neolithic symbols and scripts

There is no such thing as an accepted Indus Valley script dictionary. Such a dictionary is probably decades away. Nonetheless, below are summarized some of Parpola1 and Mahadevan's2 speculations on some of the most common ancient Indus signs.

fishmeen1. fish

2. star
The word meen designates both fish and star in most Dravidian languages. Suggests the heavenly bodies were conceived of as fish swimming in the ocean of heaven, representing gods.
space + fish
vel (i) + meenwhite starVel-meen and Velli both mean Venus in Tamil.
3 + fishmum (m) + meenthree starsThe new year asterism Pleiades has this name in Tamil; in myth the wives of the Seven Sages.
6 + fish(*c) aru + meensix starsIn The New Year asterism Pleiades has this name in Tamil. In myths the wives of the Seven Sages and mothers or wet nurses of the god of war (the vernal sun).
fishelu + meenseven starsIn Tamil, the name of Ursa Major, the 'Seven Sages' in India.
dot/drop + fishpottu + meen1. carp fish (=rohita'red' in Sanskrit)
2. star or red dot/blood drop (=rohini'red' in Sanskrit)
The red dot painted on the forehead at marriage = the 'third' eye of the Heavenly Bull < alpha Tauri = the ancient star of the new year (marriage of Sun + the heavenly bride rohini,'menstruating'), represented by the red fish (scales as tilaka mark).
halving + fishpacu + meengreen starin Tamil, paccai refers to greeness and the planet Mercury, which represents the green-hued child god Krishna.
roof + fishmey/may + meenblack starSaturn's name in Tamil. Saturn rides a turtle, a 'fish' with a 'roof'.
fig tree + fishvata + meenNorth StarVata-min is the star 'Alcor,' orig. probably Thuban. 'Banyan fig' is the tree of 'ropes' (vata): starts do not fall because they are fixed to the North Star (in Dravidian also 'fig/rope star) by means of visible ropes.
fig tree + intermediate spacevata + vel(i)North StarIn Tamil, velli means both (1) 'the planet Venus) and (2) 'star (=meen)
4 + fig treenal + vatahanging ropeBanyan as '(the tree) possessed of hanging ropes': nal/nal/al 'to hang down' seems to be th etymology for al (a-maram) ' banyan tree'. Indus tablets with '4 + fig' have a solitary fig leaf on the reverse.
manal/anman, servantThe sign occurs in prestly titles paralleling Mesopotamian titles 'Man/Servant (ofthe god X)'; the most common Dravidian word for man also means servant.
ring(s)/ bangle(s)murukuboy, youth, Muruku (the youthful god of love and war)The sign signifies 'royal ear-rings' in [Tibetan] Lamaism. The sign recurs, sometimes alone, on Indus stone bangles; Indus tree-gods wear bangles; in later folk religion, bangles are offered to sacred trees with prayers for off spring (cf. muruku ' boy').
(head of) cowa (+-tu)possessive suffixThe interpretation of this important sign remains open; this is just a suggestion that needs testing.

JarPriestThe most frequent and almost always terminal sign of the Indus script is read as a jar and connected to the legend of 'jar-born' sages and the symbolism of the jar connected to priestly ritual in Indian tradition.
LanceWarriorAlso a terminal sign, pr suffix associated with names or titles on seals like the 'jar' sign above.
ManServant, attendant or lower functionarySimple pictogram, frequently shown with ' jar' (lower order of priestly functionary?) but never with ' lance' sign.
BearerOfficer or functionaryAlso appears to be a suffixed element, interpreted as officer because of later Indian traditions referring to senior officers of the king referred to as 'yoke bearers.'
Jar + BearerOfficer or functionary with priestly dutiesClearly combination of two signs, could be related to later Indian traditions combining the two motifs.
Lance + BearerOfficer or functionary with military dutiesAlso combination, perhaps designating officer with military duties.
HarrowFarmer, tiller, tenantAlso characteristically a terminal sign, sometimes in conjunction with ' jar,' ' lance,' or ' bearer' signs, suggesting combination of categories or serving under them.

Phoenician alphabet.svg



CRETAN  Minoan Linear A