Tag Archive: Linear A decipherment

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS: 5 major articles by Richard Vallance Janke,  Spyros Bakas and Rita Roberts

In a major new development in the international dissemination of 5 papers by Spyros Bakas, Rita Roberts and Richard Vallance Janke, the following 5 articles are now universally available on WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, with 47,480,622 files:

Wikimedia Commons

These articles are:
CLICK on each logo to download each article:

1. Vallance Janke, Richard. “An Archaeologist’s Translation of Pylos Tablet TA  641-1952 (Ventris) with an Introduction to Supersyllabograms in the Vessels & Pottery Sector in Mycenaean Linear B”, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade). Vol. 11 (2015) ISSN 1452-7448. pp. 73-108

Wikimedia commons Pylos tablet PY641-1952620
2. Vallance Janke, Richard. “The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B”, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade). Vol. 11 (2015) ISSN 1452-7448. pp. 73-108 

Wikimedia commons decipherment of supersyllabograms620
3. Vallance Janke, Richard. “The Mycenaean Linear B  “Rosetta Stone” for Linear A Tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) Vessels and Pottery”, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade). Vol. 12 (2016) ISSN 1452-7448. pp. 75-98  

Wikimedia commons Mycenaean Rosetta Stone for Linear A620
4. Vallance Janke, Richard and Bakas, Spyros. “Linear B Lexicon for the Construction of Mycenaean Chariots”, Epohi/Epochs. Vol. XXIV (2017), Issue 2. pp. 299-315 

Wikimedia commons Linear B Lexicon for the construction of Mycenaean chariots
5. Roberts, Rita & Janke, Richard Vallance, consulting editor.
The Minoan and Mycenaean Agricultural Trade and Trade Routes in the Mycenaean Empire

Wikimedia commons Minoan and Mycenaean620

The appearance of these articles on WIKIMEDIA COMMONS greatly enhances their international profile. 

Richard Vallance Janke
June 19 2018

Now on academia.edu Guidelines for submissions to KONOSO Press:

Click on the logo below to go to Guidelines for submissions to KONOSO Press. If you wish to DOWNLOAD the document, simply click on the green DOWNLOAD button on the right side of the page.


Linear A fragment HT 55 (Haghia Triada) RECTO: wool and silk dress of a priestess:


The RECTO of this fragment probably deals with wool and silk textiles. The word KIRO, which appears to mean “box” or “chest”, may imply that there is a silken garment trimmed with wool in a chest. But there is no way to substantiate this as this is a fragment, and so the words do not necessarily string together in any way which makes any real sense. The fragment may imply that a Minoan priestess is wearing a dress of silk trimmed with wool (hence the instrumental singular for wool), which has been recently stored in or is still stored in a chest to retain its freshness. Notice in the modern recreation photo on the left that the trim on the woman’s dress appears to be of wool. Perhaps she is a priestess of one of the peak sanctuaries. This makes sense, as there were many peak sanctuaries in Minoan Crete. Post revised courtesy of Jean-Philippe Gingras.

Minoan Linear A seal, ZOTE, possibly a belt or girdle (of gold?)

Minoan seal crete ZOTE girdle belt

This Linear A Minoan seal is incised with the syllabograms ZO + TE, which form the word ZOTE, apparently equivalent to ancient Greek zwsth/r = belt or girdle. If this is the meaning we can take from the seal, it is likely the belt was gold, as per the fresco of the cup bearers in the South Portico, Knossos.

Cretan hieroglyphics on a four-sided seal/nodule may reveal signs of early Linear A:

Cretan hieroglyphics DINA NIMA AWADI AWAMA


The word WANAKA = King, which apparently adorns this Royal Seal from Malia (Click to view this seal on the Minoan Language Blog:

Hieroglyphic inscription WANAKA Malia seal

The seal has been deciphered as it stands here by Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog.

It quite looks like the term WANAKA = King appears on this Royal Seal form Malia. I have flagged what appear to be the syllabograms WA NA and KA on this seal. Of course, the reading is definitely open to interpretations other than this one. And yet, the meaning seems to suit the context well enough. If this reading is correct, then this sealing is one of the earliest attestations of the Linear B syllabary in existence. If correct, it is also the very first reading ever in the history of Linear A and of Linear B of the Linear A-B term for king, i.e. WANAKA, #a/nac.

Linear A fragment, Tylissos TY Zb 4, possibly an (embroidered) basket:


Linear A fragment, Tylissos TY Zb 4 possibly deals with an (embroidered) basket, or simply with a basket, though we cannot be certain. The apparent Mycenaean-derived KITAA is doubtful and certainly unconfirmed.

