Never heard about “Southwest Script”, “Southwestern Script”, “Tartessian” or South Lusitanian” before? Well, if that’s the case, I am proud to introduce you to the most ancient known script of the Iberian Peninsula!
It is believed to have been used some when between the 5 – 7 centuries b.C. in funerary steles. So far, around 75 of these stones have been found, and some can be seen in the MESA museum dedicated to this script, which is located in Almodovar, South of Portugal.
It is precisely in this region (Algarve and Alentejo) that its most relevant heritage has been found. Its origins are still not clear, but apparently it may be a variant of the Phoenician alphabet left behind during the extensive trade exchanges that used to take place in the Mediterranean. Since it has not been deciphered so far, it is one of the unfolded mysteries History has left us, although it reveals the civilization treasures and cultural wealth back then.
A BBC team has recently visited Almodovar and is preparing a documentary on the subject. I will keep you posted and will create a link as soon as the work is ready to watch.
If you happen to be in Lisbon until the end of September, save some time and do visit an itinerant exhibition held at the National Archeological Museum about “The Iron Age in the South of Portugal: Epigraphy and Culture“.
As far as I am concerned, I have just visited the MESA museum and completely fell in love with the soldier depicted in the stele above! I am thankful and happy to know that the official entities are taking proper care of those magnificent art pieces and that there are many experts, both in Portugal and abroad, who are dedicating their time and work to preserving such treasures. Who knows what this writing is concealing?… Let’s hope one day they find our own Rosetta Stone with the key.
“Writing is the only perfect form of time.“