Tag Archive: agricultural

Introduction to supersyllabograms on Linear A tablets: PART A

Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B:

The phenomenon of the supersyllabogram in Mycenaean Linear B was first introduced to the world at at the Third Interdisciplinary Conference, Thinking Symbols, on July 1, 2015, at the Pultusk Academy of Humanities, here:

role of supersyllabograms in Linear B Thinking Symbols

Prior to 2015, no researcher had ever identified supersyllabograms in Linear B. But what is a supersyllabogram? A supersyllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a particular major Mycenaean Linear B word paired with a particular ideogram in any of the major sectors of the Mycenaean economy, agricultural, military, textiles, vessels and pottery. Initially, in 2015, 34 supersyllabograms were identified in this talk, which is brief enough for you to glean a clear conception of what supersyllabograms entail.

By 2016, this number had risen to 36, 35 syllabograms and 1 homophone or logogram (AI), published in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 11 (2015), ISSN 1452-7448, pp. 73-108, published in 2016, here:

Archaeology and Science decipherment of supersyllabograms in Linear B


Here is the abstract of that article:

A supersyllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a major (never minor) economic indicator combined with a closely related ideogram in the four economic sectors of the Mycenaean economy, agricultural, military, textiles and vessels or pottery. With very few exceptions, change the economic sector and you change the meaning of any particular supersyllabogram. Of some 3,500 tablets and fragments from Knossos, about 800 or 23% contain at least one supersyllabogram and sometimes as many as four or five. The whole point of supersyllabograms is that they are meant to eliminate text on tablets to the greatest possible extent. In a syllabary of 61 syllabograms + one homophone (AI), 36 syllabograms or 59% are supersyllabograms. Supersyllabograms serve to greatly economize on the precious space available on the tiny inventory tablets in Linear B. Any complete decipherment of Linear B must fully account for the supersyllabogram as a unique phenomenon without which any approach to the interpretation of the Linear B syllabary is squarely compromised.

Supersyllabograms in Linear A:

As it turns out, supersyllabograms were not invented by the Mycenaeans, but by the Minoans. They first emerged in Linear A, not Linear B. In a syllabary of 54 syllabograms, 27 or 50 % are supersyllabograms. This compares favourably with the incidence of supersyllabograms in Linear B, in which 36 or 59 % of 61 syllabograms are supersyllabograms.

Linear A base syllabary

620 Table 5 Table of 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A

KEY to supersyllabograms in Linear A:

fi = figs

gr = grains (wheat)

ma = man, person

oo = olives, olive oil

pi = pigs

ra = rams

sh = sheep

te = textiles

ve = vessels

wi = wine & vinegar

Locales where Linear A tablets have been found:

HT = Haghia Triada

KH = Khania

MA = Malia

PE = Petras
PH = Phaistos

TH = Thera

TY = Tylissos

ZA = Zakros

The numeric value of each supersyllabograms is rated as follows:

BOLD: n. e.g. 21. TE = a supersyllabogram for which the definition is either certain or highly probable.

Italics: n. e.g. 1. A = a supersyllabogram for which the definition is possible.

Standard font: n. e.g. 2 = a supersyllabogram for which the definition is unlikely or questionable.

1. A aka = aska = a0ska = wine skin -or- apero PGS a1mpeloj = a vine Cf. Linear B apero -or- aresana NM1 a1leisana <- a1leison = an embossed cup (arch. acc.) = de/paj (Homeric) Cf. Linear B dipa/arisu NM1 a1leisu <- a1leison = embossed cup

HT 2 oo HT 39 ve KH 83 ve MA 10 ve

2. DA dadumata OM = harvesting? -or- grain(s) measured? -or- dadumina/dadumine OM= related to harvesting?

HT 133 gr

3. DI dipa3a (dipaia) PGS di/paia <- di/paj de/paj = from a cup -or- dipaja PGS di/paia <- di/paj de/paj = from a cup (alternate?)

HT 12 oo HT 14 oo (x2) HT 28 oo (x5) HT 50 oo HT 90 oo HT 116 oo HT 121 oo HT 129 oo

4. E etori NM1 e1tori <- e1toj = for a year?

HT 2 oo HT 21 oo HT 34 gr HT 50 oo HT 58 oo MA 10 (x3)

5. KA kadi MOSE NM1 kadi/ (instr. sing.) <- ka/doj = with a jar or vessel for water or wine

HT 28 wi HT 88 ma HT 100 ma

6. KE ?

HT 26 ve (x2)

7. KI kitina NM1 ktoi/na/ktoina/siaj = border of a plot of land/territory Cf. Linear B kotona kotoina ktoi/na = plot of land?