Linear A sealing Knossos KN Zg 55, dealing with healing and health:

KN ZG 55 seals

This sealing from Knossos apparently deals with the superstitious Minoan art of healing… not that the Minoans were the only superstitious ones in the ancient world. Everyone was! The term, JASAJA is apparently Mycenaean-derived, and would therefore signify healing. From the RECTO, it appears that a boars head is being sacrificed with a knife, while on the VERSO, an olive branch is offered in guise of healing, given that the olive branch was considered as a symbol of peace, hence, healing in the ancient world, just as it still is nowadays.

olive branch chiropractic


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.

Guidelines for submissions to Les Éditions KONOSO Press now on academia.edu:

guidelines KONOSO Press academia.edu

Guidelines for submissions to Les Éditions KONOSO Press, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, are now on academia.edu. Our new Press will be publishing online monographs and books only, from 40 to 200 pages long. Submissions will be accepted starting July 1 2018. Any person submitting papers should expect to wait 6 months before we can advise that person whether or not we have accepted the submission. Submissions guidelines are very strict. You must read them exhaustively. Submissions not following these guidelines will be automatically rejected.

The editors on our board of editors are of the highest calibre with the finest credentials. Here is the list of all our editors:

ISBN 978-0-9868289-1-1

Board of Editors/Conseil des rédacteurs

Richard Vallance Janke, University of Western Ontario, Emeritus


Alexandre Solcà

Associate Editor-in-Chief, Université de Genève

Spyros Bakas,

Chief Associate Editor, University of Warsaw

Associate Editors:

John Bengtson, University of Minnesota

Julia Binnberg, University of Oxford, Classical Archaeology

Nic Fields, University of Newcastle, England

Jean-Philippe Gingras, Royal Military College of Canada

Jorrit Kelder, University of Oxford, Oriental Studies, Associate Professor

Roman Koslenko, Mykolaiv National University & National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine

Haris Koutelakis, Kapodistrian University of Athens

Massimo Perna, Università degli Studi di Napoli Suor Orsola Benincasa

Philipp Schwinghammer, Universität Leipzig, Historisches Seminar

Olivier Simon, Université de Lorraine, independent researcher, PIE

The most renowned of these editors are Spyros Bakas of the University of Warsaw, an expert in ancient Mycenaean and Greek warfare, and Jorrit Kelder of the University of Oxford, one of the worlds most famous researchers in Mycenaean Linear B.

Our Press promises to become one of the world’s most prestigious publishers in ancient Aegean studies in short order.

You may submit your first paper as of July 1 2018.

Richard Vallance Janke, Editor-in-Chief, May 9 2018

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 fragment, HT 55 (Haghia Triada), with conjectural Mycenaean-derived vocabulary:

Linear A HT 55a.2.2. Haghia Triada fragment

Two of the alleged Mycenaean-derived vocabulary on this Linear A fragment, HT 55 (Haghia Triada) has been reconstructed from words on it which are clearly truncated, i.e. TO(KU)? and (A)RIJA?, the latter being a personal or place name, if these are the missing words at all, being clearly open to a great deal of skepticism. But better try and reconstruct the missing meanings than not. MARE can be interpreted one or two ways, either as wool or as honey. To my mind, the second interpretation makes more sense, given that corn is sweet, and may be further sweetened with honey.

Linear A tablet KH 5 (Khania) ca. 1450 BCE – adorned with ivy:

Linear A KH 5 inscription from Chania, circa 1450 BCE b

This tablet, which significantly dates from 1450 BCE, right at the time of the transition from the Linear A to the Linear B syllabary, appears to have 3 Mycenaean-derived words inscribed on it. Because it was probably one of the very last tablets inscribed in Linear A, it could just as well have been inscribed in Linear B. The first two syllables of ADAKISIKA, i.e. ADA, are Old Minoan (OM), falling within the substrate of the original Minoan language. Both ADA and ADU appear to deal with large(r) quantities in the Minoan language. And the first and second words, ADAKISIKA + WISASANE = adorned with plenty of ivy in equal measure, make for a perfectly acceptable phrase. WINASAO very much appears to be a variant of Linear A WINU, which means wine. It may be cast in an archaic Minoan ablative absolute, which would perhaps explain its orthography.

Since the rest of this tablet is in Old Minoan (OM), the language of the original Minoan language substrate, it is indecipherable.

