In 2009, Professor Dumitru Ionita claimed to have discovered a Neolithic workshop manufacturing tablets at Vadu Rau in Romania’s Bistrita Valley, with many tablets being found. The total number of tablets discovered at Vadu Rau is around 120, with some of them carrying inscriptions almost identical to the ones at Tartaria. At the end of 2012, in the ‘Miercurea Sibiu 2’ site, archaeologists discovered a Neolithic housing complex, where several ceramic-preparation ovens were found as well as thousands of ceramic fragments. One of the ceramic fragments contained signs, which the director of the Sibiu Brukental Museum deemed to be writing, not mere decorations. What is remarkable about this fragment is that it dates back to 6200-6000 B.C.E, making it even older than the Tartaria tablets. When analyzed, the ceramic fragment might reveal itself to be contain the Turdas-Vinca script or perhaps an altogether different form of writing.
The implications are huge. It could mean that the Danube Valley Civilization predates all other known civilizations today. Evidence also comes from thousands of artifacts that have been found, such as the odd-looking figure displayed on the left. However, the majority of Mesopotamian scholars reject Haarmann’s proposal, suggesting that the symbols on the tablets are just decoration. This is despite the fact that there are approximately 700 different characters, around the same number of symbols used in Egyptian hieroglyphs . Other scholars even suggested that the Danube Civilization must have copied signs and symbols from the Mesopotamian civilizations, despite the fact that some of the Danube tablets have been found to be older that the Mesopotamian ones.
Apart from challenging the existing cradle of culture, the Tartaria tablets might also call into question the reason why writing appeared in the first place. It is currently widely accepted that writing appeared in Mesopotamia as a record-keeping vehicle for commercial transactions or administrative procedures. However, some scientists believe that the writing on the Tartaria tablets has a cultic character, implying that writing could have originally been used for ritualistic or religious purposes. It is, therefore sacred writing, expressed through ideograms, but also through signs and symbols, which might represent words or estates. These experts claim that the tablets and other objects found at the Tartaria ritual pit belong to the cult inventory of a priestess and to different cults relating to fertility and fecundity. Marija Gimbas, a reputed Lithuanian-American archaeologist, also stressed in one of her best books, ‘The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe,’ that the Danube writing was associated with religious functions.
It appears that this is another case of a theory based on solid research being outright rejected without appropriate consideration. Could this be because it conflicts with the accepted view of which nation holds claim to the ‘first civilization’? At the very least, Haarmann’s proposal deserves further research and serious analysis in order to confirm whether this is indeed the oldest known written language in the world.