The writing systems listed below have yet to be deciphered or have
only been partially deciphered. In some cases the writing systems
have been deciphered but the languages they were used to write
remain a mystery.
Vinča / Old European
A collection of symbols found on many of the artefacts dating from
between 6,000 to 4,500 BC excavated from sites in south-east Europe,
in particular from Vinča near Belgrade. There is no agreement
on whether these symbols are a writing system.
A collection of symbols used in the Indus valley of India between
about 3,500 and 2,000 BC. Some believe that these symbols are non-linguistic,
while others argue that they represent a Dravidian language.
A script which first appeared in about 2900 BC in Suse (Susa), the
capital of Elam, in south-western Persia (modern Iran). It has yet to
be deciphered and the language it represents in unknown.
A partially deciphered syllabic script used between about 2250 and 2220 BC
in the kingdom of Suse in south-western Persia (modern Iran). It was
named after Elam, the capital of Suse.
A script used between about 1800 and 1450 BC on Crete. Linear A is
possibly related to Linear B but the
language it was used to write is not known.
The Phaistos Disk was found in the Minoan Palace of Phaistos on Crete in 1908
and is thought to date from the 17th century BC. On it is inscribed an unknown script
and there are many theories about the language it represeents and what it means.
No other evidence of this script has been found.
Further details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaistos_Disc
The Voynich Manuscript is named after Wilfrid M. Voynich, an antiquarian
book dealer who acquired it in 1912. It is lavishly illustrated manuscript
codex of 234 pages, written in an unknown script. One theory is that is was
written sometime during the 13th century by a Franciscan friar, Roger Bacon
(1214-1294). Many attempts have been made to decipher the text but none have
succeeded. Some think the manuscript is gibberish, and was probably a practical
joke played on Rudolph II.
Further details: http://www.voynich.nu
The Rohonc Codex (Rohonci kódex) is named after the city of Rohonc, in Western
Hungary (now Rechnitz, Austria), where it was kept until 1907, when it was moved to
Budapest. The origin of the codex is uncertain. In 1838 it was donated to the
Hungarian Science Academy by Gusztav Batthyány, a Hungarian count,
together with his entire library. It is written in an unknown language and script
and has defied all attempts to decipher it.
For more details of the Rohonc Codex, see:
A script once used on Easter Island until the 1860s, after which knowledge of
the script was lost. The language it represents is Rapa Nui, the Polynesian
language spoken on Easter Island.
Other writing systems
Semanto-phonetic writing systems,
Alternative writing systems,
Languages by writing system,
Languages by family,
Search this site