Tărtărian tablets

Step 5 of 8

Sun, moon and the rest

Since there is no consensus on the meaning of the different symbols on these tablets and whether they present an early writing system, many interpretations have arisen. Until further evidence comes to light, any attempt of ‘decipherment’ is futile and can be no more than guesswork. What the material does allow us to do, however, is to describe what is visible on these tablets.

The signs on the lenticular tablet are divided over four quadrants by a vertical and horizontal line, just as the signs on the rectangular tablet are divided by four vertical lines. In each quadrant on the circular tablet, there are two or more figures. Some of these figures are striking.

For example, the D-shaped sign occurs on both the upper left and right side. Some argue that this D-shaped figure represents the moon and that the two round symbols onthe upper right represent either the sun, or full moon. The meaning of these moon symbols, however, is highly disputable; some argue it represents the moon cycle, others interpret it as a mathematical notation. In the lower left corner, the top two symbols are recognizable as a bow and a double-headed arrow. The most eye-catching symbol on this tablet, however, is perhaps the sign on the lower right quadrant: a triangle with a semicircular base and three vertical lines. Those vertical lines can represent rising smoke which makes this triangular shaped sign perhaps an altar, but this remains conjecture.