HT 8 oo HT 9 wi HT 16 oo HT 28 oo HT 44 gr HT 50 oo (x2) HT 91 oo HT 101 oo (x2) HT 116 (x2) HT 125 oo HT 129 oo HT 140 oo? (x2) TY 3 (x3) ZA 18 oo

8. KU?

HT 38 te (x2) HT 61 gr HT 128 gr (x6) PH 31 sh (x7)

9. ME meza NM1 me/za (fem. sing.) = greater, bigger Cf. Linear B mezo me/zwn me/zoj?

TY 3 oo ZA 15 wi

10. MI ? HT 28 oo HT 50 oo HT 58 oo HT 90 oo HT 91 oo (x2) HT 100 oo HT 101 oo HT 116 oo (x2) HT 125 oo HT 137 oo TY 3 oo (x5)

11. NE nea NM1 ne/a = new Cf. Linear B ne/#a = new -or- nere OM = larger amphora size (fem. plural)

HT 23 oo HT 32 oo (x2) HT 100 oo

12. PA pa3ni/pa3nina/pa3niwi OM = millet -or- spelt -or- pa3qe -or- qepa3 i.e. paiqe -or- qepai (+ ideogram for wheat”) LIG = a kind of grain similar to wheat

HT 43 gr HT 93 gr (x2) HT 120 gr (x3) HT 125 oo HT 128 gr KH 27 gr PE 1 (x2) TY 3 oo ZA 6 gr (x3) ZA 11 (x5) ZA 18 gr ZA 28 gr

13. QE qera2u/qera2wa OM = a type of grain, probably millet or spelt (inflected) -or-

qeria OM = probably millet or spelt

HT 16 gr HT 28 gr HT 36 gr HT 99 gr HT 101 gr HT 121 oo ZA 11 gr

14. RA ranatusu (agglutinative?) -or- NM1 r9anatusu < – r9anti/zw = to cleanse, purify

rani NM1 r9a=ni/j = anything sprinkled (as in a libation); rain drop See also ratise -or- ratise (ritise?) NM1 = la/tise <- la/taj = with drops of wine (instr. pl.)

HT 44 oo KH 31 ve KH 91 ve ZA 6 wi (x2) ZA 15

15. RI rima NM1 lei=mac = garden -or- lei=mma = remnant, remains -or- lh=mma = income, receipts (dative/instrumental plural)

HT 23 oo HT 35 oo HT 60 oo KH 82 oo

16. RU ruma/rumu/rumata/rumatase lu=matase <- lu=ma = offscourings from grain, i.e chaff?

KH 12 ve (x2) KH 63 ve KH 83 ve KH 84 ve KH 85 ve KH 91 ve

17. SA sato PGS Hebrew sa/ton = Hebrew unit of measurement?

HT 27 gr (x2) wi HT 144 wi HT 131 wi ZA 15 wi

18. SI sika NM1 shka/ (arch. acc.) <- shko/j = fold, enclosure; (sheep) pen; sacred precinct, shrine = <- zhka/zw = to pen in Cf. Linear B periqoro peri/boloj = sheep pen?

HT 27 wi PH 31 pi PH 31 sh ZA 9 sh (x3)

19. SU supa3 (supai)/supa3ra (supaira) OM =small cup with handles Cf. Linear B dipa mewiyo

-or- supi/supu/supu2 OM = largest size pithos -or- MOSE NM1 supu/h sipu/h sipu/a i0pu/a = meal

20. MA? 10 ve ZA 5 wi

TA taikama OM tai + NM1 ka/ma = a unit of land, something like an acre? -or- ta2re/ta2reki NM1 sta=rei<- stai=j wheaten flour mixed into dough + tasise sta/sisei -or- tai2si (taisi) NM1 stai=sei <- stai=j = with wheaten flour mixed into a dough (instr. pl.)

