliefs within diverse areas suggest cultural and ethnic unity among the people practicing these cultures. The common naturalistic motifs shared by the major civilizations include, writing (symbols), combatant snakes , the scorpion, bull and etc. This evidence of cultural unity is explained by the origin of these people in the Proto-Sahara (Winters 1985a, 1989).

The Proto-Saharans or Kushites used similar terms for writing. In general the term for writing was formed by the labial stops /p/ and /b/. For example:

  • Dravidian par 'write'
    Manding bo, bu 'make a stroke', sebe 'write'
    Elamite tipu 'to write'
    Galla tafa 'to write'

There are also other corresponding terms for 'mark', or 'draw' that begin with velar stops:
  • Dravidian kiri, kuri 'write, draw, mark'
    Egyptian hti 'carve'
    Manding kiri, kiti 'mark'
In Egyptian we have several terms for write 0 ss #, 0 zs # , and 0 ssw #. During the Old Kingdom writing was referred to as 0 iht # .
The Egyptian term for writing 0 ssw # is analogous to the Mande terms 0 sewe # or 0 sebe # 'writing, trace, design'. In Dravidian among other terms we have rasu 'write', and shu 'writing' in Sumerian. The Egyptian term 0 zs # is also closely related to Sumerian 0 shu #.
Writing systems among African people were mainly devised for two purposes. Firstly, to help merchants keep records on the business venture they made. Secondly, the Proto-Saharan script was also used to preserve religious doctrines or write obituaries.

The scarcity of documents, written for historical preservation among ancient African groups resulted from the fact that the keeping of history, was usually left in the hands of traditional (oral) historians. These historians memorized the histories of their nation and people for future recitation before members of their respective communities. This oral history was often accompanied by music or delivered in poetic verse and remains the premier source for the history of most African nations even today.

It is obvious that the first inscriptions were engraved in stone by the Proto-Saharans , or a stylus was used to engrave wet clay (Winters 1985b). The use of the stylus or stick to engrave clay is most evident in the pottery marks found on the pottery excavated at many ancient sites which possess similar symbols impressed on the pottery.

This view is supported by the fact that the term for writing in Dravidian and Egyptian include the consonants /l/, /r/ or /d/.
A "u", is usually attached to the initial consonants (Winters 1985b). For example:
  • Sumerian ru, shu
    Elamite talu
    Dravidian carru
    Egyptian drf
These terms agree with the Manding terms for excavate or hollow out 0 du #, 0 do #, 0 kulu #, 0 tura #, etc. The Sumerian term for writing was 0 du #. This show that the Proto-Saharan term for writing denoted the creation of impressions on wet clay and hard rock.
The origin of writing among the Proto-Saharans as an activity involving the engraving of stone is most evident in the Egyptian language. This hypothesis is supported by the Egyptian words 0 m(w)dt #. The term 0 md t # means both '(sculptor's) chisel' and 'papyrus-roll, book'. The multiple meanings of 0 md t # makes it clear that the Egyptian, and probably other descendants of the Proto-Saharans saw a relationship between engraving stone and the creation of books.

Other Egyptian lexical items also support the important role Proto-Saharans saw in engraving rocks, and writing. In addition to md t we have, 0 hti # 'carve, sculpture' and 0 iht # 'writing'. The fact that iht is an Old Kingdom term for writing, almost identical to hti, is further evidence that writing involved the engraving of stone.

POTTERY INSCRIPTIONS

The Proto-Saharan writing was first used to write characters on pottery (Winters 1980), to give the ceramics a talismanic quality . Similar signs appear on Chinese, Harappan, South Indian Megalithic, Libyan and Cretan pottery (see figure 1). These signs were invented by the Proto-Saharans for purposes of communication. These pottery signs agree with the so-called linear Egyptian signs mentioned by Petrie (1921, p.83). They frequently appear on Egyptian pottery .
 -

The Egyptian pot marks in Upper and Lower Egypt. Petrie (1900) was the first to record the Egyptian potmarks. These potmarks are found on pottery dated to Dynasties O to I (van den Brink 1992). These Thinite potmarks published by van den Brink (1992) agree almost totally with the Oued Mertoutek, Gebel Sheikh Suleiman, Harappan, Proto-Elamite and Proto-Sumerian (see figure 3).

SYLLABIC WRITING

It is clear that a common system of record keeping was used by people in the 4th and 3rd millennium B.C. from Saharan Africa, to Iran, China and the Indus Valley. Although the Elamites and Sumerians abandoned the Proto-Elamite writing and the Uruk script respectively, in favor f cuneiform writing, the Dravidians, Minoans (EteoCretans) and Manding continued to use the Proto-Saharan script (see figure 2) (Winters 1985c).


