Archive for June, 2017

POST 1600: On Minoan Linear A tablet HT 95, emmer and einkorn wheat, other grains and flax:

Minoan Linear A tablet

I have just uploaded an article on Minoan Linear A tablet HT 95, emmer and einkorn wheat, other grains and flax, which you can find here (Click on the banner):

I encourage you to download it and read it, as it is only 4 pages long.


HT 95 (Haghia Triada), dealing emmer and einkorn wheat, is one of the most significant of all Linear A tablets:

HT 95 dadumata dame minute saru kunisu dideru

Linear A tablet, HT 95 (Haghia Triada), which deals with various grain crops, i.e. emmer and einkorn wheat, millet and spelt, and with flax, is unquestionably the most important Linear A tablets, with the possible exception of HT 86, dealing with the same roster of grains, inscribed exclusively in Old Minoan. When I posted HT 86 (Haghia Triada) the first time round, I established that kunisu meant “emmer wheat” and dideru “einkorn wheat”, but I was not quite sure I had them in the right order. Thanks to Cyrus G. Gordon, who makes the following statement:

... Linear A ku-ni-su must mean some kind of wheat because it is followed by  the WHEAT determinative. Now kunnisu is a Semitic word for “emmer wheat”  so that Linear A ku-ni-su WHEAT “emmer wheat” not only adds a word to our Minoan vocabulary but it also establishes Ventris’s (sic) readings of the ku, ni and su signs. (italics mine)

we now know beyond doubt that kunisu does mean emmer wheat, just as I had suspected. Consequently, since these two types of wheat appear conjointly here and very close together on HT 86, we are left to draw the conclusion that dideru means einkorn wheat. Now dideru appears 4 times on HT 86 & 95, while kunisu appears once on HT 10 & HT 79, and 4 times on HT 86 & 95, for a total of 6 times. So it pretty much goes without saying that these two grains play a significant role in the Minoan diet. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets, since these two grains were the predominant ones in all societies in these regions. This will become blatantly obvious when I publish the Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon of 1031 New Minoan, pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan words sometime in July, from which I cite all the references dealing with grain crops in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets in REFERENCES below (Note that I have italicized explicit references to major grains in each title dealing with the same). 

As for dame and qera2u (qeraiu), proper identification is a bit problematic, because we do not know which is which. This is why I have tagged dame with the reference [1], signifying it could mean either spelt or millet, and qera2u (qeraiu) with [3], meaning either millet or spelt (the reverse). But the problem is that we are confronted with 2 permutations here. By this we mean that dame could mean either spelt or millet or vice versa, and qera2u (qeraiu) millet or spelt or millet or vice versa. Either way, dame means one of the two, while qera2u (qeraiu) the other. But how do we know this? It just so happens that, after emmer and einkorn wheat, the next most common grains in the Bronze Age Mediterranean and Middle East were millet and spelt. So chances are good that dame and qera2 (qeraiu) each references one or the other. 

The reference note [2] with flax indicates two things, (a) first that flax is in an oblique case, probably instrumental, i.e. with flax, since the nominative is sara2 (sarai) & (b) the standard unit of measurement is probably not something a bushel, because flax is extremely light. What it is we shall never know, since after all we have no real concept of what any standard unit of measurement, dry or liquid, was either in Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B. These civilizations are so remote in the distant past that any attempt at determining standard units of measurement amounts to nothing more or less than a wild guess.

Nevertheless, we find that we are able to decipher HT 95 with a reasonable degree of accuracy, and in the case of kunisu and dideru, with complete accuracy. So we can now say with confidence that these two grains have been conclusively deciphered once and for all time, thanks to Cyrus H. Gordon.

