Tag Archive: tablets

Brian Wyble’s carved facsimile of Linear B tablet KN 349 J b 12. He made this himself. Amazing!

Brian Wyble's facsimile of Linear B tablet KN 349 J b 12

Linear B text Latinized:

Rukito apudosi + ideogram for “olive oil” 52+ (because it is right



52 + units (probably amphorae) of olive oil, delivery to Lykinthos.

Transliterated into archaic Greek:

n /b / a0mfiforh/#ei e1laia, a0pu/dosij Lu/kinqo.

Brian is our newest student of Linear B. He already has a fundamental understanding of ancient Greek, although I am sure he realizes from the archaic Greek text above that he needs to master archaic Greek. This should come to him in no time flat.

Welcome from all of us to the study of Linear B, Brian!

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.

How can so-called Cretan hieroglyphs be hieroglyphs when there are only 45 of them?

Until now most researchers have simply assumed that the 45 Cretan symbols (by my count), exclusive of numerics, must be hieroglyphs. But the evidence appears to gainsay this hypothesis. As the table below makes quite clear, there are only 45 Cretan symbols, to which

only 27 may possibly/probably/definitely be assigned meanings.

possible or probable or definite known Cretan hieroglyphs

The significance of the remaining 18 are currently beyond the bounds of decipherment:

ALL unknown Cretan seal symbols

So this lands us with a total of only 45 Cretan symbols. If and when we compare this number with the approximately 1,000 Egyptian hieroglyphs, the whole notion that the Cretan symbols are hieroglyphs comes apart at the seams and is shattered.

sample of 1000 Egyptian hieroglyphs

And that is not the end of it. There are anywhere between 600 and 1,000 symbols in Cuneiform.


So once again, the massive proliferation of symbols, i.e. hieroglyphs, in Egyptian, and of symbols in Cuneiform make a mockery of the notion that the Cretan symbols are hieroglyphs. But if they are not hieroglyphs, what are they? It would appear that they are ideograms or logograms on seals and nodules which serve to tag the contents of the (papyrus) documents they seal. This hypothesis makes a lot of sense, since almost all Cretans and Minoans, administrators, merchants and consumer, were illiterate. These people were probably able to master the minimal number of 45 ideograms and logograms which we find on 100s of surviving seals. But while the illiterate hoy polloi could not read the script on the sealed papyrus (or leaf tablets sometimes), the scribes most definitely could. This leaves us open to yet another hypothetical question? What is the script of the texts? How many symbols or syllabograms (if the latter yet existed) would have been required to write the papyrus or inscribe the leaf tablets? Was this script, if script it was, an early form of Linear A, such as Festive Linear A? Or was it actually Linear A? This question or hypothesis demands further investigation.

Translation of Linear B tablet Knossos KN 854 K j 11 by Rita Roberts:

Knossos tablet KN 854 K j 11 by Rita Roberts


Translation of Linear B Knossos tablet KN 355 J b 19 by Rita Roberts:

Knossos tablet KN 355 J b 19 by Rita Roberts



Linear A fragment PH 8 (Phaistos), largely indecipherable for scanty text:

Linear A fragment Phaistos PH 8

My interpretation of Linear A fragment PH 8 (Phaistos), largely indecipherable for scanty text, is very much at odds with that of Prof. John G. Younger. This is not the first time either.

Linear A fragment from Phaistos with a fish remarkably resembling the ancient Christian-like iconography of the fish:

Phaistos Linear A tablet with fish Christian-like iconography

This Linear A fragment from Phaistos, which was found in the same cache as PH 7, is remarkable insofar as we find on it the sole occurrence of the ideogram for fishon any Linear A tablet anywhere, regardless of provenance.

This symbol is remarkable for two reasons. First, it is clearly a reflection of the inscription on Phaistos fragment PH 7, which reads as follows, “(illumined by) the firebrand of the goddess of healing, the bread of healing with water from a cup”. If this is not reminiscent of the Christian communion, I do not know what is. But we can go even further. The resemblance between the fish ideogram on this Linear A fragment from Phaistos to the fragment bearing an anchor, fish and Greek chi ro symbols from the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

chi-rho fish anchor fragment from catacombs of saint sebastian

is so striking that one is left wondering how this can possibly be. However, there may be less of a mystery here than we might otherwise imagine. It is a well known historical phenomenon in ancient religions that a later religion frequently borrows its iconography from a former.

