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Transliteration: ?]niχesitaeluku[(?)θ̣e
Original script: E sΘ s(?)]U sK sU sL sE sA sT sI sS sE sΧ sI sN s[

Object: WE-4 potsherd (pottery)
Position: shoulder
Script: North Italic script (Magrè alphabet)
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Letter height: 1.5 cm
Number of letters: 16
Number of lines: 1
Craftsmanship: impressed
Current condition: fragmentary, damaged
Date of inscription: 5th–4th centuries BC [from object]
Date derived from: typology, archaeological context [from object]

Language: Raetic
Meaning: 'this (was) X-ed by/for ]niχe'

Alternative sigla: MLR 16
TM 653648



First published in Tecchiati et al. 2011: 40–53.

Images in Tecchiati et al. 2011: Fig. 33 and 34 (photos) and Tav. 9 (drawings).

Length of the remains about 15 cm; impressed tidily into the wet clay along the shoulder of the vessel between the edges separating this section from neck and bottom. The original length of the inscription cannot be determined; none of the preserved fragments is a part of the shoulder without inscription. The lines are about 1.5 mm in breadth; the order in which they were impressed can be clearly seen – it is generally what may be expected, though in some letters the hasta was added after the bars (Χ s, first E s), possibly an attempt at extra neatness.

A half-circle in the upper area remains of the letter before N s, which might be R2 s (as suggested by Morandi), but equally well Φ4 s. More likely than either, however, is Φ3 s, the curve being decidedly offset to the top, or even a rounded Venetoid Pi P5 s, fitting in with the Magrè alphabet used.

After eluku, the fragment is broken at the top, but for another 2.5 cm, the remains of letters can still be seen. A space of about 5 mm separates the last letter from a crack going towards the bottom right; then the tip of a line pointing bottom left. This is followed by the lower part of what can only be E s (bottom of hasta plus lowest bar, looking exactly like the other two instances in the inscription). As the abovementioned line cannot indicate S d (S s in this inscription), it is most plausible to assume that the crack obscures another line, and that the letter was Θ s (the distance between line and crack is exactly the same as that between the two lines of preceding U s). Alpha, as read by Morandi, is impossible. The small, but undisputable space before the crack may either be exactly that, or have held a small separator in the middle of the line, which would be just broken off. In either case, since there is no word separation in the preserved part of the inscription, it could indicate that θ̣e[ is the beginning of the inscription, and eluku its end (cp. SZ-30), although this option presupposes considerable foresight, layout-wise, on the part of the writer.

Apart from the well documented verbal form eluku, the content of the inscription can be compared to that of BZ-4, which commences with the sequence tevaśniχesiutiku. While the segmentation of tevaśniχesi / ]?niχesi remains unclear, this is no doubt another case of the combination of the pertinentive ending -si with a deverbal form in -u. In WE-4, this leaves the short isolated sequence ta, possibly a demonstrative pronoun.