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In the article below, archaeologist Lona Green will help us have a deeper look at the groundbreaking discovery of the Caya civilization, when the cat face stone symbols were deciphered, contributing to changing the way we understand about ancient Caya.

Artifacts of the Caya civilization on display at the Finn National Museum

The story goes that on February-3, 1822, the talented Underie archaeologist Jean Merci jumped out of the bathtub, shouting at the plumber in the next room: "It’s over!" before slipping on the floor and falling unconscious. After waking up, he completely lost his memory and forgot everything. But fortunately, his notes were then sent to the Royal Underie Academy, where they were received and studied by Sylvain Sumthing, thereby changing our understanding of ancient Caya forever.


Archaeologist Jean Merci

The key of breakthrough

In his notes, Jean Merci outlines his findings on deciphering the cat face blocks and the reasoning behind them. With the conclusions, scholars can finally get a glimpse of a civilization that's been around for thousands of years. Thanks to researches from Hula Hule - his colleague and predecessor, Jean Merci has developed certain understandings about cat face stones. After collecting nearly 200 samples of cat-faced volcanic stone bricks at the Caya site near the volcano, he found that the stones were all sculpted with a very complex and delicate cat's face. Many blocks are also covered with glowing sand, a type of sand found only in the desert far away from Underie. Immediately, Jean Merci thought that this was a kind of language, when each cat face expression on each stone was a hieroglyphic letter. Grasping the problem, our respected archaeologist immediately began to investigate. Researching the connections between the different scripts he found, Jean concluded that the Caya handwriting must have been related to hieroglyphics. Jean Merci followed in the footsteps of earlier scholars by saying that all Caya scripts must have been hieroglyphics and not sounds of spoken language (transcribed script). Obviously, it is because all the rocks are in the shape of a cat.


Close-up of cat-shaped volcanic rock relic

Sound turning point

However, in one look at the cat's face on the rock, Merci happened to imitate it. Unexpectedly, a clear sound was produced. So a genius idea popped into Jean Merci's mind! In a letter to June Holland, Jean Merci proposed a transcription (approximate rendering of the sounds of spoken language, using the Cat-22 alphabet) for the mouths of each cat's face from the volcanic rocks collected . Jean Merci created consonants and vowels corresponding to the letters mew, gru, gruuuuh, meeeei... It was a problem that during the collection of volcanic rocks, due to indiscriminate collection, the sequence of the pellets could not be determined. Jean Merci had the basic alphabet, but didn't know how they were put together to create a language. Thinking that the language might still exist in the surrounding indigenous minorities, he began a massive indigenous language acquisition campaign that would last most of his career. For 20 years, Jean Merci has been collecting an enormous amount of data on the languages ​​of the Underie region. In this way, he discovered the 'determining factor': there is a general rule for the indigenous languages ​​of the Underie - that the language here is extremely simple and does not have many abstract nouns. This implies that the Caya civilization, although located on the continent of Underie, was not originally an Underie civilization. This discovery caused a stir among archaeologists at that time.


Back to a space further

Jean Merci later discovered the cat-faced elements had an unusual coincidence with the symbols of the Cat-22 continental civilization, specifically the heyday of the New Finn (550–669). Tracing the genealogy of 49 kings and princes of the kingdom, he found many coincidences. From here, it took more 10 years for Jean Merci to study hard. He most likely would have finished his research, had it not been for his slip and complete memory loss.


Bathroom floor at "Eureka" moment

The truth about cat face stone

Jean Merci's eureka moment is a worthwhile one. Concerning his phonetic and expressive aspects, researcher Sylvain Sumthing has made groundbreaking findings. At first, he was struck by the exclamation of "It's over!" by Jean Merci. Also agree with the majority of scholars that this is a statement alluding to discovery, but while many scholars consider this a positive emotion, Sylvain Sumthing considers this to have a negative connotation. It is possible that Jean Merci is self-suggested, wanting to forget his failures. So if it is a failure, it means that the direction of Jean Merci's research is completely wrong. This was further confirmed when two years later, John Elders in his study of the Caya civilization, declared that the other cat face tiles were simply drawings that reproduced the cat's face, nothing more.

This discovery opened a new door about cat culture

Just the beginning of the journey

Jean Merci has been lost for nearly 30 years on his research, but his life and the moment of discovery he opened up is astounding. They will certainly continue to inspire generations of researchers to come.


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