The pottery signs were symbols from the Proto-Saharan syllabic writing. David (1955) was sure that the Dravidian and Cretan writings were analogous to the Egyptian pottery script.
Moreover Dr. J.T. Cornelius (1956-57) used epigraphic evidence to show that the graffiti marks on the South Indian Megalithic pottery has affinity to other ancient scripts including the Libyan, Egyptian and Cretan signs.

The languages of the Dravidians, Elamites, Sumerians and Manding are genetically related (Winters 1985d, 1989b, 1994). N. Lahovary (1957) noted structural and grammatical analogies of Dravidian, Sumerian and Elamites. K.L. Muttarayan (1975) provides hundreds of lexical correspondences and other linguistic data supporting the family relationship between Sumerian and Dravidian. C. A. Winters (1980, 1985d, 1989b, 1994) and L. Homburger (1951) have provided evidence of a genetic relationship between the Dravidian languages and the Manding Superset of languages. Dr. Homburger has also proven that the Manding and Coptic languages are closely related.


The oldest Proto-Saharan inscriptions come from Oued Mertoutek and Gebel Sheikh Suleiman. These inscriptions are over 5000 years old (Wulsin 1941; Winters 1983a ).


Here pictures of the Gebel Shaikh Suleiman relief from Arkell (1961, p.39) and Hinkel, 1978, photo between pp.56-57) are published as you can see they are found above boat.

http://www.geocities.com/ahmadchiek/Slide2.GIF

The presence of the same inscriptions found on the pots, recorded on the Gebel Shaikh Suleiman relief make it clear that these marks were not only engraved on pottery they also were engraved on rocks.



References:

Arkell,A.J. (1961). A History of the Sudan. University of London.

Hinkel,F.W. (1978). Exodus from Nubia. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag.


Patrie,W.M.F. (1900). The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasties. London: EES.


Van de Brink, Edwin C.M. . (1992) Corpus and numerical evaluation of the Thinite Potmarks. In The Followers of Horus: Studies Dedicated to Michael Allen Hoffman. Egyptian Studies Association Publication, No.2: pp.265-296.Oxford: Oxbow Books.

.

Posts: 8838 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clyde Winters
Member
Member # 10129

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Clyde Winters   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I use the Vai script to decipher the ancient Inscriptions from the Sahara. The Saharan inscriptions are found from the Fezzan to Dar Tichitt in Mauretania.


Delafosse 1899 (pp. 308-309)
 -


Delafosse 1899 (pp. 310-311)
 -

Delafosse 1899 (pp. 312-13)

 - [/QB][/QUOTE]

 - [/qb][/QUOTE]  -

The Vai characters agree with the Thinite symbols.


 -


Antiquity of the oued mertoutek Inscription

Controversy surrounds my dating of the Mande/ Libyco-Berber

/Ancient Libyan inscription found at Oued Mertoutek by Wulsin

(1940). I have proposed a 2nd millennium date for this document

while Wulsin dates the inscription to the 5th century of the

Christian era.



At Oued Mertoutek Wulsin found an engraving of an ovicaprid

(sheep/goat) with an ancient Libyco-Berber inscription placed

inside the figure. Although the patina for the inscription and

the goat/sheep figure were the same , Wulsin claimed that the goat/sheep figure dated to the 1st-3rd millennium BC, and the writing dated back to the horse period of the "Saharan Rock Art" which he assumed was 500-600 AD.


The separate dates for the Oued Mertoutek engraving are

clearly inconsistent, given the identical patina of the figure

and the writing. There is no way the figure and inscription could

be separated by 1500-2500 years and still show identical patina.

Reason, dictates summary rejection of Wulsin's hypothesis

supporting the late introduction of writing to the Sahara.



Wuslin based his dating of the Libyco-Berber writing on the

Oued Mertoutek engraving on the Hamitic paradigm. This paradigm

maintains that writing, the horse and other cultural features

were given to Africans by Semitic speaking culturally superior

people from the East. In Wulsin's day, researchers believed that

the horse arrived in North Africa and the Sahara around 500 AD.



If we accept the discredited Hamitic hypothesis for the

introduction of writing to the Sahara, we would have to push the

day for the introduction of writing back 800-1400 years. Because

1) the chariot period which is associated with Libyco-Berber

writing is believed to have begun in the 2nd millennium BC; and

2) archaeological and epigraphic evidence suggest that writing

existed in the Sahara by at least 800 BC.



Close (1980) and Galand have reported that an inscribed

pottery vessel with Libyco-Berber inscriptions was found at

Tiddis, which dates back to 300 BC. This is 800 years earlier

than Wulsin's date for the Oued Mertoutek inscriptions.