© by Richard Vallance Janke 2017


1 Adu, Michael. Stay green in wheat: Comparative study of modern bread wheat and ancient wheat cultivars
2 Beneš,  Jaromír. Kernel Weights of Triticum, Hordeum, Avena, Secale and Panicum Species can be used for Better Estimation of Importance of Different Cereal Species in Archaeobotanical Assemblages
3 Desheva, Gergana. Comparative Evaluation of Einkorn Accessions (Triticum monococcum L.) of Some Main Agricultural Characters
4 Gordon, Cyrus H. Linguistic continuity from Minoan to Eteocretan
6 Mueller-Bieniek, Aldona. Plant macrofossils from the site of Tell Arbid, Northeast Syria (3rd–2nd millennium BC). Preliminary report
7 Poupet, Pierre. Approche pédoarchéologique des espaces de production agricole à l’âge du Bronze dans les montagnes méditerranéennes (exemples des Pyrénées-Orientales et de la Haute-Corse, France)
8 Salamini, F. AFLP Analysis of a Collection of Tetraploid Wheats Indicates the Origin of Emmer and Hard Wheat Domestication in Southeast Turkey
9 Ibid. Genetics and geography of wild cereal domestication in the near east
10 Ibid. Molecular Diversity at 18 Loci in 321 Wild and 92 Domesticate Lines Reveal No Reduction of Nucleotide Diversity during Triticum monococcum (Einkorn) Domestication: Implications for the Origin of Agriculture
11 Shaaf, S. Evolutionary History of Wild Barley (Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum) Analyzed Using Multilocus Sequence Data and Paleodistribution Modeling
12 Stein, Gil. Isotope evidence for agricultural extensification reveals how the world's first cities were fed
13 Ulanowksa, Agata. Different skills for different fibres? The use of flax and wool in textile technology of Bronze Age Greece in light of archaeological experiments. Workshop: The Competition of fibres, March 8-10, Excellence Cluster TOPOI (A-4), Textile Revolution
14 Yakar, Yak. The Nature and Extent of Neolithic Anatolia’s Contribution to the Emergence of Farming Communities in the Balkans - an Overview
15 You, Frank. The structure of wild and domesticated emmer wheat populations, gene flow between them, and the site of emmer domestication
16 Zapata, Lydia. Hulled wheats in Spain: history of minor cereals
17 Ibid. Measuring grain size and assessing plant management during the EPPNB, results from Tell Qarassa (southern Syria)
18 Ibid. The spread of agriculture in northern Iberia: New archaeobotanical data from El Mirón cave (Cantabria) and the open-air site of Los Cascajos (Navarra)

How beautiful the Prince of Lilies and his consort on the Knossos fresco must have looked!

On the fresco:

prince of lilies

In life, ready for marriage to the equally beautiful Princess of Knossos:

Gloeden,_Wilhelm_von_(1856-1931)_-_n._1744_-_Hypnos modified

As she might have appeared on one of the Knossos frescoes:


And in life:

praying modified


Linear B tablet HT 118 (Haghia Triada), livestock on plots of land:

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 118 Haghia Triada

While this tablet does present some problems in the decipherment of the kinds of livestock on it, that does not mean we do not have a relatively reasonable picture of which ones they are. Beside madi, which appears to mean “pig” from the context, the other 3 are qaqaru, arisa and riruma. Now these 3 probably mean “cow”, “bull” and “ox” in turn. But if they must be permuted. In other words, if the first word, qaqaru, means “cow”, then the other two mean “bull” and “ox”, but in which order we cannot tell. Thus, it is necessary to permute all 3 words for all 3 kinds of livestock at each occurrence. The supersyllabogram KI almost certainly refers to “a plot of land”, because it is repeated twice, and after all, we do find livestock on plots of land.

I have now deciphered, in whole or in part, 17 tablets from Haghia Triada alone, and somewhere in the order of 35 altogether, regardless of provenance.

Minoan mythology: Britomartis

Something, and someone I never heard of before.

