Tag Archive: measurement



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.


Rita Roberts, translation of Knossos Linear B tablet, KN 556 R o 01:

KN 556 R o 01



Translation of Knossos Linear B tablet KN 554 R o 06 by Rita Roberts:

KN 554 R o 06


Translation of  Knossos Linear B tablet KN 552 R o 03 by Rita Roberts:

knossos linear b tablet kn 552 r o 03


syllabogram JU on Linear B tablets: KN 8a J i 01 & KN 20 Ji 22 (recto verso):

Here we have the first 2 examples of Linear B tablets with the syllabogram JU, first  KN 8a J i 01:

Knossos Linear B tablet 8a

and secondly, KN 20 Ji 22 (recto verso):

Knossos Linear B tablet 20ab

It is apparent fro these 2 tablets that it is probably impossible to decipher the syllabogram JU, at leasst for the time being. But however daunting the task to decipher it, we shall persist to the bitter end.


Linear A nodule on weighing emmer wheat with 3 supersyllabograms:

cretan_linear_a_tablet_nodule_minoan_aegean

This rare Linear A nodule is of particular interest because it contains 3 supersyllabograms, JE SE & U. I am unable to decipher JE and SE, but U appears to be the first syllabogram, actually a vowel, i.e. the first syllable of the word it represents, which in this case would appear to be the Mycenaean-derived word, udoro = u3droj = a water flask. But this interpretation may not make sense in the context of weighing KUNI(SU) or emmer wheat, unless a certain standardized amount of water in a water flask were poised at the other end of the scale measuring the emmer wheat. This is surely open to speculation.


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

Linear A tablet HT 6 Haghia Triada

Decipherment:

RECTO:

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

VERSO:

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.


Rita Roberts translation of Knossos tablet KN 160a J j 11, dealing with wine, corrected:

Linear B tablet KN 160a J j 11 wine

Rita Roberts translation of Knossos tablet KN 160a J j 11, dealing with wine, corrected, is trickier than the previous one she has translated to fulfill the requirements for her second year of university, KN 906 Da 02, dealing with livestock. Because this tablet is damaged, truncated left and right, it can be more difficult to establish meaning for certain terms. But not necessarily so. Rita struggled gainfully with this tablet. And this is understandable. What determines everything in the decipherment of any tablet, Linear A or B, is CONTEXT. If we cannot determine what any given word(s) mean in the actual context of the tablet, we sometimes fail to grasp the meanings of these words. But in the end, everything falls into place, and a relatively convincing translation can be gleaned from it, as we see in the illustration above.

The only character which occasions real difficulty is the supersyllabogram PE, which usually stands for seed(s). But if this the meaning to be extracted, it does not really make all that much sense, since grape seeds do not contribute much to wine, only the grapes do. The only explanation I can muster here is this: the grape seeds had to be extracted, i.e. removed, from the grapes to produce the wine. That makes sense. Finally, we find the ideogram for “olive oil” on this tablet, but how olive oil mixes with wine is a mystery to me, unless the olive oil is being served with bread along with the wine. But there is no mention of bread on this tablet. So some issues remain unresolved.

Richard


Linear A tablet ZA 8, another Linear A largely inscribed in proto-Greek and/or Mycenaean Greek, groats, figs and wheat dough:

Linear A tablet ZA 8 Zakros

The context of this tablet makes it quite clear that we are dealing with an inscription largely inscribed in proto-Greek and/or Mycenaean Greek. The free translation reads as follows:

the brim (of a vessel or pot), with groats inside it + 1 1/2 units of figs * (not in the pot!) in a slanting) urn OR 2/3rds of a unit of liquid measurement (of the figs) + 2/5 salty units (something like milligrams) of wheat dough + 1/2 mapa (unknown) ** + 2 1/4 maikase (unknown) ** + 2 1/2 daipita ** + 4 2/5 due measures.

* The supersyllabogram NI, which means figs, is almost certainly nira or nita in Linear A. The word nita occurs in the Linear A lexicon.

** mapa, maikasa and daipita are almost certainly Old Minoan (OM) words in the Minoan substrate. So far, these words appear to be indecipherable. So far … This tablet dates from the Late Minoan Ib period (ca. 1500-1450 BCE), hence it overlaps with Linear B tablets, such as those from Knossos, which date from the same period, making it all the more likely that it is largely inscribed in proto-Greek, possibly with some Mycenaen Greek words on it.

 

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Mycenaean Linear B units of dry measurement:

Linear B units of dry measurement

This chart speaks for itself. Notice that at least 4 of these dry units of measurement in Linear A have counterparts in Linear A.


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.


Rita Roberts’ translation of Linear B tablet KN 342 J e 01 concerning olive oil:

Knossos tablet KN 342 J e 01 by Rita Roberts


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.


Linear A tablet HT 38 (Haghia Triada) with 2 supersyllabograms, dealing with wine:

Linear A tablet TA HT 38 Linear A

This intriguing tablet apparently deals with containers for wine, ranging from a type of vase (daropa) to a wine-skin (aka) to cloth, which appears to have been treated to be water-proof. Since the ideogram for pig appears immediately to the left of aka, we can surmise that the wine-skin is made of pigs hide. The notion that cloth containers could have been water-proofed is somewhat in doubt, but the overall decipherment of HT 38 appears sound enough.

 


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. 


The first ever complete and entirely unique decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 RECTO (Haghia Triada):

Linear A tablet HT 123 Haghia Triada RECTO olives saffron flax wine

This decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 RECTO (Haghia Triada) is entirely unique and is the first ever of its kind. It incorporates several key features never before seen in any of the failed attempts at deciphering this tablet. These are:

1. It accurately identifies the crops as (a) olives (b) wine and (c) saffron/flax;

2. It accurately identifies what all previous decipherers” have erroneously assumed to be fractions as crop shares;

3. It accurately identifies the supersyllabogram PU, which no one has ever before been able to decipher as the Old Minoan word, punikaso = Phoenician or in the case of wine = purple, equivalent to Linear B ponikiyo.

4. It clearly and accurately identifies the shares of crops, usually 8 shares per;

5. The Old Minoan Linear A word kiro appears to mean they owed, which suits the context to a T;

6. the combination of the number 8 with harvesting fits the season exactly, the month for harvesting being lunar August (at least if the Minoans counted counted their lunar months from the first month in the year, which certainly appears to be the case).

7. Since the total 20 + is right-truncated on the last line, I have to assume that it refers to 20 or more months, given that 9 months are mentioned above, with the ninth month implying that 8 preceded it, for a total 17. The number 4 with the unknown character probably also references months, bringing the potential total to 21. Thus a grand total of 20+ months is not out of the question.

This is the first ever successful decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 123 (RECTO) in toto.

 

 


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

 

 

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