In addition, Close (1980)claims that other evidence indicates

that Libyco-Berber inscriptions can be pushed back to between

600-700 BC. This archaeological evidence clearly contradict

Wulsin's estimation of the Oued Mertoutek inscription's age.

Other evidence for the antiquity of the Oued Mertoutek

inscription comes from there association with Saharan chariots.

The inscriptions and chariots share the same patina. These

chariots have been dated to around 1200 BC according to Desanges

(1981, p.433).

Originally, researchers believed that the Saharan chariots

were introduced into the Sahara by Egyptians and/or the Peoples

of the Sea. This hypothesis is now discredited because there are

few similarities between the Saharan and Aegean portrayals of

Chariots (Desanges, 1981,p.432).

In addition, whereas the Horse Period was considered to be

500-600 AD in Wulsin's day, today the horse period is dated

between 1500-500 BC (Sahnouni,1996, p.29). The horse depicted in

the Sahara was not the Arabian horse typified by the Berber and

Taurag horsemen. Barbary horses drew the Saharan chariots

horses (Desanges, 1981, p.432). This horse is smaller than the

Arabian horses which were not introduced into Africa

until the Christian era. The lack of similarity between the

Saharan, and eastern chariots, and the horses that drew them

indicate the unique nature of Saharan civilization.

The archaeological evidence makes it clear that Wulsin

(1940, p.129) made a mistake in his dating of the Oued Mertoutek

inscription. The fact that the contemporary epigraphers date the

Libyco-Berber inscriptions back to 700 BC and those associated

with the Saharan chariots date to 1500 BC, support my contention

that the Oued Mertoutek inscriptions date to the 2nd

millennium, just like the goat/sheep figure which shares the

same patina as the writing according to Wulsin (1940, p.128)

himself.

Some researchers refuse to date the Libyco-Berber

inscriptions earlier than 700 BC, because the Semitic alphabet

was not used until around 800 BC. They claim that Libyco-Berber

can not be any older than 800 BC because the Semitic alphabet is

suppose to be the parent of the Libyco-Berber writing.

This is a false analogy. Firstly, this view has to be

rejected because the Libyco-Berber script includes many signs

which are different from Semitic scripts. Although these signs

are not found in the Berber alphabet, they are found in the Indus

Valley, Linear A and Egyptian pottery signs.

J.T. Cornelius (1954, 1956-1957) illustrated how the

Libyco-Berber signs are identical to the Egyptian, South Indian

and Linear A writing. Moreover, a cursory comparison of the

Thinite postmarks from Upper and Lower Egypt compare favorably to

the Libyco-Berber signs ( Petrie, 1900; van de Brink, 1992). All

of these writing systems date to the 3rd millennium BC.

Secondly, these writing systems correlate well with Wulsin's

dating of the goat/sheep figure at Oued Mertoutek. This

congruency supports a 3rd millennium date for the Oued Mertoutek

inscriptions, and explains the fact that both the goat/sheep and

Libyco-Berber inscriptions share the same patina.

In conclusion, the Oued Mertoutek inscription probably dates

back to the 3rd Millennium BC. Two factors dispute Wulsin's

dating of the Oued Mertoutek inscription: 1) the archaeological

evidence which has pushed back the dating of Libyco-Berber

inscriptions to between 300-700 BC; and 2) the dating of the

Horse Period in Saharan history to 1500 BC, rather than 500-600

AD.

The dating of the Horse period in the Sahara is

now pushed back to 1500 BC. This factor alone disconfirms the

hypothesis of Wulsin, that the Oued Mertoutek inscription was

written around 500-600 AD, because Wulsin had formed this

conclusion based on the dating of the Horse Period of Saharan

Rock Art. Changes in the dating of the Horse Period from those

accepted by Wulsin 50 years ago automatically changes our dating

of the Oued Mertoutek inscription.

The ancient origin of Libyco-Berber writing is further

confirmed by the common symbols shared by the Oued Mertoutek

inscriptions, and contemporary 3rd Millennium writing systems in

Mesopotamia, Crete, Egypt and the Indus Valley. This along with

the same patina for the goat/sheep figure and Oued Mertoutek

inscription is congruent with the determination that the Oued

Mertoutek inscription is 5000 years old.


Based on the Patina of of the Oued Mertoutek monument I can give it an early date.

Below is a Saharan inscription with the bar and dot pattern.


 -


The fact that the Vai script has dot and bar signs make it clear that ancient African writing systems did have dot and bar symbols.

