The Global Prehistory Consortium at EURO INNOVANET
An inscription with many "characters" - Neolithic facsimile to the classic Greek letters ?

Formulas inscribed on a spindle whorl from Dikili Tash

This inscribed spindle whorl is 6,000 years old and comes from Dikili Tash (Greek Thrace).
This complex inscription on the spindle whorl has long, complex writings that follow the circular movement of the tool and consists of glyphs with a specific identity and recalling those of seals and tablets.
In Old Europe weaving is generally closely linked to myths and religious rites and the act of spinning is full of allegorical and sacred force. It is thus difficult to explain these inscriptions with their practical use. Spindle whorls are among the most significant votive offerings found in cult centres and burial grounds.
The whorls rotate when in use and it is thus possible that the geometric motifs represent writing with cyclical, periodic features. Or are they meant to be read by the faithful or the divinity as the whorl turns? Is this a kind of prayer directed towards to the heavens like the Tibetan prayer wheels?
The inscription from Dikili Tash could be a ritualistic formula for expressing devotion, requests or gratitude or could describe a myth.


Haarmann H., Early Civilization and Literacy in Europe. An Inquiry Into Cultural Continuity in the Mediterranean World, Berlino, New York, 1995.
Merlini M., Was Writing Born in Europe? Searching for a Sacred Script, Rome ( in preparation )