Meroitic

Three ancient statues sit at a dig at el-Hassa, the site of a Meroitic town in Sudan in this undated photograph. Archaeologists said on Tuesday they had discovered three ancient statues in Sudan with inscriptions that could bring them closer to deciphering one of Africa's oldest languages. René-Pierre Dissaux/Section Française de la Direction des Antiquités du Soudan

Three ancient statues sit at a dig at el-Hassa, the site of a Meroitic town in Sudan in this undated photograph. Archaeologists said on Tuesday they had discovered three ancient statues in Sudan with inscriptions that could bring
them closer to deciphering one of Africa’s oldest languages. René-Pierre Dissaux/Section Française de la Direction des Antiquités du Soudan

The ancient African language that anyone can speak but no one can understand.

Sudan statue find gives clues to ancient language

KHARTOUM, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Archaeologists said on Tuesday they had discovered three ancient statues in Sudan with inscriptions that could bring them closer to deciphering one of Africa’s oldest languages.

The stone rams, representing the god Amun, were carved during the Meroe empire, a period of kingly rule that lasted from about 300 BC to AD 450 and left hundreds of remains along the River Nile north of Khartoum.

Vincent Rondot, director of the dig carried out by the French Section of Sudan’s Directorate of Antiquities, said each statue displayed an inscription written in Meroitic script, the oldest written language in sub-Saharan Africa.

“It is one of the last antique languages that we still don’t understand … we can read it. We have no problem pronouncing the letters. But we can’t understand it, apart from a few long words and the names of people,” he told reporters in Khartoum.

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