Most of the ancient civilizations that lived before us had vast troves of knowledge and information. Sadly, with the passage of time, most of that information has been lost. Despite the fact that we did manage to find many artefacts and writings pertaining to some cultures, even more were lost to the endless flow of time.
But while from some cultures we did manage to save things like the language (experts still aren’t sure what ancient Latin sounded like, only how it was written), others barely have a few artefacts and writings remaining, nothing to actually have a better idea of the culture’s practices.
A team of Italian archaeologists managed to uncover one of the largest amounts of sacred Etruscan text ever found. Written on a huge stone slab from the foundations of a temple, the text is particularly interesting because it wasn’t carved on a grave or a funeral object, as these texts tended to be.
Measuring some four feet in height, two in width, and weighing around five hundred pounds, the slab of stone was dated back to the 6th century BCE. It remained sealed inside the temple for about 2,500 years, and it might be one of the biggest, if not the biggest source of information about the long-departed culture.
It is believed that the stone tablet, or stele, is religious in nature, and that it might finally reveal something about the god or goddess worshipped by the ancient culture. So far, no information on that was ever found; but then again, very little information about the Etruscans in general was uncovered over the years.
Containing some 70 letters and punctuation marks, the tablet will most likely contain words never before seen pertaining to the lost civilization. Generally, Etruscans used to write on cloth or wax, so very few texts from that era are left as intact as the one just found, with most of them being funerary inscriptions.
Still under investigation
Laser scanning and photogrammetry is basically what the researchers studying the tablet are currently doing, so as to save everything written on the stele just the way it is. And this process might take at least a couple of months, so the team won’t be moving to deciphering any time soon. Still, even delayed knowledge is better than no knowledge at all.
Very few objects pertaining to the Etruscan culture were found during the past couple of decades, mostly centering on jewelry, statues, pottery, and coins. Despite the fact that the civilization was known to be highly cultured, the perishable ways in which they stored their texts made it very difficult to find out much about their habits and practices.
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