HT 28 oo (x2) HT 35 oo KH 19 oo KH 39 KH 55 oo KH 61 oo KH 85 oo

21. TE = teresa OM = liquid unit of measurement

HT 6 fi HT 13 wi HT 17 wi HT 19 wi HT 21 gr HT 40 gr HT 44 gr HT 51 fi HT 62 wi HT 67 fi HT 70 fi HT 96 fi HT 133 gr TH 6 te TH Zb 11 wi

22. TI tisa OM = pottery worker/working on pottery/pottery wheel (tourney)?

KH 10 ve

23. TU ?

HT 23 oo HT 28 oo HT 50 oo HT 101 oo TY 3 oo

24. U uro NM1 ou0=loj = entire, total. Cf. kuro ku=rwn = reaching, attaining i.e. = total ?

HT 2 oo HT 21 oo HT 28 oo HT 40 00 (x3) HT 43 oo HT 58 oo HT 91 oo HT 96 oo HT 100 oo HT 101 oo (x2) HT 125 oo HT 140 oo (x8) TY 3 oo

25. WA HT 27 wi (x2)

26. WI winadu #i1nadu = vineyard Cf. Linear B winado -or- winu NM1 #i/nu = wine Cf. Linear B wono #oi/noj -or- winumatari NM1 #i/numa/tari = wine dedicated to Mother Earth (agglutinative)

27. KH 5 wi

Rita Roberts translation of Linear B tablet KN 911 D e 01 (Knossos):

Linear B KN 911 D e 01

This is one of the most complex Linear B tablets Rita Roberts has ever had to translate. She also provided a running free translation of this tablet, but I have had to omit it for lack of space in the graphics file. In other words, if I had included her free translation, the graphics file would have been much too long to display properly. As it stands, it is already very long. One of the prime characteristics of a small subset of Linear B tablets, mostly from Pylos, but in this case from Knossos, is that they are long lists of names, in this case, shepherds taking care of their sheep. Rita Roberts makes the following observations on this tablet.


This Linear B tablet 911 De 0l (LXX) is a lengthy inventory of hundreds of ewes, billy goats, she goats and rams, I would imagine it is of special interest for Knossos palace. It is difficult to say whether all these animals were brought together at the same time for any specific purpose. If so there are a few reasons to suggest why this could be. The first would be, having to check the stock for health reasons for the possible move to a new pasture. Secondly, it could be that the animals needed to be organized for shearing, also some for slaughter. My final suggestion is, maybe some animals were for possible export. However, these are a few possible reasons for such a large inventory, but on the whole it is a comprehensive inventory for the palace.

I may as well admit that I passed this tablet onto Rita as I am constitutionally lazy when it comes to deciphering long tablets. However, this is not the only reason. It is vital that Rita master (subjunctive) complex tablets that pose a huge challenge. This one certainly does.



Cretan pictograms – 24-29: livestock (possibly/probably/definitely) known:

Cretan pictograms livestock agricultural

The Cretan pictograms in the livestock sector pretty much speak for themselves. The only definite one is that for rams. The rest are probable, and open to dispute.

Cretan pictograms – 15-23: crops (possibly/probably/definitely) known:

Cretan pictographs crops

All of the Cretan pictograms from 15 to 23 definitely deal with crops, though in some cases we cannot tell for certain which ones. In other cases, the crops represented by their respective pictograms are either probably or definitely identified. 17a. & 17b. are spice containers. 19a. – 19c. are 3 variants for olives/olive oil. 22. is absolutely the ideogram for wheat. 20. (multiple variants) is saffron.

The first two examples of so-called Cretan hieroglyphs appear to be 4 separate palm-leaf tablets, but are in fact one 4 sided-bar:

Knossos 4 sided bar in Cretan hieroglyphics or not

The first two examples of so-called Cretan hieroglyphs appear to be 4 separate palm-leaf tablets, but are in fact one 4 sided-bar from Knossos. This is of great significance, because if I am right and the text is sequential, from start to finish, and runs dextrograde on each side (which it almost certainly does) then a clear pattern emerges. 5 distinct links are found on the four sides. These are clearly marked on the facsimile of this 4 sided bar (Knossos Hh (04) 03). Consequently, we can assume that this bar tallies contents, for which 5 key ideograms recur, signifying that there is a distinct coherence to the contents they tag. The four-sided bar appears to inventory not only agricultural items, namely, the produce of olive trees (olive oil) and some kind of grain crop, symbolized by the logogram which looks like the Linear A & B syllabogram ZU, but military ones as well. The ideogram for adze or labrys, which is the origin of the syllabogram A in Linear A and B, appears on face 1. Then we have what looks like a helmet on face 2 and a boars tusk helmet (L5) on face 4. (the latter the precursor, it would seem, of the Linear A & B syllabograms for E). Finally, we find an ideogram (L4) which looks like some kind of animal, and my bet is that it is a horse. All of these ideograms and logograms lend credence to a military interpretation.

