Tag Archive: grains

Linear B tablet HT 93 (Haghia Triada). What happens when there are not enough Mycenaean-derived words to decipher a Linear A tablet:

Linear A tablet HT 93 Haghia Triada

While it is a relatively straightforward matter to decipher Linear A tablets which contain a substantial portion of Mycenaean-derived vocabulary, the situation rapidly deteriorates the fewer Myenaean-derived words there are on the tablet or inscription. In fact, there is a point of no return in all too many cases. This is not quite the situation we are faced with when confronted with Linear A tablet HT 88 (Haghia Triada). But we are getting close to the precipice. There appear to be only 4 Mycenaean-derived words on this tablet, SERE = a corn silo, ASE = surfeit, OTI = with handles and KIRO, which seems to be a scribal error, since this word appears on the VERSO of the tablet with the large number 165 + fraction following it. So I suspect the scribe meant to inscribe KURO. As for the later archaic or classical Greek words to which these four words correspond, see the actual figure of the tablet above.

As for the remainder of the tablet, most of the vocabulary simply eludes us, with the exception of one word, DARIDA (HT 10, HT 85, HT 93 and HT 122), an old Minoan (OM) word, appearing in the Minoan substrate language, which definitely refers to some kind of vase. And if our interpretation of OTI is correct, then the vase is two-handled. The decipherment of OTI as two-handled is buttressed by the presence of the ideogram for a vase with two handles nearly adjacent to it. As for the rest of the tablet, with the exception of SARA2, which is ancient Semitic for barley or a similar grain crop, your guess is as good as mine. However, I suspect that QAQARU is another type of (large) vase, which in this case is used to store SARA2.

Linear A tablet HT 18 (Haghia Triada) is one of the most significant of all Linear A tablets with a Mycenaean-derived superstrate:

Linear A tablet HT 18 Haghia Triada

Linear A tablet HT 18 (Haghia Triada) is one of the most significant of all Linear A tablets with a Mycenaean-derived superstrate, because by means of supersyllabograms only, ie. QE + the ideogram for wheat/barley, KI + the ideogram for barley and NI + the ideogram for “figs and take special note of this! with NI incharged in a square, it conveys in the most condensed manner possible every possible interpretation of Mycenaean-derived vocabulary appearing on the tablet. There can be little or no doubt but that KI is the supersyllabogram for KIRETANA/KIRETA2 = barleykriqani/aj and that NI, and this is the clever little trick the scribe employs, represents fig trees in a field, since the supersyllabogram NI (for figs) is enclosed in a square, representing a field, in other words not just figs, but fig trees, are in a field.


Linear A words and ideograms for cereals + general Linear A ideograms:

all Linear A ideograms grains

The chart above lists almost all of the Linear A words and ideograms for cereals + general Linear A ideograms. The Linear A Semitic words and ideograms for cereals are identical to those found on Linear A tablets HT 86 and HT 95 (Haghia Triada). Simply refer to the previous posts on these two highly significant Linear A tablets to confirm these interpretations. Also found in this chart are general Linear A ideograms, the majority of which are identical to their Linear B counterparts, which should come as no surprise to anyone, considering that the Linear B syllabary is merely a refinement of the Linear A syllabary.

All-new all but complete decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 95 (Haghia Triada):


This is the latest and most accurate decipherment I have attempted to date of Linear A tablet HT 95 (Haghia Triada). Although the tablet is inscribed entirely in Old Minoan (OM), with the sole exception of DADUMATA, which is almost certainly some kind of grain, it can be translated almost entirely. Note too that the RECTO and VERSO are practically mirror-images of one another (Cf. Linear A tablet HT 86 below). And if this tablet can be deciphered, then its close twin and practically mirror-image, HT 86 (Haghia Triada) is equally susceptible to decipherment, and in fact in the case of the latter, it (HT 86) is fully decipherable, down to the last word. This is the first time ever I have succeeded in deciphering two almost identical Linear A tablets inscribed entirely in Old Minoan (OM), the original Minoan substrate language. 

All of the cereal products on this tablet are Semitic, some of them still acknowledged to this day in Arabic.

This constitutes a major advancement in the decipherment of Linear A, all the more so, since DAME & SARU appear on other Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada. So we are making at least some progress in the decipherment of the original Minoan substrate language, Old Minoan (OM).

The newest decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 86, which is practically a mirror-image of HT 95, appears in the next post.

Linear A tablet 10 (Haghia Triada), a crazy-quilt hodgepodge:


Linear A tablet 10 (Haghia Triada) is a crazy-quilt hodgepodge of 2 apparent Mycenaean-derived words (MEZA & TARINA), Semitic (KUNISU), with all of the rest of the words being Old Minoan (OM). Moreover, there are two numeric syllabograms U*305 & *312, which are completely unknown. There is also some confusion with the numerals on this tablet. I disagree with Prof. John G. Younger’s interpretation of some of them. So as we can see, in spite of the 2 apparent Mycenaean-derived words, it is next to impossible to decipher this tablet, try as we might.

