The oldest readable writing in Europe

Published on April 1st, 2011 | by Sevaan Franks

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A clay tablet found in Greece contains the oldest known decipherable text found in Europe.

Considered “magical or mysterious” in its time, the writing survives only because a trash heap caught fire some 3,500 years ago, according to researchers.

Found in an olive grove in what’s now the village of Iklaina, the tablet was created by a Greek-speaking Mycenaean scribe between 1450 and 1350 B.C., archaeologists say.

The Mycenaeans—made legendary in part by Homer’s Iliad, which fictionalizes their war with Troy—dominated much of Greece from about 1600 B.C. to 1100 B.C.

[Full story]

Story: Ker Than, National Geographic News | Photo: Christian Mindiglier

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