So-called Cretan hieroglyphs are not hieroglyphs at all. Example 1

Cretan symbolic writing ideograms a

These 2 palm-leaf tablets incised with Cretan symbols are the first example of why so-called Cretan hieroglyphs are not hieroglyphs at all. We note right off the top that there are only 6 symbols, all of which are in fact ideograms or logograms. The numeric symbols, 40 and 100 on the fist tablet and 50, 10 & 80 on the second, do not conform to Linear A and B standards. In Linear A & B, decimals to the tens (10…90) are represented by horizontal bars, 1 for 10, 2 for 20, 8 for 80 etc. It appears instead that the dots on these tablets represent decimals to the tens. This is partly because the figure for 100 on the first tablet accords with Linear A & B practice, making it more likely that the dots are indeed in the tens.

Some other symbols are clearly identifiable. No. 1. is definitely the ideogram for an adze or labrys, which in Linear A and B is metamorphosed into the syllabogram for the vowel A. 2. is more likely to represent olive tree(s) rather than olive(s), for reasons which will become apparent in upcoming examples. 5. is very likely the ideogram for helmet, because it is very similar to same ideogram in Linear B.

So what are these palm-leaf tablets about? The first appears to be primarily military, te second primarily agricultural, with the sole exception of the ideogram for helmet, which appears out of place. But perhaps it is not. Perhaps the olive tree crops are being defended by the military. We shall never know.

Just uploaded to academia.edu: Decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 86 Haghia Triada, a mirror image of HT 95:

decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 86 academia.edu

Linear A Tablet HT 86 (Haghia Triada) Linear A tablet HT 86 (Haghia Triada) appears to be inscribed partially in Mycenaean-derived New Minoan and partially in Old Minoan, just as is HT 95 (Haghia Triada). This is one of the most significant of all Linear A tablets, because it so closely parallels HT 95. The fact that the text of HT 86 so closely mirrors that of HT 95 lends further credence to our decipherment of both of these tablets taken together. We find approximately equal parts of Mycenaean-derived New Minoan and Old Minoan vocabulary on HT 86. Here we have the New Minoan vocabulary on HT 86: akaru, dideru (equivalent to Linear B didero), dame & minute Old Minoan vocabulary on HT 86: kunisu, saru, qara2wa (qaraiwa) & adu. We must pay special heed to the terms akaru and dideru in New Minoan, as these in turn signify " field " (archaic acc.), where all of these crops are obviously grown and didero, which is Linear A for " einkorn wheat ". As for the Old Minoan terminology, we have kunisu, which is " emmer wheat " and adu, which is a very large unit of dry measurement, probably " bales ". Astonishingly, the text as a whole admirably hangs together, all the more so when compared with that of HT 95. 

The first ever complete and entirely unique decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 RECTO (Haghia Triada):

Linear A tablet HT 123 Haghia Triada RECTO olives saffron flax wine

This decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 RECTO (Haghia Triada) is entirely unique and is the first ever of its kind. It incorporates several key features never before seen in any of the failed attempts at deciphering this tablet. These are:

1. It accurately identifies the crops as (a) olives (b) wine and (c) saffron/flax;

2. It accurately identifies what all previous decipherers” have erroneously assumed to be fractions as crop shares;

3. It accurately identifies the supersyllabogram PU, which no one has ever before been able to decipher as the Old Minoan word, punikaso = Phoenician or in the case of wine = purple, equivalent to Linear B ponikiyo.

4. It clearly and accurately identifies the shares of crops, usually 8 shares per;

5. The Old Minoan Linear A word kiro appears to mean they owed, which suits the context to a T;

6. the combination of the number 8 with harvesting fits the season exactly, the month for harvesting being lunar August (at least if the Minoans counted counted their lunar months from the first month in the year, which certainly appears to be the case).

