Glozel (46.033°N 3.600°E / 46.033; 3.600) is a hamlet in central France, part of the commune of Ferrières-sur-Sichon, Canton of Le Mayet-de-Montagne, Allier, some 17 km from Vichy.
Glozel is probably best known as the place where, from 1924 to 1930, over 3,000 artifacts were discovered, including clay tablets, sculptures and vases, some of which were inscribed with symbols or letters.
Variously dated to Neolithic, Iron Age and Medieval times, the finds initiated a series of claims, counterclaims and heated debates among French archaeologists. Initially, many experts argued in favor of a hoax, but advanced testing from later decades confirmed that many of the Glozel artifacts were most likely of genuine antiquity.
Some 100 ceramic tablets bearing inscriptions are among the artefacts found at Glozel. The inscriptions are, on average, on six or seven lines, mostly on a single side, although some specimens are inscribed on both faces.
The symbols on the tablets are reminiscent of the Phoenician alphabet, but they have not been conclusively deciphered. There were numerous claims of decipherment, including identification of the language of the inscriptions as Basque, Chaldean, Eteocretan, Hebrew, Iberian, Latin, Berber, Ligurian, Phoenician and Turkic.
In 1982, Hans-Rudolf Hitz suggested a Celtic origin for the inscriptions, and dated them to between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD, suggesting a Gaulish dialect. He counts 25 signs, augmented by some 60 variations and ligatures. Hitz hypothesizes that the alphabet was influenced by the Lepontic alphabet of Lugano, itself descended from the Etruscan alphabet, reading some Lepontic proper names like Setu (Lepontic Setu-pokios), Attec (Lepontic Ati, Atecua), Uenit (Lepontic Uenia), Tepu (Lepontic Atepu). Hitz even claims discovery of the toponym Glozel itself, as nemu chlausei "in the sacred place of Glozel" (comparing nemu to Gaulish nemeton