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New interpretation of Linear A tablet PE 1 (Petras), grain crops:

In light of recent crucial discoveries I have made with respect to the cultivation of grain crops in the Bronze Age, particularly in Crete, I have revised my original decipherment of this tablet to read as follows:

Linear A tablet Petras PE 1 grains

Although it is uncertain whether or not the supersyllabogram PA refers to pa3qe (paiqe) or even if that word refers to the specific crops, millet or spelt, at least we do know the tablet is referencing grains throughout, because the ideogram for them appears twice, with the same supersyllabogram both times. It would appear that the 72 men are the sowers or harvesters. If that is the case, then ukare or asesina might mean sowing or harvesting”, more likely the latter than the former. The addition of these two new words raises the total number of entries in the Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon from 1029 to 1031, now 257 more than the 774 in the Linear A Reverse Lexicon by Prof. John G. Younger, such that our lexicon is 25 % larger than his.


I don’t think I have ever seen anything as pitiable as this sketch by a girl of a tiger crying in a zoo:

crying tiger

She says she hated going to the zoo after she saw the poor tiger pacing back and forth in its cage. And I am sure she saw tears in its eyes. It is just disgusting and utterly shocking how we as so-called adults are doing everything in our power (and we have far too much of that) to destroy every other living soul on our planet. The feed accompanying this astonishing sketch warns us that Sometimes children are wiser than adults. Not only wiser, but clearly far more in tune with our planet.

The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

(William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up)

As for myself I cannot stand zoos, and I believe they should all be banned forever. Here are a few sickening examples why:

composite vile cruelty to animals in zoos

Just who do we think we are? The most intelligent species on planet earth? What a laugh!


Wild life parks with plenty of space for animals to roam in are another story altogether. At least the animals have plenty of room to roam around in. Thank God for small blessings.

Examples are:

Le Parc Oméga, Montebello, Québec, Canada (CLICK photo for lots of lovely pics!):

parc omega montebello quebec


San Diego Zoo Safari Park

san diego safari park

From time to time, I shall be posting more environmentally sensitive topics here on LBK&M, in spite of the fact that they have nothing to do with Linear A, B or C.


Preview of the most Complete Linear A Lexicon of 1029 words ever compiled in history soon to be published on just uploaded:

preview of comprehensive Linear A Lexicon

This Preview of the most Complete Linear A Lexicon of 1029 words ever compiled in history soon to be published on is in and of itself a lengthy article (14 pages long), offering full insight into the massive extent and impact of the actual lexicon, Comprehensive Lexicon of 1029 New Minoan, pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan words, with extensive commentaries, soon to be published on my account (sometime in July 2017). The actual Lexicon will be at least 45 pages long, and will include all of the following elements:

1. An in-depth introduction, comparing this Lexicon, with its 1029 Linear A terms with the Linear A Reverse Lexicon of Prof. John G. Younger, containing 774 intact Linear A words. To date, Prof. Younger’ Lexicon has always been considered the de facto standard of Linear A lexicons; but it falls far short of the mark. From scanning through every last Linear A tablet on Prof. Younger’s site, Linear A texts in phonetic transcription, I discovered scores of Linear A words which he missed in his Reverse Lexicon. I have also spent the last two years ransacking the Internet for every last scrap of evidence of extant Linear A tablets, fragments, roundels, pendants and inscriptions on pottery, only to unearth even more Linear words entirely overlooked by Prof. Younger, to the extent that I uncovered a total of 1029 Linear A exograms, 225 more than he did. Thus, our Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon is 27.7 % larger than his.
2. The Lexicon itself, containing 1029 words, of which over 160 are Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, some 85 are either toponyms or eponyms, a few score fall within the pre-Greek substratum and at least 80 are Old Minoan words I have been able to decipher, more or less conclusively. As for the remainder of the Old Minoan substratum, i.e. the original pre-Greek Minoan language, I have been unable to decipher the rest of its vocabulary. But believe it or not, this factor is less of an impediment to the decipherment of Linear A than we might otherwise believe. I have been able to decipher at least 350 words out of a total of 1029, which is to say about 33 % of Linear A.
3. Each section of the final Comprehensive Lexicon, i.e. A: Mycenaean-derived New Minoan NM1 B: the pre-Greek substratum C: eponyms and toponyms D: Old Minoan vocabulary and E: ligatured logograms is accompanied by a detailed analysis and survey of its contents.
4. The final Lexicon contains a comprehensive bibliography of 84 items on every aspect I have detailed of the decipherment of Linear A as outlined in this preview.  



