Tag Archive: fava beans



All-new decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 8 (Haghia Triada) dealing with multiple crops:

Linear A tablet HT 8

This is the first time I have attempted to decipher Linear A tablet HT 8 (Haghia Triada), and I have met with considerable success in deciphering it for the most part. It quite clearly deals with multiple crops. Some explanation is in order. On the RECTO, we find the supersyllabogram KI, which means KIRETAI, in Greek kri/qai, meaning barley of which there are 10 units, something like bushels (a mere approximation as we cannot know that the standard units of measurement for crops were either in Linear A or in Linear B). Next comes the supersyllabogram PA3 (PAI), which probably refers to pa3ni/pa3nina/pa3niwi Old Minoan (OM) = millet -or- spelt. KARATI on line 2 is also OM and appears to correspond to Anatolian, karasa = a large jar, which makes sense in context. PA3 (PAI), which probably refers to pa3ni/pa3nina/pa3niwi Old Minoan (OM) = millet -or- spelt is then repeated. Line 3 begins with the supersyllabogram (SSYL) TE, which means tereza, OM for the standard unit of liquid measurement, while qanuma is OM for some kind of pulse crop, any one of broad beans (faba/fava), chick peas, lentils or vetch. On line 4 we find the word SIKIRA si/kera, a sweet-fermented liquor, Cf. Linear B sikero. When we combine this word with KIRETANA kri/qania on line 5 we get SIKIRA KIRETANA, which means of course a barley-like sweet-fermented liquor, in other words, beer, probably sweetened with honey.

VERSO: SUPU2 is a pithos or alternatively sappu, which is Semitic for bowl (practically the same thing). Hence, this decipherment is sound. The SSYL KA probably refers to karasa (Anatolian), meaning a large jar, which reinforces the decipherment of SUPU2. PA3 (PAI) on line 2 again refers to millet or spelt. ZARI- continued on line 3 with – RE is unknown, but has something to do with crops, followed as it is with the symbols for harvesting shares. KAPA karpa/ is ripe crops. PAJARA on line 4 appears to mean indentured land.

All in all, this decipherment is coherent, and holds together well.


Common pulse crops in the late Neolithic, Early, Middle and Late Bronze Ages Mediterranean and Near East, including Minoan Crete:

Minoan pulses diet

Go to:

http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/news/news-detail/en/c/429320/

Faba beans (Vicia Faba) fa/ba ancient Greek

Faba beans are among the world’s most ancient crops. During the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages, they played an important role in spreading agriculture throughout Eurasia and North Africa, along with other pulses and cereals. They can be found in numerous archaeological deposits.

Peas (Pisum sativum)

Peas also belong to one of the oldest domesticated crops. Archaeological evidence dates its existence back to 10 000 BC to the Near East and Central Asia. During the Stone and Bronze ages they spread to Europe and the Mediterranean and then to India in 200 BC.

Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum)

Chickpeas originated in an area located between the southeast of Turkey and the western part of the Fertile Crescent. They were domesticated around 7 000 BC. This is the reason why chickpeas are culturally bound to the Middle East and Asia, and why they are a basic constituent of Asian diets.

Lentils (Lens culinaris)

Lentils were also domesticated in the Fertile Crescent – in what today is Iraq. As far back as 8 500-6 000 BC, archaeological evidence confirms the existence of lentils. Just like chickpeas, lentils are a basic constituent of Asian diets.

Cow peas (Vigna unguiculata)

Cow peas, as we know them today, originated in Sub Saharan Africa but the origin of wild varieties has been traced to southern Africa. Although today cowpeas are cultivated throughout the world, they are still an important component of traditional intercropping systems in the dry savannahs of Sub-Saharan Africa due to their high shade tolerance. Ever since their domestication, they have been culturally bound to this region.

Lupine (Lupinus)

Lupinus is regarded as one of the most diverse genus in the legumes family. It is crucial for its very high protein content – up to 45%- and for its versatility, ranging from human nutrition to forage. The two main varieties domesticated by ancient civilizations are part of two geographically isolated groups: White Lupine, (Lupinus albus) of the Old World group and Andean Lupine (Lupinus mutabilis) of the New World group.

AND also download this highly relevant document:

thesis_hum_1997_riley_frank_richard.pdf

The Role of the Traditional Mediterranean Diet in the Development of Minoan Crete:

In this extremely detailed analysis of grain and pulse crops vetch, bitter vetch, lentils, chick peas, peas, grass peas, Celtic beans are all mentioned, with a great deal of information on how they were grown and how they were fully incorporated into the Minoan diet. 

Since we have already deciphered, in some cases, with complete accuracy, the types of grain crops the Minoans grew, ie. kunisu for emmer wheat and dideru for einkorn wheat, plus sara2 (sarai) for flax, among others, with the information on the most common Bronze Age pulse crops we now have in hand, we may now draw the tentative conclusion that any one of the following words, in order of frequency of use on the tablets, are very likely pulse crops:

1 minute 20 10 10 6+ = 46+
2 pura2 (purai) 6 (with figs) 40 (with grains) (Haghia Triada only) 40
3 qanuma 20 
all from Haghia Triada only...

Any 3 of the above probably refer to broad beans (faba/fava) , chick peas *,  lupins *,  vetch * in any permuted order. 

and the crops they represent, permuted, could be any of the following, with the most likely candidates marked by an asterisk (*):

broad beans (faba/fava) *, chick peas *,  lupins *,  vetch *

Since four pulses are listed in English, versus only 3 in Minoan, one of the 4 is not one of the 3. But we cannot know which one.

with the following pulses also possible, but less likely, candidates:

bambara, cow peas, green peas, pigeon peas

 

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