Are the Tărtăria Tablets Actually Written in Hungarian?
Archaeologists in Bulgaria have found writing that dates back 5000 years. This writing, found inscribed in clay, is called the Tărtăria Tablets by M.R. Reese. Reese makes it clear for Ancient Origins that the Tărtăria Tablets, or Vinča Turdas tablets, were discovered by Nicolae Vlassa.
Finding the Tărtăria Tablets
The Tărtăria tablets were found in what N. Vlassa, the archaeologist who worked on this site in 1961, called a "ritual pit" along with 26 burnt clay idols and two Cycladic alabaster idols, plus the scorched and disjointed bones of a man. He described this site as a magic-religious complex. Although Dr. Vlassa has suggested that this man was probably a sacrifice, the research of Dr. Vamos Toth Bator indicates that the man was more likely a priest who had died in a fire and was then buried with ritual items he valued while alive.
The Hungarian scholar, Dr. Vamos Toth Bator believes that the Tărtăria tablets are written in Magyar. Using Magyar, Vamos Toth Bator believed he could read these mysterious inscriptions.
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Monument for the Neolithic Tărtăria tablets discovered in 1961 at Tărtăria, Alba County, Romania. (Țetcu Mircea Rareș/CC BY SA 3.0)
Dr. Vamos Toth Bator has opened up the world to new knowledge about the toponyms and cultural traits that connected ancient civilizations around the world. He has been able to use linguistic, anthropological, and historical-toponymic evidence to vividly make us aware of the Tamana culture.
Difficulty Deciphering the Tărtăria Tablets
There are three Tărtăria tablets and controversy surrounds their content. Reese wrote that: “Some believe the etchings are a primitive form of writing, while others believe they are pictograms, random scribbles, religious symbols, or symbols of ownership.”
Up until now no one has conclusively deciphered the Tărtăria tablets. However, various researchers have stated that the signs on the tablets have affinities to Proto-Sumerian, pre-Dynastic Egyptian, Libyco-Berber, Proto- Elamite, and Trojan writing. Zanotti has suggested that the dates for the tablets may be between 3300 and 3000 BC, or contemporary with Uruk IV, of the Jemdet Nasr period in Mesopotamia. Many signs engraved on Vinča pots are comparable to pottery marks from Asia Minor ceramic ware, especially pottery from Troy. Hood observed that :
"Many of the vases made by Vinca potters have shapes that are basically akin to Trojan ones. Pots with dark, polished surfaces, often decorated with incisions filled with a white paste, are common both in the first settlement at Troy, and in the earlier phase of the Vinca culture. Vinca ware also show affinity with later pottery at Troy".
Is the Script on the Tărtăria Tablets from the Magyar Language?
Paliga believes that Tartarian writing was the proto-type script for the Cypriot syllabary or Cretan Linear A signs. The finding by Paliga, that the Tărtăria Tablets may relate to the Linear A signs, was very interesting because Crete was settled by the Garamante - who originally lived in Fezzan, Libya.
The Hungarian people speak the Magyar language. Many researchers have assumed that the Magyar people only recently arrived in the Carpathian Basin from Asia, but this is not necessarily true for all the Magyar.
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The Carpathian Basin was a center for cattle rearing and copper mining during the middle Neolithic. Dr. Vamos-Toth Bator has found thousands of toponyms that connect the Carpathian basin to other parts of the world.
The Magyar trace their origins back to ancient Nubia. The Arvisurak, an ancient book of the Magyar said that the name Uz was applied to the ancient Magyar, the largest tribe of the Black Huns.
Tibor Barath, in ‘The Early Hungarians’, has given a considerable amount of data which indicates that the Kushites from Nubia played an important role in the formation of the Magyar. As a result, we find that the Magyar/Hungarian language is closely related to Malinke-Bambara and the Dravidian languages which were formerly spoken in Nubia.
Tripolye and Nubian Figurines. (Author provided)
The Hungarian scholar Janos Makkay has examined incised Tartarian tablets/signs from thirty-seven (37) sites spread throughout Hungary and Romania. The presence of these tablets highlight the highly developed character of the ancient Magyar culture in Europe.