Linear A tablet ZA 15 VERSO (Zakros), so little text, so information rich, all about wine, with yet another Old Minoan word conclusively deciphered!

Linear A tablet ZA 15 b VERSO Zakros

If there is any Linear A tablet which conveys so much information in so few words, this has to be it. No one could be blamed for thinking that a tablet, whether or not it is inscribed in Linear A or Linear B, which contains only 2 words (qedi & kuro), 3 ideograms (wine) and one supersyllabogram would have little to say. But this is far from the case here. This tablet offers us the best of 3 worlds. First of all, the word kuro is Mycenaean-derived New Minoan; secondly, we are finally able to establish once and for all and beyond doubt that the Old Minoan word qedi actually means a flagon for wine. Since it appears on other Linear A tablets in conjunction with the same ideogram, wine, the meaning is indisputable; and thirdly, the supersyllabogram RA, as all supersyllabograms are, is information-rich. It can stand for only 1 of two possible Linear A words, rani or ratise, which are, believe it or not, practically synonymous. First we have rani, which means anything sprinkled (as in a libation); rain drop, and then ratise, which appears to be instrumental plural for with drops of wine. So the inscription reads the same way either way. I would like to point out as well that no linguist specializing in Linear A, not even Prof. John G. Younger, has drawn explicit attention to the supersyllabogram RA, which is critical to a proper reading of this tablet, since no Linear A, let alone Linear B, researchers have recognized supersyllabograms for what they are, until I myself deciphered all 36 of them in Linear B between 2014 and 2016, the results of my research consequently published in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 11 (2015) ISSN 1452-7448, pp. 73-108:

decipherment of supersyllabograms in Linear B

And not to be outdone, I have also already isolated the 27 supersyllabograms found in Linear A. It actually came as no surprise to me that Linear A has supersyllabograms.

Table 5 Table of 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A revised 2017

As it so turns out, it was the Minoan Linear A scribes who invented supersyllabograms, not the Minoan-Mycenaean Linear B scribes. You will note that I have already been able to decipher 10 of the 27 SSYLS in Linear A, including that for RA, which in the pottery and vessels sector signifies with drops of wine for a libation”. The enormous and far-reaching implications of supersyllabograms in both Linear A and Linear B cannot be stressed enough.


Linear A tablet ZA 4 RECTO (Zakros) is quite a mess, since so much of the text is damaged:

Linear A tablet ZA 4a RECTO Zakros

As you can see for yourself, Linear A tablet ZA 4 RECTO (Zakros) is quite a mess, since so much of the text is damaged. I have attempted to restore some of the badly scratched syllabograms. These include tu and e on line 1, pi and se on line 2 & se on line 4 (which can also be read alternatively as the ideogram for olives/olive oil”). Many of my interpretations of syllabograms are at odds with those of Prof. John G. Younger, but this is nothing unusual, especially in instances where tablets are as badly damaged as is this one.

With the exception of situ, which obviously means wheat, I have made no effort to decipher this tablet, as it would be a fruitless endeavour given its poor state of preservation, and the uncertainty of the values of several syllabograms resulting from it.

Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae now has its own private domain name:

Minoan Linear A Linear B Knossos & Mycenae domain name

It is no longer evident from the domain name that this is a WordPress site. I have also cleaned up the Header to eliminate the annoying RSS Feed. Now you select any month/year the Monthly Archives right from the TOP of page.