Translation of Linear B tablet KN 347 D x 01 by Rita Roberts:

Linear A tablet KN 347 D x 01


New interpretation of Linear A tablet HT 10 (Haghia Triada):

Linear A tablet HT 10 Haghia Triada

A few months ago I posted my first interpretation of Linear A tablet HT 10 (Haghia Triada). Since then, I have made a few small tweaks. These are (a) the Linear A word kunisu, which is derived from Semitic kunissu, definitely means “emmer wheat”. (b) The supersyllabogram PA stands for Linear A pa3ni (paini) (noun)/pa3nina (painina) (adjective), which means either “millet” or “spelt”, since these two grain crops are the second most common grains cultivated everywhere in the Bronze age after kunisu “emmer wheat” and didero “einkorn wheat”. (c) the translation “offscourings/chaff” for ruma/rumata/rumatase (noun, adjective, noun in the instrumental plural) makes sense in context. (d) dare probably means “with a firebrand or torch”, since the tablet appears to deal with drought, when dead crops, i.e. grains in this case, are burnt. (e) Although tanati resembles the dative singular of the ancient Greek work qa/natoj, but this interpretation is doubtful.

The supersyllabogram PA pa3ni/pa3nina/pa3niwi OM = millet -or- spelt -or- pa3qe, paiqe (+ ideogram for wheat) LIG = a kind of grain similar to wheat:

millet or spelt

The supersyllabogram PA pa3ni/pa3nina/pa3niwi OM = millet -or- spelt -or- pa3qe, paiqe (+ ideogram for wheat) LIG = a kind of grain similar to wheat appears on all of these tablets from Haghia Triada (HT), Petras (PE), Tylissos (TY) and Zakros (ZA)

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

all of which which deal with grains, with the exception of HT 125, dealing with olive oil. The decipherment of millet or spelt (one or the other) is confirmed. It is impossible to decipher PA in the instance of olive oil.

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.

Tablet, Malia Palace MA/P Hi 02 in so-called Cretan hieroglyphs, dealing with crops and vessels (pottery):

Cretan tablet Malia Palace MAP hi 02

Tablet, Malia Palace MA/P Hi 02 in so-called Cretan hieroglyphs, which are not hieroglyphs at all, but rather ideograms and logograms, is highly intriguing. Actually, this tablet is partially decipherable. The front side definitely deals with the produce of olive trees, i.e. olive oil and also with wheat crops. If anyone is in any doubt over the meaning of the logogram 5. TE, which looks exactly like the Linear A and Linear B syllabogram TE, this doubt can easily be swept away by mere comparison with the logogram/ideogram for wheat in several ancient scripts, some of which are hieroglyphic, such as Egyptian, others which are cuneiform and yet others which bear no relation to either hieroglyphs or cuneiform, or for that matter, with one another, as for instance, the Harrapan and Easter Island exograms.

comparison of Cretan TE with symbol for wheat or barley in various ancient scripts

In fact, the recurrence of an almost identical ideogram/logogram across so many ancient scripts is astonishing. It is for this reason that I am in no doubt over the interpretation of 5. TE as signifying what in the Cretan script.

Next up, we have 3a. & 3b., which I interpret, and probably correctly, as signifying “ewe” and “ram” respectively. In fact, the resemblance of 3b. to a ram’s head is uncanny. What is passingly strange is this: the ram’s head figures so prominently on the second side of the tablet, being much larger than any other ideogram/logogram on the tablet. Why is this so? There simply has to be a reason. But for the time being, I am stumped. Since 3a. & 3b. Relate to sheep, it stands to reason that 6. is another type of livestock. My money is on “pig”. 7. and 9. are both vessels, 7. probably being either a wine or water flask and 9. being a spice container, as it is strikingly similar to the Linear B ideogram for the same. 8. looks like some kind of grain crop, and so I take it to be so.

As for the rest of the ideograms/logograms, they are still indecipherable.

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.

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. 

Statistical incidence of various types of gains and of flax on Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada and elsewhere, now on academia.edu

Statistical incidence of various types of grains and of flax on Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada and elsewhere



Statistical incidence of various types of grains on Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada and elsewhere:

incidence of barley einkorn emmer on Linear A tablets

akaru = field HT 2 (20+) HT 86 X2 (20+ )

TOTAL = 40+


kireta2 (kiretai) = barley HT 85 (1) + HT 129 (33)

TOTAL = 34

kiretana = barley-like HT 2 (54+) HT 8 X 2 (5) HT 108 (1) HT 120 (60)

TOTAL = 120

einkorn wheat

dideru = einkorn wheat HT 86 X 2 (2nd. trunc.) (20) HT 95 X 2 (20)

TOTAL = 40

emmer wheat

kunisu = emmer wheat HT 10 (0) HT 86 X 2 (40+) HT 95 X 2 (30)

TOTAL = 70+


[sara2 = flax HT 18 (10) HT 28 X 2 (21) HT 30 (0) HT 32-34 (0) HT 90 (20) HT 93 (20) HT 94 (5) HT 97 (0) HT 99 (4+) HT 100-102 (985+) HT 105 (234) HT 114 (10) HT 121 (5) HT 125 (2) HT 130 (0)