7. Since the total 20 + is right-truncated on the last line, I have to assume that it refers to 20 or more months, given that 9 months are mentioned above, with the ninth month implying that 8 preceded it, for a total 17. The number 4 with the unknown character probably also references months, bringing the potential total to 21. Thus a grand total of 20+ months is not out of the question.

This is the first ever successful decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 (RECTO) in toto.



Now on academia.edu. Are Minoan and Mycenaean fractions fractions?

Click to download:



This very brief, but informative tract is a real eye opener.


Are Minoan and Mycenaean fractions fractions? I am not at all convinced

Are Minoan Linear A fractions fractions or something else

Are Mycenaean Linear B fractions fractions or something else

Since Minoan and Mycenaean fractions, as estimated by Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog and Prof. John G. Younger, fall as low as 1/10 and 1/32, I am not at all convinced that these are fractions at all. They are, as far as I can tell, crop shares. This makes a lot more sense, since we are dealing with farming, where crop shares have always been of paramount importance. As for units of measurement, we have no real idea what they were, since Minoan Crete and the Mycenaean Empire are so remote in history. No one can possibly determine fractions that far back in history. In fact, Prof. Younger and Andras Zeke cannot even agree on the values of the fractions... not that that argument invalidates the notion they are not fractions. That is a specious argument. However, it makes more sense to consider these as crop shares, especially in view of the fact that some of the Mycenaean symbols are so remarkably similar to their Minoan counterparts. The appearance of symbols has nothing to do with what we take them to mean. This again is an arbitrary decision, which may be right or wrong.  

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.

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.

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 academia.edu:

This essay constitutes Rita Robert’s first foray into major research in ancient Mycenaean linguistics on academia.edu. 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 academia.edu

It makes for engaging reading in ancient linguistics research.

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

rita roberts academia.edu


Linear A tablet dealing with wheat and spices:

Linear A tablet dealing with wheat and spices

Note that on this tablet, the word toesato/totaesato/toekito/totaekito (whichever one of these 4 alternatives it is and whatever it means) is conjectural, since I find it difficult to determine how many syllabograms there are in it.

Minoan Linear A decorated ceramic, kitina, Cf. Linear B kot0na = plot of land?

minoan decorated ceramic

This Minoan Linear A decorated ceramic is inscribed with the single word, kitina, which looks very much like the Mycenaean Linear B word kotona or kotoina, which means a plot of land. If this is the case, it would appear that the ceramic is a personal token of the owner of a plot of land. It could also be a personal name, but this is less likely. What appears to ber the genitive singular, kitanasija, also appears in Linear A.

After 117 years, the Linear A vocabulary for 3 major grains (bran, wheat, barley) and for flax is conclusively deciphered:

Although decipherment of Linear A vocabulary for the primary Minoan grains has seemed beyond reach for the past 117 years, I believe that I may have actually cracked the vocabulary for at least 3 major Minoan grain crops, kireta2 (kiretai)/kiretana (attributive) = barley, dideru = einkorn wheat, kunisu = emmer wheat and for sara2 (sarai) = flax, while concurrently tackling 3 more grain crops, rumata(se), pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina (painina) (attributive), which I may or may not have managed to accurately identify. More on this below.

How did I manage to accomplish this feat? My first breakthrough came with the code-breaker, Linear A tablet HT 114 (Haghia Triada), on which appears the word kireta2 (kiretai). It just so happens that this is a match with the ancient Greek word, kritha(i) for barley, here Latinized:

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 114 Haghia Triada

Armed with this invaluable information, I then devised a procedure to extract the names of the other 2 major grains, dideru (Linear B equivalent, didero), and kunisu and for sara2 (sarai) from all of the Haghia Triada tablets. I selected the tablets from Haghia Triada because they mention grains far more often than any other extant Linear A tablets do, regardless of provenance, with the sole exception of Zakros ZA 20, which is a very close match with the many Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada dealing with grains.

