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Ancient Language in Scotland

New Language Dating Back to Iron Age Discovered in Scotland

A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, has revealed that a written language belong to the Picts, a tribe that existed in ancient eastern and northern Scotland between 300 and 843 AD, has been discovered on carved stones in Scotland.  Decorated stones were often used by Celtic tribes in Ireland, Wales and Scotland to indicate ownership or to display their names.

The Picts, meaning “the Painted Ones”, were named by the Roman Eumenius based on the Pictish custom of either tattooing their bodies or embellishing themselves with ‘war paint’.  They are well known for having repeatedly fought off invasions from both Romans and Angles, creating a clear North-South divide of the British Isles.

The study utilised a mathematical method called Shannon Entropy, which studies the order, direction and randomness of engravings, to attempt to identify the language found on the carved stones but it did not resemble previous markings found on other carved stones. 

The analysis revealed that the symbols are part of a lexigraphic writing used by the Picts, although the researchers have not yet been able to decipher the meaning of the writing.  Further research will be conducted in the future to try to complete the decipherment of the carved stones, which would providing intriguing insights into the Picts.

By April Holloway

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