Early Minoan hieroglyphic roundels and seals may lend some insight into the later development of the Linear A syllabary:

Minoan hieroglyphic writing


As illustrated above, early Minoan hieroglyphic roundels and seals may lend some insight into the later development of the Linear A syllabary. Notice that the the hieroglyphic for an axe or labrys looks remarkably like the Linear A and Linear B syllabogram for A, while the Y shaped hieroglyphic, whatever it is supposed to represent (and no one knows what), is similar to the Linear A syllabogram for SA. So it is conceivable, however remotely, that this hieroglyphic seal may actually read asa or saa, whichever way you read it (not that we have any idea what that is supposed to mean).Then we have the hieroglyphic marked with an asterisk (*). This looks very much like a vase, amphora or flask to hold wine, water or possibly even olive oil. There is another one which looks like a fish. That should not be too surprising, given that the ideogram for fish does appear on at least one extant Linear A fragment from Phaistos, as we have witnessed in a recent previous post. Finally, on the bottom line, the seal marked (f) bears a hieroglyphic which looks like a bat, and this in turn may very well be the antecedent to the Linear A syllabogram MA. But this hieroglyphic is not that of a bat, but rather of a cat, which we can see from the beautiful seal on the top left of the illustration. This is substantiated by the some of the variations in the scribal hands for Linear A MA, which indeed look like the visage of a cat, as we see here:

Linear A scribal hands for MA = cat

So I guess it is a cat.

Linear A fragment PH 8 (Phaistos), largely indecipherable for scanty text:

Linear A fragment Phaistos PH 8

My interpretation of Linear A fragment PH 8 (Phaistos), largely indecipherable for scanty text, is very much at odds with that of Prof. John G. Younger. This is not the first time either.

Linear A fragment from Phaistos with a fish remarkably resembling the ancient Christian-like iconography of the fish:

Phaistos Linear A tablet with fish Christian-like iconography

This Linear A fragment from Phaistos, which was found in the same cache as PH 7, is remarkable insofar as we find on it the sole occurrence of the ideogram for fishon any Linear A tablet anywhere, regardless of provenance.

This symbol is remarkable for two reasons. First, it is clearly a reflection of the inscription on Phaistos fragment PH 7, which reads as follows, “(illumined by) the firebrand of the goddess of healing, the bread of healing with water from a cup”. If this is not reminiscent of the Christian communion, I do not know what is. But we can go even further. The resemblance between the fish ideogram on this Linear A fragment from Phaistos to the fragment bearing an anchor, fish and Greek chi ro symbols from the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

chi-rho fish anchor fragment from catacombs of saint sebastian

is so striking that one is left wondering how this can possibly be. However, there may be less of a mystery here than we might otherwise imagine. It is a well known historical phenomenon in ancient religions that a later religion frequently borrows its iconography from a former.

Additional critical  highly relevant commentary by Daniel Rocha:

It is true that later religions borrow from older religions, but it seems that these symbols kind of run in parallel to Judaism, as far as I know. In any case, the symbols you are mentioning are linked to the worship of Atargatis. This deity used to be the wife of God in the very primitive versions of Judaism. If what you are pointing is true, it seems that the worship of Mary is justified, since she would be the wife of God. But, as far as I know, this cult among Jews did not exist in the 1st century CE.

But look here: “It has also been proposed that the element -gatis may relate to the Greek gados “fish”.[14] (For example, the Greek name for “sea monster” or “whale” is the cognate term ketos. So Atar-Gatis may simply mean “the fish-goddess Atar”.”


But it could be like gados mana, fish food or something along these lines:

Plus an additional comment by Richard Vallance Janke:

The Linear A word keta/kete, which very much appears to be the same word, first in the accusative of aspect (keta) and secondly in the instrumental sing. (kete, meaning “with fish”), of which the masculilne singular in Linear A would have been keto, and which is the equivalent of ancient Greek gados. If this is the case, then the fish ideogram on this fragment from Phaistos echoes even more closely the text of Phaistos PH 7, which as we have already seen is a religious ceremony involving a libation of water along with the bread of healing. If all of this rings true, then the relationship between these two fragments is so striking it simply cannot be ignored. Moreover, the Hebrew, manna (grains, bread), interpreted in Christianity as the bread of Heaven, also appears in Linear A as mana, another astonishing co-incidence.


Just slightly earlier than Minoan civilization. And the Minoans and Mycenaeans were very much into wine production too.


