Deciphering the Indus Script

Deciphering the Indus Script

Generally recognized as the world's expert on the Indus script, Asko Parpola has been studying this undeciphered writing for over 40 years at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He is co-editor of collections of all seals and inscriptions in India and Pakistan. As Professor of Indology he has led a Finnish team of experts through numerous approaches to the puzzle of one of the world's very earliest writing systems.

A grand summary of Dr. Parpola's work, Deciphering the Indus Script was published by Cambridge University Press in 1994. Here we present an adaptation of a briefer article describing his approach and major findings first published as "Religion reflected in the iconic signs of the Indus script: penetrating into long-forgotten picto+graphic messages," in Visible Religion, Vol 6, 1988 (with permission of A.J. Brill, Leiden, Holland). An easily printed text-only version of the 13 sections that follow is also available.

Dr. Parpola's 2005 Essay Study of the Indus Script is also available.

Contents

1 Introduction 9 Fish and the God of Waters
2 Meeting the challenge of the Indus script 10 Saturn and the tortoise
3 What type of writing does the Indus script represent? 11 Other planets: examples of cross-checked readings
4 The Principle of Picture Puzzles 12 The sacred fig tree and the north star
5 Pictorial Interpretation of the Indus signs 13 The Pleiades and the Seven Sages
6 Do the 'fish' signs denote dieties? 14 Conclusion
7 Sanskrit or Dravidian? 15 Notes and Bibliography
8 Fishes and stars: evidence for astral divinities 16 Full Text Only Version

[Originally published as Parpola, Asko (1988) Religion reflected in the iconic signs of the Indus script: penetrating into long-forgotten picto+graphic messages. Visible Religion 6: pp. 114-135.]