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The Indus Script Deciphered?

  • Gerard Clauson and John Chadwick
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The Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies was founded as recently as 1967 with a governing body of distinguished scholars appointed by the four contributing countries. With this, its first publication, it has got off to a flying start. Ever since the first specimens of the Indus script were published nearly 40 years ago, it has constituted a standing challenge to scholars with a bent for cryptography. Several attempts have been made to decipher it, but as Sir Mortimer Wheeler remarked, before the publication of this monograph, in The Indus civilization (3rd edition, Cambridge, 1968, p. 107, footnote 2), 'the published attempts to do so are invalid'. This judgement is now due for drastic reconsideration.

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Early this year there was published in Copenhagen Decipherment of the Proto-Dravidian Inscriptions of the Indus Civilization: a first announcement, written by Asko Parpola, Seppo Koskenniemi, Simo Parpola, and Pentti Aalto. It was Special Publication no. 1 of the Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies which was founded in 1967. This interesting publication of 72 pp. is not for sale and has been circulated privately to individuals, journals and libraries. The address of the Institute is 2 Kejsergade, 1155 Copenhagen K. Other publications on the same theme are promised and will be discussed in these pages in due course. Meanwhile this first announcement is discussed by two scholars. The first is Sir Gerard Clauson, formerly Assistant Under Secretary of State in the Colonial Office, and a past President of the Royal Asiatic Society, who gives as his recreations in Who's Who archaeology and oriental languages. The second is John Chadwick, Reader in Greek Language and Fellow of Downing College in the University of Cambridge. We hope, in the December number, to print further contributions to this intriguing discussion from Professor Burrow of the University of Oxford and Professor Stig Wikander of the University of Uppsala.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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