TOTAL = 1306+

+ saru (oblique case) HT 86 X 3 (41+) HT 95 X 2 (30) HT 123+124 (16 )

TOTAL = 87+

TOTAL for all references to flax = 1393]

spelt or millet

dame = spelt or millet HT 86 (20) HT 95 X2 (20) HT 120 (74)

TOTAL = 94

millet or spelt

qera2u/qera2wa = millet or spelt HT 1 (197) HT 95 X2 (17)
TOTAL = 214

durare = durum wheat? Knossos KN Zc 7 (0)


minute = a type of grain -or- and for a month HT 86 (20) HT 95 X2 (20) HT 106 (6+)

TOTAL = 46+

pura2 = a type of grain HT 28 (6) HT 116 (45) KN 54 (0)

TOTAL = 51

qanuma = ditto HT 116 (20) KH 88 (Khania) (10)

TOTAL = 20

standard units of measurement on all Linear A tablets:

adu HT 85 (0) HT 86 (0) HT 88 (20) HT 92 (680) HT 95 (0) HT 99 (0) HT 133 (55) (bales?)

TOTAL = 755

adureza (0) = standard unit of dry measurement, something like a bushel

dureza (7 ) = variant of the same


kireza ( 42) = standard unit of measurement for figs, dates or grapes = 1 basket

TOTAL = 42

reza (67+ ) = standard unit of linear measurement

TOTAL = 67+

tereza (0) = standard unit of liquid measurement

© by Richard Vallance Janke 2017

Linear A tablet HT 133 (Haghia Triada) fully deciphered:

Linear A tablet HT 133 Haghia Triada

The intriguing thing about this tablet is this: apart from the word adu, which apparently means something like bales, the rest of the tablet contains only supersyllabograms. If indeed adu does refer to something like bales of wheat, and if te is the abbreviation for terikama, which refers to something like an acre, then the tablet makes complete sense. 55 bales per acre. A good yield.


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.


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.

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

Linear A tablet HT 14 Haghia Triada


Decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 95 (recto/verso) almost intact:

Linear A tablet HT 95 recto verso

Even though there is only one word of probable Mycenaean derivation, saru, from Greek saro, which literally means “a broom”, and in this instance, which refers to a threshing floor or the process of threshing wheat, almost all of the remaining Old Minoan words on this tablet can be deciphered more or less accurately. The Minoan word kunisu definitely means “emmer wheat”, while dideru is “roasted einkorn”. Even though we do not know exactly what the other types of grains or wheat, dame and minute are, it is highly likely that both of these words are the plural of the diminutives damai and minuta2 (minutai), which in turn implies that these terms refer to fine grains. I take it from context that dadumata means “harvesting”.

And so the decipherment flies.

Here are illustrations of emmer wheat and roasted einkorn:

roasted einkorn and emmer wheat

POST 1,500: Phaistos fragments in Linear A, # 3 = 8a/8b (recto/verso), harvesting olives and wheat with a team of oxen:

Phaistos PH 8a 8b PD20 PO35 36

Phaistos fragments in Linear A 8a/8b apparently deal with the harvesting of olives from 8 olive trees + 2 bushel-like units of grains or wheat by 11 harvesters employing a team of oxen. It certainly makes perfect sense. There is also mention of 1 bushel-like unit of sharia wheat.  When I say “bushel-like”, I am merely making an approximation, since we have no idea of the exact actual standard unit of dry measurement for grain was in Mycenaean times.  Note that since this fragment is from Phaistos, it is much more likely that it is inscribed primarily in Mycenaean than in Old Minoan, since Phaistos was a Mycenaean settlement. So once again, we are faced with the prospect that we have here a fragment inscribed in Linear A just prior to the adoption of Linear B as the official Mycenaean syllabary, and once again, the fragment probably dates from ca. 1450 BCE. This happenstance, if that is what it is, lends further credence to the hypothesis that a number of Linear A tablets were inscribed either in an admixture of Old Minoan, the original Minoan language, and New Minoan, the Mycenaean derived superstratum. In this particular case, I would even go so far as to contest that even the word sara2 (sarai) is an Old Minoan hold out which leaked into Mycenaean Greek. As I shall demonstrate in the next post, there appear to be at least two score Old Minoan words which survived into Mycenaean Greek. This phenomenon is analogous to Anglo-Saxon words surviving into Medieval and Modern English, even though Germanic (i.e. Old English or Anglo-Saxon) comprises only 26 % of all English vocabulary, the other 64 % + being either of Norman French, Latin or Greek provenance.  

The probability that latter-day Linear A fragments appear to be inscribed in a mixture of Old Minoan and New Minoan (the Mycenaean derived superstratum) lends further credence that the Linear A syllabary, in its latter-day existence, just prior to its abandonment in favour of the new official Linear B syllabary, was simultaneously the syllabary of both Old Minoan and New Minoan, at least by ca. 1450 BCE.  

This is post 1,500, in a long run of posts since the inauguration of our major Linear A, Linear B and Linear C site in the spring of 2013, making this the premier Internet site in its league. 

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