MessageToEagle.com - Were ancient people familiar with computers? Is it possible the world's oldest data storage system was invented more than 5000 yeas ago?
Mesopotamia is a name for the area of the Tigris-Euphrates river system, corresponding to modern-day Iraq, the northeastern section of Syria and to a much lesser extent southeastern Turkey, smaller parts of southwestern Iran and Kuwait.
Mesopotamia has been called the "cradle of civilization" and civilizations living in this region were a remarkable people.
They were long lasting civilizations of enormous accomplishment.
For example, early Sumerian writings reveal the civilization was an organized society with kings, laws, literature, schools, and libraries.
|Some scholars have argued that the Egyptians preceded the Mesopotamians with the invention of writing and there are also some ancient lost civilizations that of which we know very little except for some underwater ruins we can barely examine.|
We cannot say with certainty the Sumerians invented writing, but we do know they were a sophisticated society.
Artifacts and relics discovered in this area reveal a complex society and there are still many things we are uncertain of regarding these mysterious people.
In the late 1960s, archaeologists excavated several stone balls in western Iran.Their purpose and meaning remain unknown, but there are some intriguing scientific speculations.
Researchers used CT scans and 3D modelling to look inside the spheres which are also commonly called "envelopes".
Scans reveled the spheres are hollow and contain different geometric shapes or "tokens".
The spheres range in size range from the size of a golf ball to that of a baseball.
According to Christopher Woods, Professor at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, the spheres represent the world's "very first data storage system".
"These envelopes likely represent the earliest known - at least to our current knowledge - efforts to humans to permanently record data.
They may also be the earliest evidence of numerical literacy," Professor Woods says.
Sadly, there are only 150 complete spheres that have survived and museums are reluctant to open the tokens as it would mean damaging them permanently.
Inside some of the spheres there are tiny channels, 1-2 mm across, criss-crossing them.
In some way, the spheres resemble a certain type of prehistoric artifacts of unknown origin that were found mainly in Scotland and a few of them in England and Ireland. Is there a possible connection between these artifacts?
It remains unknown what the ancient people in Mesopotania used the spheres for, but scientists believe such devices served as receipts for various administrative duties such as monitoring the flow of materials, various commodities and labor.
"The tokens represent numbers of specific metrological (measuring) systems - not words - and the envelopes themselves are receipts for the disbursements of various commodities and goods," said Professor Woods.
Researchers who examined the spheres discovered tokens within the balls come in 14 different shapes, including spheres, pyramids, ovoids, lenses and cones. Each type represents a different value. For example a pyramid might mean a certain unit, such as 20, which was used while counting a certain type of commodity.
All of the clay speheres contain, on the outside, one seal running through the middle and usually two seals, running above and below.
Professor Woods believes the seal in the middle represents the 'buyer' or recipient.
The polar seals would represent the 'seller' and perhaps third parties who would have acted as witnesses.
In order to solve this ancient mystery, researchers must crack the ancient code and uncover what purpose these clay spheres served.
The code holds clues to how token types vary and what they stand for.
"We need to study, and hopefully CT scan, the sealed envelopes in other collections," said Professor Woods.
"There are approximately 150 known world-wide."
If Professor Woods is right in his assumptions, it would mean that ancient civilizations invented the data storage system before our modern civilization.
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