The Message of the Newberry Tablet – Part 2

© 2015 B. L. Freeborn, updated September 2022

Smithsonian Photo of Newberry Tablet, compliments of Roger Jewell

Smithsonian Photo of Newberry Tablet, compliments of Roger Jewell

To see the first post on the tablet – To see the previous post on the tablet.

In the last posts we looked at the overall layout of the Newberry Tablet and a few symbols.

In this post four symbols are studied. We begin with the hook or staff symbol because it involves the least argument as to its meaning. Whether or not a particular sound is associated with it cannot be determined. It is found in the Luwian Glyph list at #378. It appears 7 times on the tablet. Notice the double staves in the third row just above the two blank spaces which imply its importance. They are in positions: 3,4 and 3, 5.  Count within this line from both directions and find a stave at 4,7 and the second at 5,6. Recall 4 x 7 is 28 or half 56. The other totally suggests 56.

The other staves are located at: 1,8; 6,2; 9,1; 9,10; and 11,4.

One of the next two symbols of interest is found at 1, 9 and it is an X with an extra down stroke and the other is at 1,2 which is an X with an extra upstroke and side stroke. These symbols are not found in the glyph list. Barry Fell thought they were Cypriot Letters for vowels i, a, and e but it takes little effort to confirm that few other letters are found in that script. If it is compared to prior Adena Tablets studied such as the Waverly and Cincinnati the idea of a dead man is suggested then by the first symbol. This leads to the idea the second is also a man. Perhaps he is doing something that was common then such as shooting an arrow. So for our purposes here, the first represents death and the second shooting, shot, arrow or battle. This death symbol is used three times at: 1,9; 4,9; 9,6. The battle symbol is used seven times at: 1,2; 4,5; 6,6; 9,5; 10,7; 13,3; 13,8. Indeed, they follow each other in line 9 as if to say ‘shot dead.’

The next symbol studied (at 2, 4) is distinct and impossible to find anywhere repeated except in the Luwian Glyph list at #313. Although not a perfect match every element of the symbol is represented in the glyph. It is said to mean the verb ‘does’ with sound ‘pi.’ It is used four times in the tablet at positions: 2,4; 5,2; 7,6; and 13,9.

The last symbol is at 1,4 and looks like the head of a shovel or a D with a side bar. It also appears in the glyph list at #66 and is said to mean men or hero with sound ‘zi.’ It appears five times at: 1,4; 3,6; 5,9; 7,7; and 11,6.

In Luwian Hieroglyphs the glyphs can take on the sound or the meaning of the object as in a rebus. Theses glyphs are also called Hittite and were used heavily between the 14th to 13th centuries BC and fell into disuse by 7th century BC. Decipherment of the glyphs did not begin until the early 1900’s with most work being done since 1930 and the language associated with them was confirmed in 1973 to be Luwian not Hittite. The Newberry Tablet was discovered in 1896 with three figurines that weighed close to 1000 lbs. See Betty Sodders “Michigan Prehistory Mysteries.”

More symbols to follow!

Identification of Newberry Tablet symbols.

Identification of Newberry Tablet symbols.

On to the next post on the tablet.

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