The procedure I have adopted is tagged cross-comparative extrapolation (CCE). I scanned every last word related to grain on every last Linear A tablet from Haghia Triada, HT 1 – HT 154K on Prof. John G. Youngers Linear A texts in phonetic transcription HT (Haghia Triada) for the recurrence and numerical frequency of each of these words. It strikes me as very odd that no one in the past 117 years since the first discovery of Linear A tablets at Knossos has ever thought of this or a similar cross-comparative procedure. While it is practically useless to try and extrapolate the meaning of each and every grain merely by examining them in context on any single Linear A tablet, regardless of provenance, because even in single tablet context, and even in the presence of other words apparently describing other type(s) of grain, we get absolutely nowhere, the outcome from cross-correlating every last one of these words on every last tablet from Haghia Triada paints an entirely different picture, a picture which is both comprehensive and all-embracing. Clear and unambiguous patterns emerge for each and every word, including the total incidence of all statistics for them all. The result is astonishing. The table below makes this transparently clear:

Minoan ancient grains

We see right off the top that all of the Haghia put together mention akaru, which means field, the equivalent of Linear B akoro, no fewer than 20 times! Additionally, the generic word for wheat, situ, corresponding to Linear B sito, surfaces 5 times. But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Cross-comparative extrapolation of the next 4 grains has proven to be much more fruitful. The first of these is of course kireta2 (kiretai) kiretana (attributive) for “barley”, which appears 149 times (!) on all of the Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada. I was definitely on to something big.

But the preliminary step I needed to take, before I actually attempted to identify the next 2 most common grains cultivated in the pre-Mycenaean and Mycenaean Minoan era, was to conduct a Google search on the 2 most common grains after barley grown in Minoan Crete. These are einkorn and emmer respectively. Returning to my cross-comparative extrapolative scan, I discovered the words dideru and kunisu recurring 40 times each. It just so happens that one previous researcher (whose name unfortunately escapes me for the time being, but whom I shall fully acknowledge when I publish my summary data on academia.edu) has accurately identified both of these types of wheat. As can be seen from the table above, these are dideru for “einkorn” and kunisu for “emmer” wheat respectively.

Moving on, fully realizing that sara2 (sarai) runs rampant on the Haghia Triada Linear A tablets, I discovered that this word recurs no less than 1321 times. Astonishing! But what does it mean? The answer was not long coming. The next most common crop the Minoans cultivated was flax, for the production of linen. Flax is not a grain, but is derived from flax flowers and seeds. This fully explains why sara2 (sarai) recurs with such astonishing frequency. Unlike the aforementioned grains, which would have been grown on a relatively restricted number of plots, in this case not exceeding 4o each, the number of flax flowers required to produce a sufficient flax harvest would have had to be very high… hence 1321. These stunning frescoes illustrate a male Minoan flax flower and a female flax seed gatherer:

Minoan flax gatherers

Even from these 2 frescoes, we can easily see that the flax gatherers were kept busy picking what was required, a large flax crop, in this case running to 1321 flax seeds and flowers. No surprise here.

As a result of my exhaustive cross-comparative extrapolation of the first four Minoan crops, I have been able to define 3 of them for certain as grains, kireta2 (kiretai), dideru and kunisu, and one of them, sara2 (sarai) as flax. It is practically certain that all 4 definitions are correct. Hence, I have managed to isolate for the first time in 117 years the actual names of 4 major Minoan crops, barley, einkorn wheat, emmer wheat and flax.

However, when it comes to the next 5 crops, we run up against inescapable semiotic problems. What does each of these signifiers signify? There is no easy answer. On the other hand, I would have been remiss were I not to make a stab at extrapolating the names of these crops as well. It just so happens that the next most common grains after barley, einkorn and emmer cultivated by the Minoans were millet and spelt. And the next two words I extrapolated were rumata(se) and pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive). But if one of them appears to be millet, the other is spelt, or vice versa. That is the conundrum. But the problem is compounded by the mystifying cumulative total statistics for each of these words, 1039 for rumata(se) and 1021 for pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive). Why on earth are there so many recurrences of these 2 crops, when there are only 40 instances of dideru and kunisu? It does not seem to make any sense at all. Yet there is a possible explanation. While dideru and kunisu reference einkorn and emmer crops as crops per se, it would appear that rumata(se) and pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive) refer to the seeds derived from the crops. It is the only way out of this impasse. However, it is not necessarily a satisfying answer, and so I have to reserve judgement on these definitions, which are interchangeable at any rate.

