Clues on Secrets of Mesopotamian Clay Balls
Interesting clues in deciphering the secrets of the Mesopotamian clay balls has surfaced after research was conducted in late 2013 that dates back 5,500 years ago. The study had utilised CT scanning to view within the clay balls and it was revealed that the balls could represent the very first data storage system in the world. The extent of details which the scientist had gathered from the CT scans as well as 3D modelling seemed to be extraordinary.
Woods had mentioned during his lecture that they could learn more about these artefacts by non-destructive testing instead of physically opening the envelopes. Woods would be publishing the full research results in the future and intends to put the images and 3D models online. The clay balls were located at the Choga Mish archaeological site towards western Iran during late 1960s which has baffled experts after its discovery.
Their dimensions tend to differ from the size of golf ball to baseball and till date, around 150 intact samples have been located in the region. Researchers were of the belief that they had been utilised to record economic transactions wherein this conclusion was based on an analysis of a 3,300 year old clay ball discovered at a site in Mesopotamia. These had 49 pebbles together with a cuneiform text comprising of a contract commanding a shepherd to care for 49 sheep and goats.
High Tech Equipment
But without any additional facts, this assumption seemed to remain as a possible explanation for the use and purpose. Moreover, should the assumption seem to be accurate, it seems unknown how the devices could have worked to record the exchange of commodities during the period of prehistoric times, before the development of writing. Researchers had utilised high-tech equipment together with 3D modelling in order to view the interior of the balls and discovered that they comprised of tokens in various geometric shapes. There is a possibility that the shaped bore numbers which were used in counting various kinds of products that were bartered. In such cases there could be a possibility to crack the code by uncovering how token kinds tend to gather and differ.
The CT scan strangely showed that one ball comprised of token that could have been wrapped in cloth before it had been placed in the ball and then bitumen kind of liquid could have been poured over it, which still seems to be a mystery. It is said that some of the balls had tiny criss-crossing channels that a professor at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, Christopher Woods was of the belief that it could have contained fine threads which got connected together on the outside.
Details from CT Scans/3D Modelling – Extraordinary
The threads could have had labels probably made of wax that revealed the tokens in the clay balls. The section that once had the flourishing civilization of Mesopotamia does not seem to be the only location where the clay or stone balls could have been found. Over 400 carved stone balls had been discovered in Scotland which dates back to the Neolithic period between 3000 and 2000 BC.
Thousands of baseball-sized clay balls were discovered in the ancient Neolithic city of Catalhovuk in Turkey and it could be accidental that these artefacts may have been found in several countries across the globe which belonged to the same period. The latest study could bring us close in comprehending these mysterious relics though there seems to be much to learn from it.
The extent of details which the scientist had gathered from the CT scans as well as 3D modelling seemed to be extraordinary. Woods had mentioned during his lecture that they could learn more about these artefacts by non-destructive testing instead of physically opening the envelopes. Woods would be publishing the full research results in the future and intends to put the images and 3D models online.