Many scholars have attempted to decipher these tablets in the past. Jaki Gaber believed the inscriptions were written in Sumerian and discussed taxation. In another attempt at decipherment, Barath recognized that the tablets were written in Magyar and believed that they recorded an astrological event.
Drawing of the Tărtăria tablets. (Youtube Screenshot)
Vamos Toth used his knowledge of the Proto-Saharan writing system to decipher the Vinča Turdas or the Tărtăria tablets. Dr. Clyde Winters in ‘Archaeological Decipherment of Ancient Writing Systems’ makes it clear that the Proto-Saharan script was based on Thinite writing. Dr. Vamos Toth believed that the Vinčians used symbols identical to the Proto-Saharan script to represent Magyar phonetic values.
Even though the Hungarian scholar Tibor Barath was correct in reading the tablets in Magyar, his interpretation of the words is incorrect. In 1983, Vamos-Toth Bator deciphered a Tărtăria tablet and discovered that it is not related to an astrological event, it was an amulet worn by a Proto-Magyar dignitary.
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The writing on a Tărtăria tablet (author provided) with the corresponding amulet. (CC BY 3.0)
Interpreting the Tărtăria Amulet’s Writing
This amulet was deciphered by giving the characters of the Tărtăria tablet phonetic values consistent with the Proto-Saharan script. Dr. Vamos-Toth read the Tartarian inscription from left to right – and in Magyar we have:
Jo taj dogo ko: "Goodness here adheres (to you from) the Deity.
Taj-a to bo: Here the source of abundance.
To egybe: (The Deity is) the source of Unity.
Ko ne: The Deity (is) for me.
Mi ont ke: Which integrates (me) into one Unity (with the Deity)."
Breakdown of symbols on the Tărtăria amulet. (Author provided)
Significance of Deciphering the Tărtăria Tablet’s Text
The decipherment of the Tărtăria tablet by Dr. Vomas-Toth Bator and Dr. C.A. Winters is important because it offers the first written evidence that man paid homage to a Supreme Power in Europe over 5000 years ago. The Tărtăria amulet is also important to world history because it is the earliest written document to appear in Europe. Moreover, the fact that Ko may relate to powerful leaders suggests that the Proto-Magyar people, as evidenced by the excavation of other Tărtăria type tablets on 37 sites, had a powerful elite that welded the prehistoric Carpathian basin villages into one of the world's early empires.
Top Image: The Tărtăria Tablets. Source: O Livro De Areia
Tibor Barath, The Early Hungarians, Montreal, 1983.
Tibor Barath , Magyar Nepek Ostordenete, Montreal, 1974.
M.S.F. Hood, "The Tartarian tablets", Scientific America, 218 (1968), 30-37.
M.S.F. Hood, "The Tartarian tablets", Antiquity, (1967) 99-113.
Gaber Jaki, Smerok Magyar Foldon (Sumerian in Magarland), Buenos Aires, 1972.
Kabosi Kandra , Magyar Milotogia, Eger, 1897.
Sorin Paliga . The tablets of Tǎrtǎria. An enigma ? A reconsideration and further perspectives. Dialogues d'histoire ancienne Année 1993:19 Numéro 1 pp. 9-43. http://www.persee.fr/doc/dha_0755-7256_1993_num_19_1_2073
T.E. Peet, "The Egyptian writing board BM5647 bearing Keftiu names". In, (ed.) by S Casson, Essays in Aegean Archaeology presented to Sir Arthur Evans (Oxford, 1927), 90-99
M R Reese, 2014. Do the Tartaria Tablets contain evidence of earliest known writing system? http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-europe/do-tartaria-tablets-contain-evidence-earliest-known-writing-system-002103?nopaging=1
N. Valassa, "Chronology of the Neolithic in Transylvania in light of the Tartaria settlement stratigraphy", Dacia, 7 (1963), 1-10.
C.A. Winters, "Dravidian and Magyar/Hungarian", International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, 15 (2) (1986), 175-189.
Clyde Winters, Archaeological Decipherment of Ancient Writing Systems. Createspace, 2016. https://www.amazon.com/Archaeological-Decipherment-Ancient-Writing-Systems/dp/1532967365
D.G. Zenotti, "The position of the Tartaria tablets within the Southeast European Copper Age", American Journal of Archaeology, 87 (2) (1983), 209-213.