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Is this Tablet the World's OLDEST Writing?

The worlds oldest writing?

The Dispilio Tablet, the first writing?

The prehistoric settlement of Dispilio is situated on the southern shore of Kastoria lake, Orestiada, at the site Nissi (island). It was located in 1932, when the lake level fell.

Systematic excavations (1992 onward) unearthed the remains of a large lakeside settlement of the Late Neolithic period; one of the most important and oldest of its kind in Europe. Excavations at Dispilio constitute a landmark for archaeological investigations in Greece because of the special character of the site and because it permits the study of habitation structures during the Neolithic Period.

The houses of the settlement, circular and rectangular, were built of timber, reed, and clay upon timber-post framed platforms. The modern reconstruction of the lakeside settlement provides a wonderful insight into the habitation norms of that period.

Among the fauna and flora remains, as well as the mobiliary finds from the excavations (pottery, tools, etc.), the whole range of economic activities of the prehistoric inhabitants of Dispilio are represented: farming, animal husbandry, hunting and fishing. Numerous bone hooks and traces of a boat, identical to those used to this day by the fishermen of Kastoria, is clear evidence that fishing was practised. Finds, such as leaf-shaped and triangular arrowheads of Melian obsidian, pottery similar to that of the neighboring Balkan areas, and a stone ring idol pendant, place the settlement of Dispiliowithin the exchange networks developed in Greece in particular during the Late Neolithic period.

Grey pottery of the Tsangli type, black burnished ware of the Larisa type, and polychrome-painted vessels date to the phases of the Late Neolithic I. In the late phases of the settlement, black and blacktopped ware predominated, as well as red burnished and painted designs (brown on a light background). Characteristic types of vases were bowls, fruit stands, closed vases with a neck, and clay tables.

The community at Dispilio must have been a culturally evolved one, as is indicated by the three bone flutes, along with a wooden tablet with incised linear symbols that archaeologists were happy to unearth (please see our album). This tablet dates with certainty from 5260 BC, and is probable to be an early form of written speech, as has been assumed about similar symbols on clay, discovered at settlements in the southern Balkans (Vinca culture).

The signs (letters) on the tablet transcribed. They really look like writing.

I also think they bear some resmblance to these symbols..

This inscription was made about 6,500 years ago on the wall of a cave near Sitovo (next to Plovdiv, Bulgaria). The written signs are in two lines and each row is 3,4 meters long. The signs are 40 cm tall.

There’s a legend from Europe that the birch goddess taught people to write, and there is evidence from medieval finds that birch bark has been used as a form of parchment in Europe. Only time will tell if it’s really writing.

The find was in lake Kastoria, in Northern Greece near the border with Albania (Macedonian area).



Prehistorc tablet calls into question history of writing

Back in 1993, in a Neolithic lakeshore settlement that occupied an artificial island near the modern village of Dispilio on Lake Kastoria in the Kastoria Prefecture, professor George Hourmouziadis and his team unearthed the Dispilio Tablet (also known as the Dispilio Scripture or the Dispilio Disk), a wooden tablet bearing inscribed markings (charagmata) that has been carbon 14-dated to about 7300 BP (5260 BC).

The Dispilio Tablet [Credit: mlahanas]In February 2004, during the announcement of the Tablet’s discovery to the world, Hourmouziadis claimed that the text with the markings could not be easily publicized because it would ultimately change the current historical background concerning the origins of writing and articulate speech depicted with letters instead of ideograms within the borders of the ancient Greek world and by extension, the broader European one.

According to the Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the markings suggested that the current theory proposing that the ancient Greeks received their alphabet from the ancient civilizations of the Middle East (Babylonians, Sumerians and Phoenicians etc) fails to close the historic gap of some 4,000 years. This gap translates into the following facts:  while ancient eastern civilizations would use ideograms to express themselves, the ancient Greeks were using syllables in a similar manner like we use today.

The inscribed symbols of the Dispilio Tablet [Credit: mlahanas]The currently accepted historic theory taught around the world suggests that the ancient Greeks learned to write around 800 BC from the Phoenicians. However, a question emerges among scholars: how is it possible for the Greek language to have 800,000 word entries, ranking first among all known languages in the world, while the second next has only 250,000 word entries? How is it possible for the Homeric Poems to have been produced at about 800 BC, which is just when the ancient Greeks learned to write? It would be impossible for the ancient Greeks to write these poetic works without having had a history of writing of at least 10,000 years back, according to a US linguistic research.

The tablet is 2,000 years older than the written findings from the Sumerian era and 4,000 years older than the Cretan-Mycenean linear types of writing.

According to Hourmouziadis’ statements back in 1994, the markings on the tablet did not resemble the human figures, the sun and moon or other figures ideograms usually depict. They actually showed signs of advanced apheresis, which indicates they are the result of cognitive processes.

The tablet was partially damaged when it was exposed to the oxygen-rich environment outside of the mud and water in which it was immersed for a long period of time, and it is now under conservation. The full academic publication of the tablet apparently awaits the completion of the work of conservation. Read more at


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