Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine.

Available for grades 1-6, Scholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week.

Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more.

Letter with numbers in Spanish and an unknown language This 17th-century letter shows translations for numbers from Spanish to a lost language. (Jeffrey Quilter / Peabody Museum)

Lost Language Found

Archaeologists discover a forgotten language in Peru

By Zach Jones | September 30 , 2010
<br />The letter was found in church ruins near Trujillo, Peru. (Jim McMahon)

The letter was found in church ruins near Trujillo, Peru. (Jim McMahon)

Last week, archaeologists announced the discovery of a language so old that people have forgotten its name.

When a team of archaeologists unearthed a letter buried under the ruins of a church near Trujillo, Peru, they knew they had found something special. But the team kept their discovery a secret until they understood what they had found.

"We discovered a language no one has seen or heard since the 16th or 17th century," says archaeologist Jeffrey Quilter.

One side is a letter written in Spanish. But written on the back of the letter are numbers translated from Spanish into an unknown language lost for hundreds of years.

Quilter and his team think the numbers are related to Quechua, a language still spoken by millions of people in South America. It could even be a language spoken by ancient Peruvian fishermen, nicknamed pescadora by historians. Researchers have been searching for a document written in this language for many years.

But the numbers could be from many ancient languages. Hundreds of languages were spoken in North America and South America before settlers from Europe came into contact with native people, and most of those languages have been lost. "I think a lot of people don't realize how many languages were spoken in precontact times," Quilter says.

Today, almost 7,000 languages are spoken across the world. But more than half are thought to be in danger of dying out. Researchers all over the world are trying to preserve (save) many of these endangered languages by writing them down and recording what they sound like.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    The New Americans

    The New Americans

    by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro

    Introducing America’s history to young readers in an appealing picture-book format, clear and simple text combines with informative, accurate illustrations to bring young people an overview of the story of our country and our continent. Containing an objective and balanced account of a period in America’s history, including both the glories and the tragedies of our past, this book encourages young readers to see history as a continuum. Making these crucial connections enables children to develop a framework for understanding both America’s past and its present.

    $3.71 You save: 25%
    Paperback Book | Grades 3-5
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    The New Americans
    Grades 3-5 $3.71
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Un sillón para mi Mamá - Big Book & Teaching Guide

    Un sillón para mi Mamá - Big Book & Teaching Guide

    by Vera B. Williams

    The vivid and delightfully illustrated story of a family's dream to save enough money to buy a new chair after a fire destroys their home.

    Big Books feature exceptional illustrations or photographs supporting the text. Includes an activity-packed Teacher’s Guide to aid in exploring learning opportunities.

    Set Includes:
    • Un sillón para mi Mamá (Big Book)
    • Un sillón para mi Mamá (Teaching Guide)

    $27.95 You save: 25%
    Big Book Collection | Grades 1-3
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Un sillón para mi Mamá - Big Book & Teaching Guide
    Grades 1-3 $27.95
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from