Jars. Credit: Assaf Yasur-Landau & Eric Klein Jars.
Credit: Assaf Yasur-Landau & Eric Klein

Original Article:

science daily

University of Haifa

For the first time in excavations of ancient Near Eastern sites, a winery has been discovered within a Canaanite palace. The winery produced high-quality wine that helped the Canaanite ruling family to impress their visitors — heads of important families, out-of-town guests, and envoys from neighboring states. “All the residents of the Canaanite city could produce simple wine from their own vineyards. But just before it was served, the wine we found was enriched with oil from the cedars of Lebanon, tree resin from Western Anatolia, and other flavorings, such as resin from the terebinth tree and honey. That kind of wine could only be found in a palace,” says Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau of the Maritime Civilizations Department at the University of Haifa, one of the directors of the excavation. The full findings of the…

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BINGO! I told you so!



Cereals were domesticated in Syria long before they appeared in Iraq or Iran.

Ancient plant remains suggest that the domestication of cereals, which led to the beginning of agriculture, appeared at different times in the Levant and in the eastern Fertile Crescent. Some countries, such as ancient-days Turkey, Iran and Iraq, saw Neolithic populations exploiting legumes, fruits and nuts long before they cultivated cereals.

Past studies have highlighted two main hypotheses to describe and explain the beginnings of plant domestication. In the 1990s, the belief was that domesticated plants had first appeared in Turkey, and that this was a rapid process that spread to the neighbouring regions in a short space of time.

In contrast, the recent dominant theory is that cereal domestication was a protracted process that developed all over the Middle East from 11,600 to 10,700 years ago. However, it remained unclear whether domestication happened at the same…

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 Turkey's western province of Balıkesir, (AA Photo)
Turkey’s western province of Balıkesir, (AA Photo)

AA photo AA photo

Original Article:

Turkish archeologists in Dascylium ancient city in Turkey’s western province of Balıkesir have discovered a 2,600 year-old kitchen which belonged to the ancient Kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia.

During the excavations, kitchenware including containers, mortars (made up of basalt stone) and some fish bones and seeds were discovered in the area where the age-old kitchen was discovered.

The head of the excavation team Kaan İren, who is a lecturer in the Department of Archeology in Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University in Turkey, spoke to an Anadolu Agency correspondent and said that his team had been digging in three different points in the area.

İren explained that “the founding belong to the Bronze Age, we came across some human traces in the area.”

“It was discovered that our findings including architectural structures, tablets, cult stuff and stoneware belong to the…

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Well, well, imagine that! And just when I recently deciphered a Linear A tablet containing what appear to be pomegranates!


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Linear A vase rim inscription PE Zb 3 (Petras), terebinth trees:

Linear A vase rim Petras PE Zb 3 on tereebinth trees

The Linear A vase rim inscription PE Zb 3 (Petras) deals with terebinth trees, kitanasijase (instrumental plural), either surrounded by a (stone) enclosure or growing in a field. The inscription is entirely in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan. Since the Linear A word for terebinth tree, kitano (nominative masc. sing.) is all but identical to the Linear B word kitano, we can be quite certain that this tablet is inscribed in New Minoan.

On a passing note, I would like to point out that I have already deciphered over 60 Linear A tablets more or less accurately. That is far more than anyone has ever even attempted to decipher in the past.

RESEARCH paper: Supersyllabograms in the agricultural sector of the Mycenaean economy, by Rita Roberts

This essay constitutes Rita Robert’s first foray into major research in ancient Mycenaean linguistics on Rita has composed this highly scholarly article as the major component of her mid-term examination in her second year of university, exactly half way to her degree. Keeping up this pace, she is bound to perform outstandingly in her final essay of her second year, and in her third year thesis paper, which will be considerably more demanding than this study, and about twice as long.

I strongly recommend you to download this study here:

supersyllabograms in agriculture in Linear B

It makes for engaging reading in ancient linguistics research.

You can reach Rita’s account here to view her other papers:

rita roberts


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