World watch

July 9, 1999

The third oldest known Etruscan text, dating from the late 3rd or 4th century BC, has been identified by archaeologist Francesco Nicosia and Luciano Agostiniani, professor of historical linguistics at the University of Perugia. The 40 lines in Etruscan are engraved on a bronze tabula and are believed to be a commercial contract. The pieces were handed in to the authorities in 1992 by a Tuscan carpenter who was acquitted of theft but has never revealed their provenance.

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