Tag Archive: chaff



The top of Minoan Linear A Tablet ZA 20 (Zakros) restored on academia.edu

Click on the link below to read this key contribution to research into Minoan Linear A tablets:





Minoan Linear A tablets appear to be classed in two primary areas of interest (a) agriculture, and more specifically, crops and grains and (b) religious and sacerdotal. It is to the former that we turn our attention in this study. Focusing on certain Linear A tablets which deal primarily or almost exclusively with grains, we find that these three tablets yield the most promising results, Haghia Triada tablets HT 86 & 95 and Zakros tablet ZA 20. While HT 86 and HT 95 are intact, ZA 20 is not. Other Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada also contribute to our findings.





Is it possible to envision an intact version of the original ZA 20 tablet from Zakros? We believe so, and with that firmly in mind we have attempted the first ever restoration of the top of ZA 20, resulting in what amounts to a plausible intact version, however hypothetical, of the original.  So without further ado, we present the full restoration of our version of Linear A tablet ZA 20.






Restoration of the top of Minoan Linear Tablet ZA 20 (Zakros) REVISED:

Since the last post on my original restoration of the top of Minoan Linear Tablet ZA 20 (Zakros), I have reconsidered the hypothetical text, and I have come up with this more plausible restoration:

Linear A tablet ZA 20 Zakros top restored

The running decipherment reads as follows:

1. a field
2. of 20 bales of einkorn wheat
3. and 20 bales of emmer wheat
4. and 65 bales of barley
5. all measured by bales
6. 4 bales of MI ?? ZA (unknown) + 1 bale with wheat
7. and 12 bales of wheat with 2 spin-offs of chaff from the wheat 
8. totals for all the above = 130

This restoration is the basis of an article on it soon to be published on academia.edu. I shall keep you posted. 


Richard Janke’s conjectural restoration of the missing top of Linear A tablet ZA 20:

Since the top of Linear A tablet ZA 20 is missing, I boldly took it upon myself to restore the top of this tablet. My restoration is of course conjectural, but I am quite sure it is something like what the original must have looked like, because line 6 mentions sitetu and line 7 situ. These are variants on the same Linear A word, situ, which just so happens to look a great deal like the Linear B word sito, which means “wheat”. SO it is natural to suppose that in fact situ and sitetu also mean “wheat” in Linear A.  

linear-a-tablet-za-20-zakros-restored

Here is the decipherment of the entire Linear A tablet ZA 20 (Zakrs), including the restored lines 1.-7.

1. kireta2 11 = 11 units (probably bales) of barley
2. dideru 42 = 42 bales of einkorn wheat
3. dideru 30 qerie 22 = 30 bales of einkorn wheat (2) and 22 bales of another type of grain (3)
4. qerie 6 = 6 bales of grain type (3)
5. ro? + direza- = (dide)ro [left truncated] = einkorn wheat = didero + direza = a unit of measurement
6. se + mi? +ru? 4 sitetu 1 = “se” is the last syllabogram, i.e. syllable of the word direza+se, which implies the word is inflected.
7. situ 6 te*123 12 rumitase 2 = 6 bales of wheat + 12 bales or units of te*123 (unknown) 2 units of chaff  
8. kura 120 = kura = TOTAL of all items listed in lines 1.-7.

No one has ever attempted to decipher even the extant bottom portion of Linear A tablet ZA 20 (Zakros) before, let alone to restore the missing lines in the missing top portion of this tablet.


New interpretation of Linear A tablet ZA 20 (Zakros):

Linear A tablet ZA 20 HM 1636 Zakros

This new interpretation of Linear A tablet ZA 20 (Zakros) varies only slightly from my original one. I interpret the syllabogram on line 0 (the indecipherable line) as being NI, since the bottom of NI is a vertical line. And figs often figure prominently in Linear A tablets. The actual reading of the text is not quite clear, since there are at least 2 damaged syllabograms following MI on line 1. It is impossible to determine with any accuracy what the actual units of measurement are for anything on this tablet, although of course the units of chaff from wheat would have to be considerably less than the total units of wheat. So 1 unit + 6 units of wheat probably refers to something like bushels (a mere approximation), from which we would not get all that much chaff… which may explain the presence of the container, supposedly containing 3 smallish units of chaff. But why would anyone want to place chaff in a container? So we see problems with the decipherment.

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