giovedì 16 maggio 2013

The document of Palmavera: still there

Yes, it is still there. Undoubtely written, undoubtely from a nuragic site and a nuragic context: the complex of Palmavera (Alghero, SS). Palmavera is generally held as a paradigmatic case of non-integration with incoming new cultures, such as the so-called Phoenicians: for its entire existence it remained genuinely nuragic.

Fig. 1. The document of Palmavera: enlargement of the written part. On the right, the colors have been inverted, to evidence the letters. See fig. 2 for the full size document. 
The object was, and still is, inside showcase Nr. 26, labeled with “Nuraghe Palmavera, Alghero, XV-IX century BC”. Defined as: “Large spindle-whorle or pawl for a rope ladder” and bears the inventory Nr. 618, 2471 Alghero-Sassari

It was recently analyzed  by Massimo Pittau (1) and Raimondo Zucca (University of Sassari) (2,3). 
Pittau has first defined the object as a forgery, then he changed his mind and suggested that the signs were the result of accidental scratching from inside the archaeologist's sack: according to this scholar, these randomly executed signs cannot be, by any means, letters.

Zucca, on the contrary, states that the signs are undoubtely letters, but were probably incised by  workmen participating to the excavation, as a sort of game (2). An excavation that took place, according  to Zucca, more than fifty years ago. 

Fig. 2. The document of Palmavera, exposed at the Museo archeologico nazionale Sanna, Sassari. The photo has been taken  10 days ago

1. M. Pittau, Discredito e derisione nella cosiddetta "scrittura nuragica",11.11.2012,
2. R. Zucca, "Storiografia del problema della ‘scrittura nuragica’" in Bollettino di Studi Sardi, Anno V, numero 5, dicembre 2012