translators’ note

translation is like walking on a common ground, bridging two extremities, filling an empty space between two sensiblities, two cultures, or two different ways of experiencing the world. a translation is a negotiation, an interpretation and ultimately a re-interpretation.

in the case of the work that follows, the ground we are walking on is not really a common one but, rather, one that is unfamiliar and mysterious. the texts appearing in the pages below have in fact been translated from a language which belongs not just to a different culture but to another species.

since the nineteenth century, ethology has made surprising discoveries related to animal behavior. with the work included herein we are achieving a further, marvelous step: the first translation in history from a form of written communication composed by non-humans.

this work has taken place during several decades and involved the participation of professionals operating in different fields, including marine biology, philology, archeology, literature and art. everything began in 2003 when several stones were discovered in a cove in amoros, a tiny island between the cyclades and the dodecanese islands in southern greece. 

the stones first intrigued the archeologists who found them because of the strange little holes present on their surface which made them think of a pattern or illustration. they decided to transport the stones to the institute of biological science and philology in athens. after a few months of studies, the research team developed a first hypothesis according to which the engraving on the stones were prehistorical representations similar to the ones found in lascaux, with the difference that in this case the images were not painted but carved.

however, the fact that the engravings were abstract undermined this theory. after a year scientists arrived at the conclusion that the signs were not illustrations but rather ideograms, closer to a hieroglyphical alphabet. because the signs were carved on small, lightweight stones, scientists thought that they could serve as exchangeable documents or messages, the equivalent of a letter or its more contemporary form, an email. however, another element continued to intrigue the scientists: the images were engraved with a minutia which would be difficult to attribute to a prehistoric civilization. 

a new and bizarre theory was developed: the engravings on the stones were not the product of the human hand but of another species. despite the absurdity of the argument, the institute of biological science and philology decided to invest in an exploration of this path.

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