Some researchers imply that the Mande did not have writing in ancient times. Dr. Leo Wiener in Africa and the Discovery of America, suggested that the Olmec probably used a Mande writing system [18]. Dr. Wiener after comparing the writing on the Tuxtla statuette was analogous Manding writing engraved on rocks in Mandeland. Wiener (1922) and Lawrence (1961) maintain that the Olmec writing was identical to the Manding writing used in Africa. [19]


There are many inscriptions written in this script spreading from the Fezzan to the ancient Mande cities of Tichitt There are many inscriptions written in this script spreading from the Fezzan to the ancient Mande cities of Tichitt.The Tichitt dwellings were built by Mande speaking people and date back to 2000-800 BC. Researchers claim that the inscriptions are along the chariot routes and other sites in Dar Tichitt.. This suggest that some of the inscriptions may date back to 1500-2000BC, this is the date for the appearance of the horse in the Sahara.

(See: Nicole Lambert, Medinet Sbat et la Protohistoire de Mauritanie Occidentale, Antiquites Africaines, 4(1970),pp.15-62;

Nicole Lambert, L'apparition du cuivre dans les civilisations prehistoriques. In C.H. Perrot et al Le Sol, la Parole et 'Ecrit (Paris: Societe Francaise d'Histoire d'Outre Mer) pp.213-226;

R. Mauny, Tableau Geographique de l'Ouest Afrique Noire. Histoire et Archeologie (Fayard);

R.A. Kea, Expansion and Contractions: World-Historical Change and the Western Sudan World-System (1200/1000BC-1200/1250A.D.) Journal of World-Systems Reserach, 3(2004), pp.723-816 ).

The writing found among the Vai and along the Chariots routes leading to Tichitt is related to the Mande, Saharan and Libyco-Berber writing. Many of these inscriptions like the inscription at Oued Mertoutek date back to Olmec times.

This script was used to model the numerous writings in West Africa including Berber scripts, and the many Mande scripts.

The Vai signs resemble Tifinigh does not mean the writing is Berber.

Delafosse early recognized the writing systems share similar signs but Vai is syllabic.

 -

.


References
Close, A.E. (1980). Current research and recent radiocarbon

dates from northern Africa", , 21,

pp.145-167.

Cornelius, J.T. (1954). The Dravidian Question,

Culture>, 3 (2), pp.92-102.

Cornelius, J.T. (1956-1957). Are Dravidian Dynastic

Egyptians?,

India, 1956-1957, pp.89-117.

Desanges, J. (1981). The Proto-Berbers. In

of Africa II> (Ed.) by G.M. Mokhtar (pp.423-440). Berkeley,CA:

UNESCO.

Petrie, W.M.F. (1900).

Dynasties>, London: Egypt Exploration Society. No.18.

Sahnouni,M. (1996). Saharan rock art. In ,

(Ed.) by Theodore Celenko (pp.28-30). Bloomington,IN:Indianapolis

Museum of Art.

van den Brink, E.C.M.(1992). Corpus and numerical evaluation

of the Thinite potmarks. In

Dedicated to Michael Allen Hoffman> (pp.265-296). Oxbow Books.

Park End Place, Oxford: Egyptian Studies Association

Publication. No.2.

Wulsin,F.R. (1940).

Northwest Africa>. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American

Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. Vol.19 (1).

Posts: 8838 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clyde Winters
Member
Member # 10129

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Clyde Winters   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Many inscriptions in Africa are associated with horses and horseback riding. Many researchers use the presence of horses in association with the inscriptions to date these inscriptions to a late date because they assume that horseback riding was popularized by the Berbers.

In this post we discuss the history of horseback riding in Africa.

The horse period is dated between 2000 and 1200 BC. These dates correspond to the archaeological research.

There were two horses common to Africa. A horse introduced to Africa by the Hysos and a native small size horse common to much of North and West Africa.

Most researchers believe the horse was introduced to Africa/Egypt by 1700BC. This is an interesting date, and far to late for the introduction of the horse given the archaeological evidence for horses at Maadi and the Saharan zone.

Saharan Africans used the donkey and later horses as beast of burden. A domesticated Equus was found at Hierakonpolis dating to around the 3600 BC at Maadi in the Sahara (Fekri A Hassan, The predynastic of Egypt, Journal of World Prehistory,2(2) (1988) .145; J. McArdle, Preliminary report on the predynastic fauna of the Hierkonpolis, Project Studies Association, Cairo. Publication No.1 (1982), p.116-120.)

The horse was also found at other sites in the Sahara. Skeletons of horses dating to between around 2000 BC, have been found ((A.Holl, Livestock husbandry, pastoralism and territoriality: The west African record, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 17(1998):143-165).