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 complete decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 86 (Haghia Triada):


In the previous post, we witnessed the almost complete decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 95 (Haghia Triada). Now we are presented with a full decipherment down to the last word of HT 86 (Haghia Triada), which is practically a mirror-image of HT 95. 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. 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).

Here is the decipherment of HT 86:


1. AKARU (in a) field, KUNI…

2. SU = emmer wheat + ideogram for “wheat” + fractions 20 +SARU = barley (shair, Arabic) 20

3. DIDERU = emmer wheat QARA2WA = roasted wheat kernels 10

4. ADU = unit of dry measurement something like bushels + DAME = chickpea condiment + + ideogram for “wheat” fraction 20

5. MINUTE = finely sifted grain as in Egyptian hieroglyhics


1. AKARU (in a) field, KU…

2. NISU = emmer wheat + ideogram for “grain” 20 + SARU = barley (as above)

3. DIDE… (truncated) = DIDERU = emmer wheat, probably 10 or 20.

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 HT 6 (Haghia Triada), ripe figs, pistachio-nuts, pomegranates & roses:

Linear A tablet HT 6 Haghia Triada



15 units (something like litres) liquid of ripe figs from fig trees, 24 pistachio-nuts, 10 barley cakes (apparently seasoned with pistachio-nuts), 2 roses, and 4 more units (something like kilograms) of ripe fruit + 22 DAQERA? (some kind of fruit), 22 3/4 units (something like litres or kilograms) falling to earth + 15 1/2 figs


3 growing (grown) ripe (i.e. the figs) with 1 unit (something like a flagon) of drops of wine in 3 units (something like kilograms or kilolitres) of honey, and 66 units (something like kilograms) of DADUMA (some kind of fruit, possibly or even probably grapes) + 3 1/4 units of REKI? + 35 SAMA? + 17 1/2 PA3NINA?

So as we can see, most of the vocabulary on this tablet appears to be Mycenaean-derived. The tablet appears to deal with a wonderful recipe for dessert.

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 A tablet (HT 8) for Ancient Foods and anyone who likes beer, dealing with barley wine = beer:

Linear A tablet HT 8 Haghia Triada

There is little doubt but that this tablet deals with the production of barley wine, which is the Mycenaean + Classical Greek word for wine. Here is the running partial translation, with enough text in the Mycenaean-derived superstrate to make it quite clear that this tablet deals with the production of beer:

RECTO: JEDI (OM) = a person? (involved in the production of) KI = 1 unit (something like a pithos or very large vase) of barley wine, the PA3KARATI (OM) sowing? (of the barley for this barley wine) + TE = tereza (OM) = liquid unit (of this barley wine) + 301 (unknown), 2 units + QA301* (unknown) + I (unknown) + production? of sweet fermented liquor, i.e. beer+ harvesting? Of barley


(serving) a large bowl (Semitic) + KA? And 1 large jar (Anatolian), 2 and 5 units (a large liquid amount), 2 of the first and 5 of the second + PA2? (unknown, possibly millet or spelt) + 1 unit of *301 (unknown) + ZARIRE? (OM, unknown) + harvesting share? of the ripe crop or fruit (i.e. barley for sweet fermented liquor) + 1 PAJARE? (OM) = indentured land? + *86 & *188 (both unknown), 1/2

While all of the Old Minoan words (OM) words on this tablet are conjectural, the New Minoan words (NM), such as barley and sweet fermented liquor and the Semitic and Anatolian words, a large bowl and a large jar, perhaps provide some clues as to the meaning of the latter. JEDI (OM) = person? is highly conjectural. The numeric syllabograms *301, *86 & *188, of which the phonetic value is unknown, cannot possibly be deciphered.

on academia.edu: Haghia Triada HT 88, another Linear A tablet apparently largely inscribed in Mycenaean-derived Greek:

Linear A tablet HT 88 academia.edu

The translation of the Mycenaean-derived vocabulary alone on Linear A tablet Haghia Triada HT 88, apparently largely inscribed by Richard Vallance Janke (University of Western Ontario, Emeritus) and Alexandre Solcà (Université de Genève) has been published on academia.edu. This decipherment of the apparent of the Mycenaean-derived vocabulary alone on Linear A Tablet Haghia Triada HT 88 is truly striking in many respects, and is more than well worth reading, especially by anyone well versed in Mycenaean Linear B. So please visit this document on academia.edu and at least download it, as illustrated above, by clicking on the DOWNLOAD button to the right of the article:

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