December 13, 2012

Iruña-Veleia congress: papers and synthesis

The linguistic-cultural association Euskararen Jatorria (The Origin of the Basque Language) has published the reports presented for the International Congress on Iruña-Veleia that took place in late November in Vitoria-Gasteiz. 

All papers have trilingual (Basque, English, Spanish) introductory sections and then each one is in the language chosen by the author. They can all be found HERE.

Among them there is a "conclusions" synthesis (PDF) whose headlines I synthesize here:
  • The dig [by Gil, Filloy et al.] was performed correctly
  • Chain of evidence has been broken - as the judge has not controlled it
  • Iconography and most graffiti are coherent
  • Controlled local digs were not performed to contrast with the findings
  • The archaeometrical datings now being performed in Madrid should have been the first thing to do
  • Graffiti on bone are easy to date [but was not done either]
  • It is only logical that Iberian signs are found among the rest
  • So far 19 reports have declared the graffiti genuine
  • The Advisory Commission did not do anything of what they should have done

Paraphrasing the late linguist Gorka Knörr, the paper concludes that 

If Iruña-Veleia would be a house, datings would be the foundations, controlled digs the first floor, auditions the first floor, history the second, philology the third... Therefore when the Advisory Commission "began building the house by the ceiling" and that is why we are now just as the beginning, because the datings required by Eliseo Gil were never performed.


Background:

As you may already know, Iruña-Veleia is a Vasco-Roman city of Antiquity not far from Vitoria-Gasteiz. In 2006 a large number of inscribed graffiti on pottery shards (ostrakas) was found, most of them in ancient Basque and Vulgar Latin. 

The finding had the potential of rewriting linguistic and historical understanding of Basque language and also Romances, what apparently scared to death some popes of linguistics led by Gorrochategui and Lakarra, who, by means of smearing, abuse of power and cronyism, managed to get the archaeologists in charge (Gil, Filloy and their company Lurmen) out and put instead the only archaeologist who was ready to play their game Luis Núñez, whose management of the site has consisted essentially into digging wildly with a caterpillar until popular clamor stopped his misgivings (since then he seems to do nothing at, what is surely good considering what he did when he dared to).

Gil and Filloy have been charged with "falsification" and in this trial is where the hopes of truth being revealed stand now. After many years, a sample of the ostrakas have been sent to researchers in Madrid to perform archeometry tests.


See also: category Iruña-Veleia for further details.

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