Discovery of Ancient Tartessian Slate Tablet Unveils 2,500-Year-Old Alphabet

The recently discovered slate tablet at the Tartessian site of Turuñuelo de Guareña in Badajoz, where a Tartessian artisan sketched his designs about 2,500 years ago, will not only deepen our understanding of art and manual labor during that time, but also shed light on the language. Alongside the carvings made with a sharp tool, the small 20 by 20 centimeter tablet also features an alphabet. Initially, the in-depth study of this alphabet was put on hold, but after the discovery was published, Joan Ferrer i Jané from the LITTERA Research Group at the University of Barcelona highlighted the significance of the alphabet.
The tablet, unearthed at the Turuñuelo de Guareña site, where an unusual two-story building destroyed in the late 5th century BC is being excavated, contains 21 signs inscribed from left to right along the outer edge. The tablet is broken on one side, resulting in the loss of at least six signs. The alphabet on the tablet is referred to as a «southern alphabet» for now, as it may represent a different language from the Iberian script found in the eastern regions. The discovery is expected to provide valuable insights into a specific chronological period and geographical location, offering a glimpse into the diverse epigraphic schools of that era.
The tablet was found among other artifacts in a part of the main building at Turuñuelo, shedding light on Tartessian productive organization through the work of artisans. The building’s construction, advanced for its time, showcases the power and organizational capacity of the Tartessian culture. The civilization of Tartessos, known for its brilliance and wealth, reached its peak before its mysterious disappearance, leaving behind legends and myths. The excavation at Turuñuelo has revealed unprecedented insights into Tartessian culture, challenging previous theories and adding new dimensions to the study of this ancient civilization.
The discovery of the slate tablet with an ancient alphabet at Turuñuelo de Guareña marks a significant milestone in the ongoing research of Tartessian culture, promising further revelations and discoveries in the future.