VOICES IN STONE by Ernst Doblhofer


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This is a history of the patient, painstaking decipherment of the earliest written words of ancient civilizations by the many archaeologists, antiquarians and cryptologists who worked for years to reveal the riddles of centuries. As such, it covers much of the same material which P.E. Cleator's Last Languages, now to appear on the John Day list, (p. 392) also surveys. The books are so similar that they may well present a conflict. A few superficial distinctions can be made: Dr. Doblhofer, a Viennese archaeologist, is a working scientist in this field to which he has devoted a lifetime: his research of fellow researchers is perhaps more extensive, while Cleator is perhaps clearer and simpler to follow. From the differentiation between the earliest forms of writing (pictograms, ideograms, etc.) to its development, the history of decipherment continues through Champollion's major breakthrough of the Egyptian, to the various cuneiforms Persian, Mesopotamian, Assyrio-Babylonian, Akkadian, Sumerian, on to the seemingly inviolate Hittite hieroglyphs, the Cypriot syllable script, the Creto-Mycenaean Linear finally the challenges of tomorrow-the still undeciphered Etruscan writings, those of Easter Island, the most difficult scripts of the Indus Valley...

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1961
Publisher: Viking