Southwest Paleohispanic script

The Southwest Script or Southwestern Script, also known as Tartessian or South Lusitanian, is a Paleohispanic script used to write an unknown language usually identified as Tartessian. Southwest inscriptions have been found mainly in the southwestern quadrant of the Iberian Peninsula, in the south of Portugal (Algarve and southern Alentejo), but also in Spain, in southern Extremadura and western Andalucia.


This script is almost exclusively used in near a hundred large stones (steles), probably with funerary purpose. Almost always the direction of the writing is right to left, but also boustrophedon or spiral. The fact that almost all the southwestern inscriptions had been found out of archaeological context does not permit fixing a precise chronology, but it seems clear that it was used in the 5th century BC; however it is usual to date them from the 7th century BC and consider that the southwestern script is the most ancient paleohispanic script. A total of 75 southwest script stelae are known. Of these, 16 can be seen in the Southwest Script Museum[1] (Museu da Escrita do Sudoeste, in Portuguese), in Almodôvar (Portugal), where a recently discovered stele with a total of 86 characters (the longest inscription found so far) will also be on display.

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