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Rongorongo (wikipedia.org)
80 points by based2 on Feb 9, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments

I love that this language, with no translation and no meaning or sounds for each character, is getting Unicode fields.

Another language, Linear A, from the Minoan civilisation (centred on Crete), is also undeciphered and has Unicode codepoints: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_A

Nitpicking here: Linear A is a language script, we don't know whether rongorongo is a script or just decoration. Also, the character set of Linear A is pretty much the same as the one for Linear B (which most likely adopted them), which is ancient greek.

I am all for that, but the article seems to imply there is still a lack of consensus about the character set. It'd be a shame to commit this to Unicode and have to revise it later.

What would the process for that even look like? We wouldn't want to change the meaning of the code points as it could render scientific documents using them incorrect.

From what I've seen, the Unicode blocks are left with space for suspected additions, though big change groups are usually added as extensions. Any erroneous additions could be marked as deprecated.

Larger image (than Wikipedia) https://imgur.com/a/Li0zdP4

Interesting how much repetition with slight modding there is. I see a lot of birds, bugs, plants, and maybe people (with eyes)? Really fascinating.

>>For example, the Atlas of Languages states, "It was probably used as a memory aid or for decorative purposes, not for recording the Rapanui language of the islanders." If this is the case, then there is little hope of ever deciphering it.

An ornate and fascinating, possible independent invention of writing, represented by a 649x270 130kb jpg image on Wikipedia.

It's actually a sharpened version of the original image, which is 35kb.


Wikipedia only accepts freely-licensed [0] images where there is a possibility of obtaining them. [1] If you manage to get a better photograph, you are welcome to replace the image. If you know of someone who has such an image or could take one, you can request them to license it appropriately.

[0] Think things like Creative Commons or public domain. The license has to allow derivatives and commercial use for anyone, not just Wikipedia.

[1] So exceptions would be for dead people or things that we are very unlikely to get new pictures of. Doesn't apply when you could try getting a license or if there is an existing free image.

I'm always so skeptical that historians and archaeologists and such have any idea what they're talking about or if it's all just a self-reinforcing web of made up stuff founded through the human talent to find patterns where they aren't actually present.

If I wanted to challenge the claims made on that wiki page with a lot of "how did you come to that conclusion?" and drill all the way down, is it possible? Is it all founded on solid ground in referenced materials? Does it ever get challenged deeply by those whose academic careers don't depend on buying in to it all?

Maybe I'm being way too paranoid.

Wikipedia isn't the forum for any of that. Journals, books, and other literature are the place for discussions about ontology and methodology.

My experience with archaeology is that it's more self critical than you probably expect.

Or maybe you aren’t paranoid enough. Can you hold yourself and you industry up to the same impossible standard?

All high level animals respond to reinforcement learning. They learn by correlation, not causation. It’s ridiculously difficult to confirm causation, period. It’s not limited to academics, WikiPedia, etc.

Based on my strictly amateur readings of research in archaeology and historical anthropology, they’re more contentious than I expected. People who jump to unsupported conclusions draw public criticism. There are many papers along the lines of “paper x is wrong for reasons a, b, and c”.

It’s not math, so it’s not a clean procession of verifiable work, but their scientific method seems to be alive and well.

The public image maybe suffers from earlier (~1900) work, which really does read like “here are some evidence-light ideas that strike me, a philosopher gentleman, as quite plausible”.

The site summarises accounts of individual researchers, most of which are based on interviews with individuals that are by now dead (as is the researcher). You can doubt as much as you want but I don't see the benefit in this - especially as the article doesn't present 'truthc but rather the different viewpoints/interpretations.

I’d call that a reverse cargo cult, if so.

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