The Indus script as proto-writing

Asko Parpola asko.parpola at HELSINKI.FI
Thu Jul 14 18:24:50 UTC 2011

Quoting "Steve Farmer" <saf at SAFARMER.COM>:

> Asko below (and elsewhere) has tried to counter this argument by  
> anachronistically citing Archaic Sumerian as a parallel example.  
> That is a very strange claim: it seems quite odd to us to draw  
> parallels between uniformly short Indus symbol strings from ca. 1900  
> BCE -- a very high literate period throughout the Middle East --  
> with "proto-writing" from the Sumerians as much as 1500 years earler!

When the Indus script was created - according to the new evidence from  
Harappa around 2600 BCE - the Sumerian script had become more  
phoneticized but was still at the "nuclear writing" stage: I have  
illustrated this by citing a recurrent phrase in its Early Dynastic  
version from Fara (c 2500 BCE) and its later 'classical' Sumerian  
version (see Parpola 1994: 34, after Miguel Civil and R. D. Biggs,  
Notes sur des textes sumériens archïques, Revue d'Assyriologie 60,  
1966: 12f.). Apparently the Indus script functioned sufficiently well  
for the Harappan needs so that they found no reason for any major  

My participation in this debate ends here as far as the present  
discussion is concerned. Thank you for the opportunity to present my  
present view on the nature of the Indus script.

With best regards, Asko Parpola

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list