A Rosetta Seal - An Indus Seal Deciphered?

Abhiroop Sengupta Saturday 30th April 2022 06:33 EDT

The human mind has always craved puzzles and challenges. It could range from a board game to an inventor's dilemma, but nothing has probably intrigued one's mind more than an undeciphered language. Over the last two centuries, a lot of these languages and civilizations have spoken to us one by one but one civilization which to this day remains a mystery is none but the Indus valley/Saraswati civilization of the Indian subcontinent. 

Since the accounts of the explorer James Lewis and the subsequent contribution of stalwarts like Alexander Cunningham, Rakhal Das Banerji, John Marshal, Pandit Madhav Sarup Vats and Rao Bahadur Kashinath Narayan Dikshit, the Indus Valley Civilization is now known to all and its excellent town planning, architecture style and trade relationships have also been studied and understood to a great extent. But one thing that alludes to everyone's attempt is the language which can be found on the innumerable seals found in the various archaeological sites. The main reason was the lack of a comparative text or a bilingual seal, just like the Rosetta stone which helped decode the Egyptian hieroglyphs. But is there a Rosetta seal? The author of this article thinks there is one. 

The British Museum holds many secrets and treasures and one such item is an Indus Valley seal of glazed white steatite which was surprisingly found in Ur, modern-day Iraq. With a museum number of '120228', what makes the seal interesting is the fact that it ends with two 'Jar' shaped symbols, the same symbol which is also probably the most frequently used among all the Indus script symbols. The double usage of the 'Jar' sign has been speculated as an attempt to spell a foreign word and this got the author of this article thinking if the so-called foreign word can be guessed rightly and if rightly done, the signs with their respective pronunciations can be applied to other seals to see if they make sense and then reverse engineer the process with a little help of artificial intelligence and maybe quantum computing.

The author thinks that the foreign word written using Indus Valley symbols in this particular seal is "Enbilulu", and the reasons are many. Firstly, Enbilulu was the brother of "Nanna", the Mesopotamian god of the moon, who was also associated with cattle and the seal features a bull whose horns form a perfect moon-like crescent in spite of the head is tilted downwards. Secondly, the city of Ur was a major cult centre of the god Nanna. Thirdly, Enbilulu himself was the god of rivers, irrigation and farming which might again explain the bull representation. Lastly, the suffix "Lu" is still used for many words in both Dravidian and Devnagari languages to this day. Thus if the interpretation of the author is correct then the jar-shaped symbol can simply be translated as 'Lu'.

Thus it can only be hoped that in the days to come, and with the assistance of artificial intelligence and quantum computing the old civilization speaks back to us again with some amazing stories to tell. 

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