In the Sahel-Saharan zone the first carts were driven by cattle and date between 4000 and 3000 BP between the Tichitt and Tagant region according to Joaquim Soler Subils. It is in the Tichitt region that we find many Libyco-Berber inscriptions, horses, mounted horses and of course the cattle driven carts see: J.S. Subils, Sub-Zone1: Mauritania-Western Sahara web page . In many of these scenes the Mande are riding horses to hunt ostriches.

Daniel McCall said the African horse is small in size and lived in the Sahara during the 2nd Millennium BC (D.P. McCall, The cultural map and time profile of the mande-speaking people. In D. Dalby (Ed.), Papers on the Manding (Bloomington,In:1976)pp.76-78). African calvary used these horses up until rise of the empire of Ghana according to the Arab historian al-Bekri.

Sahelian-Saharan rock art depict horse being rode horseback by personages or people captuing horses.










At Buhen, one of the major fortresses of Nubia, which served as the headquarters of the Egyptian Viceroy of Kush a skeleton of a horse was found lying on the pavement of a Middle Kingdom rampart (W.B. Emery, A master-work of Egyptian military architecture 3900 years ago" Illustrated London News, 12 September, pp.250-251). This was only 25 years after the Hysos had conquered Egypt.

The Kushites appear to have rode the horses on horseback instead of a chariot. This suggest that the Kushites had been riding horses for an extended period of time for them to be able to attack Buhen on horseback. This supports supports the early habit of Africans riding horses as depicted in the rock art.

This tradition was continued throughout the history of Kush. The Kushites and upper Egyptians were great horsemen, whereas the Lower Egyptians usually rode the chariot, the Kushite calvary of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty usually rode on horseback (W.A. Fairservis, The ancient kingdoms of the Nile (London,1962) p.129).


The Muzzolina work does not hold because he based his dating of the horse in Africa is based on dating the introduction of the horse to Africa to the Hysos, and that the Libyco-Berber writing was created by "Berbers" who introduced writing to West Africa and the Sahara. This is pure speculation. First we see the oldest examples of Libyco-Berber writing appearing in the Sahara, not North Africa. Secondly, Saharan Africans preferred horseback riding instead of using chariotss. Therefore the association of writing to the expansion of Fezzanese from the Fezzan to Mauritania after 1000BC is not supported by the archaeological evidence for the horse in the Sahara.


Maadi is relevent to this discussion. As we have discussed earlier the Proto-Mande speakers originally lived in the Sahara and Nubia before hey migrated into West Africa and the Fezzan. As a result, the fact that 1) horses were found at Maadi and throughout the Sahara between 4000 and 5000 plus BP; and the Kushites were horseback riding is important in understanding the antiquity writing in Africa.

Researchers have assumed that the Libyco Berber writing appear around 700 BC because it is associated with horses and horses they claim do not appear in rock art until 200-1500 BC. The archaeological evidence of horese in the Sahara at this early time make it clear that horses were in Africa years before the Hysos arrived on the Continent, and that a horse native to Saharan Africa was alread in existence before this time as well.

Secondly we have Kushites horsebackriding at Buhen in 4th millennium BP. This shows that while Asians used the horse for chariots Africans had long recognized that they could ride the horse. As a result, the presence of writing and Saharans horseback riding support a probably much earlier origin than the late horse period (e.g., 700 BC) assigned these inscriptions by some researchers.

Finally, we know that the bovidian period of Saharan Africa goes back to 6000 BC. The antiquity of cattle herding among the Mande speakers support the antiquity of the Oued Mertoutek inscription.

In summary, horses existed in Africa before the Hysos entered Egypt. This horse was native to Africa and used by Mande calvary up until the rise of the Ghana empire.

Saharan use of the horse for transportation can not be dated back to the introduction of the chariot (a cart pulled by a horse) because Saharans already had carts before the Hysos entered Egypt. The rock art makes it clear that Africans early possessed carts pulled by cattle. Since they had carts pulled by cattle there was not need to use this animal to pull chariots since they already had their own technology.

The rock art from the Sahara and North Africa make it clear that people here preferred horseback riding instead of using chariots for transportation. This tradition of horeseback writing in Saharan Africa make it clear that the dating of the Libyco-Berber writing after 1000 BC is probably to late, and fail to accurately reflect the date of writing in Saharan Africa, a view supported by the Oued Mertoutek inscription.

The early presence of horses and writing; and writing associated with the Oued Mertoutek inscription make it clear that Africans have a long history of writing in addition to the Hieroglyphics used in ancient Egypt.

.

Posts: 8838 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | EgyptSearch!

(c) 2012 EgyptSearch.com

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3