Next we have the ligatured logograms dare and kasaru, either of which might refer to the next most common crops, durum and lentils. But there is no way for us to corroborate this conclusion with any certainty. The verdict is out. Finally, the last word, kuzuni, might refer to 2 other, less common Minoan crops, either sesame or vetch for fodder. But once again, which one is which? Your guess is as good as mine.


Nevertheless, one thing is certain. Every last one of these words identifies a Minoan crop. While most of them are grains, three of them are certainly not. One of them is clearly flax (sara2/sarai) The other two may or may not be lentils or sesame. But they probably are one or the other, if they are not on the other hand durum or vetch. In short, there several permutations and combinations for the last 5. Yet the circumstantial evidence for the first 4 appears quite solid enough to justify the definitions we have assigned, barley, einkorn, emmer and flax. So at least this constitutes a major breakthrough in the identification of these 4 for the first time in 117 years.

I shall eventually be publishing a much more comprehensive draft paper on this very subject on my academia.edu account, either this summer or autumn. I shall keep you posted.

Google image search “Minoan Linear A grains” reveals that practically every last image is from Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae:

Click on the image search banner to see the results for yourself:

google search on grains and their decipherment in Linear A

This confirms that the almost all current research (2015-2017) is almost exclusively founded in my studies and decipherments of grains (wheat, barley, flax, spelt etc.) on Linear A tablets.

Credible decipherment of several grains mentioned on of Linear A tablet HT 10 (Haghia Triada):

Linear A tablet HT 10 Haghia Triada dealing with several grain crops

After several abortive attempts at realizing a relatively convincing decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 10 (Haghia Triada), I believe I have finally managed to come through. This has to be one of the most challenging Linear A tablets I have ever been confronted with. Any credible decipherment eluded me for months on end, until it finally struck me that all I needed to do was to identify the grain crops most commonly cultivated in the Neolithic and Bronze Age Mediterranean. And this is precisely what I have just done.  

Neolithic and Bronze age grains cultivated in the Mediterranean during the Neolithic and Bronze Age eras (the most common italicized):

barley (sara2/sarai?) *
einkorn (dideru) *
emmer (kunisu) *
flax (sara2/sarai?) *
freekeh (sara2/sarai?) *
bran (less common)
bulgur (less common)
groats (less common)
lentils (less common)
millet (dare -or- kasaru)
spelt (dare -or- kasaru)
vetch for fodder (less common)

Now it strikes me that if we find any of these grains recurring on several Linear A tablets, and we do, these grains must be the most common cultivated then. As it so happens, the 3 grain crops most frequently referenced in Linear A tablets are dideru, kunisu and sarai2 (sarai). They appear over and over and in abundant quantities on several Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada (HT 8 HT 10 HT 28 HT 85-68 HT 91 HT 93 HT 95 HT 114 HT 121 & HT 133), on HM 570, on Khania KH 10, Kophinas KO Za 1 and on Zakros ZA 20. We now know for certain that dideru means “einkorn (wheat)” and kunisu “emmer (wheat)”. It is also highly likely that sara2 (sarai) references “barley”, “flax” or “freekah”. Which one we cannot be sure, but it almost certainly has to be one of these. In addition, we also find dare and kasaru on HT 10. It stands to reason that, by elimination, dare and kasaru are probably either “millet” or “spelt” or vice versa. I have eliminated bran, bulgur, groats, lentils and vetch, as these crops appear to have been relatively less common. 

Free translation of HT 10:

emmer wheat on 4 hills + PA? + 16 1/2 bushel-like units of another type of grain (millet or spelt) *333? + RO + 6 *u325 + 14 bushel-like units of groats (?) + 2 1/2  of *301 (whatever that is), all stored in 8 vases, of which 2 are pithoi (very large) and also stored in 1 vessel of another type + 2 bushel-like units of bran, flax, millet or spelt & 16 young shoots of grain + 6 /12 of *312 TA ? & 6 bushel-like units of millet or spelt, of which 9 1/4 units were lost to death (i.e. never matured)...

My preliminary research into the types of grains cultivated in the Neolithic and Bronze Age Mediterranean has clearly facilitated this plausible decipherment of HT 10, and has moreover confirmed my even more accurate translations of several other Linear A tablets dealing with grain, almost all of them co-incidentally from Haghia Triada.

Decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada) with John G. Youngers errors corrected:

Linear A tablet HT 14 Haghia Triada



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