Tag Archive: bushels



Linear B tablet, Pylos ER 312, tax collection for wheat for the temple in the palace:

Linear B Pylos tablet ER 312

This most fascinating of Linear B tablets, Pylos ER 312, clearly deals with the temple in the palace (both words in the locative singular). The tablet deals with taxation of seed for wheat and for wheat as such, where the units of wheat a large, and measured in something like bale-like units. Now it is obvious that in the Minoan/Mycenaean era, wheat and other grain crops were not measured in bales, but there was a standard large unit of measurement for them, which probably approximated bales. As the tax collector is mentioned, we know this tablet deals exclusively with taxation for wheat seeds and wheat. The taxes raised by the tax collector are for the temple in the palace. In line 7, we have worokiyoneyo eremo, which prima facie is somewhat mystifying. However, as my research colleague, Alexandre Solcà, points out, eremo is the adjective corresponding to the noun, eremo, the latter signifying desert. So the attributive of this word probably means devoid of. It certainly makes sense in context, given that the word preceding it is worokiyoneyo (genitive singular) for “of an offering , so the sense would be, literally, devoid of an offering, hence, a free offering. This clears up any ambiguity in the text.

 

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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.


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?) *
and
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

 


A solid decipherment of Linear A tablet ZA 20 (Zakros), which definitely deals with several types of crops:

ZA 20

Even though at the very least the top half of Linear A tablet ZA 20 (Zakros) is missing, it definitely deals with several types of crops. This is abundantly clear from the extant text on the bottom half (or less) of the tablet, in which we find, not one but 2 references to wheat, and to another crop, rumatase, which remains undeciphered, but which in all probability means “flax”. This word could also be Mycenaean-derived New Minoan for luma (Latinized Greek) for “offscourings”, the process whereby impurities are removed from grain crops, in this case, the extraction of chaff from wheat. It makes perfect sense in context.

Given that at least half of the top of this tablet is lost, the question is, what does it reference? It is apparent from the remaining extant text on the bottom of this tablet, which deals with wheat twice, that the missing upper part of the tablet should deal with grain crops. There are indeed several words in Linear A which are grain crop-specific. These are dideru =  “emmer wheat”, qerie =  “roasted einkorn” and sara2/sarai =  “sharia wheat”. It is highly likely that the missing top portion of this tablet deals with at least one of these crops, or with 2 or even all 3 of them. In addition, mention may well have been made of either or both barley and flax crops.

standard ideograms for crops in Linear A

In view of the fact that the sum total for all crops on this tablet = 130, whereas the totals for the crops on the bottom half = 19 only, we are left with 111 units of something unaccounted for... and what might be that something?... other grain crops, of course. Otherwise, how are we to account for the 111 missing units on the lost portion of this tablet? We cannot. These 111 units, which were definitely tallied on the missing top of the tablet, must have been standard units of dry measurement for grain crops, something akin to our modern bushels. Of course, bushels are merely a speculative approximation, since there is no way we can know what the standard units of dry measurement for crops were either in the Minoan or Mycenaean eras, historically remote as they are.  All we can do is hazard an approximation. But at least bushels at least give us some idea of what we are dealing with here.

Evidence for a substantive inventory of several grain crops on this tablet is further buttressed by the presence of the word durezase, in an oblique case of dureza, which I have (and I believe correctly) deciphered as one standard unit of dry measurement in Minoan, in other words one unit roughly approximating the modern bushel. So the accumulation of circumstantial evidence lends even further credence to our decipherment. Finally, the decipherment makes so much sense contextually that it is more likely than not correct.    


Revisiting & deciphering 2 (TE & DA) of the 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A in light of the decipherment of 69 additional Minoan words:

Last year (2016), I isolated and categorized all 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A. This was an extremely exhaustive task, as I had to scan through all the extant Linear A tablets and fragments in order to tally them all. This took at least a month. It is important to understand that the Minoans, and not the Mycenaeans, invented supersyllabograms. A supersyllabogram is defined as the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of any given specific Minoan word, economic sector dependent. In other words, when we cross from one economic sector to another, the meaning of any single supersyllabogram can and often does change. The exact same phenomenon recurs in Mycenaean Linear B. For the past year and a half, I have thoroughly covered and deciphered all 36 supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, and I have as well tentatively deciphered 9 or 33 % of the 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A. Yet in spite of my initial attempts at decipherment, I was unable to assign any proto-Greek significance to any of them.

But since I have now deciphered 69 new Minoan Linear A words of putative proto-Greek, proto-Hebrew, proto-Semitic and proto-Scythian origin, I have been able to revisit at least 2 of the 27 supersyllabograms, namely, DA & TE & I have discovered that a proto-Greek reading of them on at least one Minoan Linear A tablet, HT 133, makes perfect, unified sense in translation, as seen in this table:

adu-te-da-tenai-to-cut-dainai-to-distribute

The only observation I should make is the following: the supersyllabogram TE, which is the first syllabogram of the middle voice TENAI = archaic Greek teinai, appears first in the list, because the 55 standard units grains or wheat must be cut down first before they are distributed. For this reason, the middle voice DAINAI (of which the ultimate NAI is identical with that of TENAI), meaning “they are distributed” (i.e. the 55 standard units of grains or wheat). So the word order is entirely rational, and intuitive to the Minoan language. Cut the 55 units of grains or wheat first, and then distribute them. In short, the word order is identical to English. This should come as no surprise in view of the fact that both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B generally read from left to right, just as does modern English.

This new development raises the number of Minoan Linear A supersyllabograms tentatively deciphered from 9 to 11 or 40.8 % of all 27 Linear A supersyllabograms.


Minoan Linear A ase = bushels? & qaqaru = crop yield?

HT 93 Haghia Triada pa3nina ase qaqaru

Does the Minoan Linear A word ase = bushels & qaqaru = crop yield? While I have tentatively deciphered them this way, I am remain in some doubt about the decipherments. The primary reason for my doubts rests on the fact that only 26 ase or “bushels” are mentioned in the context a total crop yield of 5 qaqaru. Both figures are on the low side. A crop yield that low would not go very far. But for the time being, I will go with these translations.

These 2 decipherments, which appear to be less rather than more accurate, bring our putative total to seventy-nine (79).  The reliability of these 2 decipherments is <50%. 

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