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|Title Review |
It was way back in 1885, when Alexander Cunningham sought to grapple with an enigmatic script – later called the Harappan script. Ever since, countless scholars the world over have tried to make out this puzzling script. Already, around 2000 standard papers and well over a hundred books have appeared on the Harappan script and language. And a significant number of claims about decipherment of the script too have been published. Scholars have tried to even correlate the Harappan script with scripts of South East China and South East Asia and also with several other scripts of the world, like proto-Islamite, Ideograms of Easter island of south eastern Pacific Ocean, pot marks of Etruscan, archaic numerals of primitive Indonesians, Egyptians, Minion, Hittite, symbols of Maldivians, and also with the glyphs of central America.
Despite the many claims and many attempts at decipherment, the Harappan script is as yet undeciphered, unidentified. Any scholar/researcher trying to decipher the writings of the Harappans is confronted with three major obstacles: the absence of bilingual examples, the deficiency of knowledge of language which he/she is trying to decipher, and the scarcity of individual extant examples – the longest being 27 signs long. The so-far-known corpus consists of some 3,700 legible inscriptions, distributed over a vastly sprawling area of southern Asia -- with an understandably higher concentration within the north-west of the Indian subcontinent, which being the heartland of the Harappan civilization.
Putting together 26 recent, well-researched papers, including the seven by Deo Prakash Sharma himself, this volume is yet another effort towards decipherment of the puzzling Harappan script. It examines a variety of Harappan seals and sealings, the Harappan script and its relation with Shamans cult, the Harappan seals and tablets with anthropomorphic motifs, Cryptogram or copper tablets from Mohenjodaro, Rare seals and Harappan civilization and, among other aspects, how Harappan script is now on the final way to decipherment. The papers are supported by line-drawings, b/w photographs and about a hundred colour plates.
Dr D.P. Sharma: currently Director, Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, is the former Keeper of National Museum and Associate Professor in the National Museum Institute, New Delhi.
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|Related Subjects |
| 1. Archaeology And Ancient Studies|
| 2. Linguistics|
| 3. History And History Of Civilization|
Deciphrment [i.e. decipherment] of Harappan script