Tag Archive: pigs



Rita Roberts translation of Knossos tablet KN 906 Da 02 corrected, livestock from the marketplace:

Linear B KN 906 D a 02

This is one of three tablets which Rita Roberts had to translate to qualify for her second year of university. This tablet is the easiest of the three, on an ascending scale of difficulty. Rita achieved the excellent mark of 91 % = A + for this tablet. Congratulations, Rita!

The other two tablets are extremely challenging, even for experts in Linear B.


Translation of Linear B tablet KN 903 Da 01 by Rita Roberts:

KN 903 D a 01 livestock

Here we have Rita Roberts translation of Linear B B tablet KN 903 Da 01. In her own decipherment, Rita translated Watoakoraya as a personal name of a shepherd or herdsman, but this is clearly wrong, because akoraya is genitive singular and means “from the market” and Wato is archaic dative singular for Watos, which is a place name. So the proper translation is “from the market at Watos”. Otherwise, her translation is sound.


Cretan pictograms – 24-29: livestock (possibly/probably/definitely) known:

Cretan pictograms livestock agricultural

The Cretan pictograms in the livestock sector pretty much speak for themselves. The only definite one is that for rams. The rest are probable, and open to dispute.


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.

 


Linear B tablet HT 118 (Haghia Triada), livestock on plots of land:

Minoan Linear A tablet HT 118 Haghia Triada

While this tablet does present some problems in the decipherment of the kinds of livestock on it, that does not mean we do not have a relatively reasonable picture of which ones they are. Beside madi, which appears to mean “pig” from the context, the other 3 are qaqaru, arisa and riruma. Now these 3 probably mean “cow”, “bull” and “ox” in turn. But if they must be permuted. In other words, if the first word, qaqaru, means “cow”, then the other two mean “bull” and “ox”, but in which order we cannot tell. Thus, it is necessary to permute all 3 words for all 3 kinds of livestock at each occurrence. The supersyllabogram KI almost certainly refers to “a plot of land”, because it is repeated twice, and after all, we do find livestock on plots of land.

I have now deciphered, in whole or in part, 17 tablets from Haghia Triada alone, and somewhere in the order of 35 altogether, regardless of provenance.


Common Linear A ideograms for livestock, crops, olives, barley and wheat:

Linear A ideograms 620

These are the most common Linear A ideograms for livestock, crops, olives, barley and wheat. Unlike Mycenaean Linear B, Linear draws a distinction between certain species of wheat, with the ideogram for “wheat” accompanied by the supersyllabogram DI meaning dideru = “roasted einkorn” and the same ideogram accompanied by QE , signifying qerie = “emmer wheat”, while at the same time using a slightly different ideogram for “barley”.  In addition, the word sara2 (sarai) = “sharia wheat”. All of these words are firmly established and confirmed in either the Old Minoan or the pre-Greek substratum. Most of the Linear A ideograms are either very similar or identical to their Linear B counterparts.

Here you see illustrations of emmer wheat and roasted einkorn:

roasted einkorn and emmer wheat

And here is sharia wheat:

sharia wheat


An Archaeologist’s Perspectives on Offerings to the Goddess Potnia, by Rita Roberts, on Pylos Tablet PY cc 665: Click to ENLARGE

Archaeologists Perespective on Pylos Tablet PY cc 665
Linear B tablets reveal to archaeologists information about offerings made during religious ceremonies, such as we find with this tablet Pylos PY cc 665, found at Pylos Crete, listing offerings of rams and pigs to the Goddess Potnia. It seems from archaeological evidence that the main animals including pigs were transported as a whole carcass into the main Cultic Room, and the not so meaty parts were selected for burning, whereas their meaty parts were first consumed by humans and then thrown into the fire. 

This is borne out by evidence of burnt animal sacrifices from the sanctuary of Agios Konstantinos, North East Peloponnese.


Rita Roberts, Archeologist, Herakleion, Crete

NOTE by Richard Vallance Janke: I learn something new everyday. I may be a linguist, but I am no archaeologist. So Rita, our resident archaeologist, now retired, who has lived in Herakleion, Greece, for years, and has worked right at the site of Knossos, serves as the perfect complement to myself, our resident linguist. I scarcely know how either of us could do without the other. We make the perfect team. I am sure you all can understand how very grateful I am that I met Rita less than two years ago, and how my teaching her Linear B, and her teaching me at least the basics of archaeology, have benefited us to the utmost. I know that I speak for Rita too when I say this. Click to ENLARGE:

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