Additional critical  highly relevant commentary by Daniel Rocha:

It is true that later religions borrow from older religions, but it seems that these symbols kind of run in parallel to Judaism, as far as I know. In any case, the symbols you are mentioning are linked to the worship of Atargatis. This deity used to be the wife of God in the very primitive versions of Judaism. If what you are pointing is true, it seems that the worship of Mary is justified, since she would be the wife of God. But, as far as I know, this cult among Jews did not exist in the 1st century CE.

But look here: “It has also been proposed that the element -gatis may relate to the Greek gados “fish”.[14] (For example, the Greek name for “sea monster” or “whale” is the cognate term ketos. So Atar-Gatis may simply mean “the fish-goddess Atar”.”




But it could be like gados mana, fish food or something along these lines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manna#Origin

Plus an additional comment by Richard Vallance Janke:

The Linear A word keta/kete, which very much appears to be the same word, first in the accusative of aspect (keta) and secondly in the instrumental sing. (kete, meaning “with fish”), of which the masculilne singular in Linear A would have been keto, and which is the equivalent of ancient Greek gados. If this is the case, then the fish ideogram on this fragment from Phaistos echoes even more closely the text of Phaistos PH 7, which as we have already seen is a religious ceremony involving a libation of water along with the bread of healing. If all of this rings true, then the relationship between these two fragments is so striking it simply cannot be ignored. Moreover, the Hebrew, manna (grains, bread), interpreted in Christianity as the bread of Heaven, also appears in Linear A as mana, another astonishing co-incidence.


Digital enhancement of Linear A & B tablets: #6 Linear A tablet ARKH 2 (Arkhanes)

Linear A tablet ARKH 2 Arkhanes digitized

Digital enhancement of Linear A & B tablets: #5 Linear A tablet MA 1 (Malia)

Linear A Malia MA 1 digitized

Digital enhancement of Linear A & B tablets: #4 Linear A tablet KH 11 (Khania)

Linear A tablet KH 11 Khania digitized


Digital enhancement of Linear A & B tablets: #3 Linear A tablet KH 10 (Khania)

Linear A tablet KH 10 Khania digitized

Digital enhancement of Linear A & B tablets: #2 Linear A tablet KH 5 (Khania)

Here is the digitally enhanced version of KH 5:

Linear A tablet KH 5 Khania digitized

versus the original photo of it as found on the Internet:

Linear A tablet KH 5 Khania original

The original photo is severely underexposed, fuzzy and definitely off-colour.

Digital enhancement of Linear A & B tablets: # 1 Linear A tablet ZA 14 (Zakros)

Lineat A tablet digitally enhanced

So many photographs of both Linear A and B tablets on the Internet are of such poor quality that they are often practically illegible, even when the entire inscriptions are extant. Photos are underexposed, fuzzy and off-colour. I have taken it upon myself to correct as many of these flaws as I possibly can. The results are sometimes nothing short of spectacular and usually very good. I hope everyone who uses them enjoys them to the fullest. You have my permission to reproduce them, but please do not alter their appearance. The amount of work I have to pour into each digitization can run to at least one hour.   

Locations of Linear A tablets at Haghia Triada, including the 14 I have deciphered:

Haghia Triada location of tablets in Linear A with my decipherments

This general plan of Haghia Triada with the locations of Linear A tablets incorporates the 14 tablets which I have managed to decipher more or less accurately to date.

Exquisite golden pin Zf 1 (Ayios Nikolaos Museum) fully deciphered in New Minoan: 

golden floral pin Linear A Zf 1 inscription Ayios Nikolaos Museum Crete in derived Mycenaean

Minoan Lilies Akrotiri and pancratium maritmum

This inscription, which appears to be entirely in Mycenaean derived New Minoan, is one of the loveliest I have ever come across, whether in Minoan or Mycenaean. There are similar inscriptions on Linear B tablets from Phaistos. The text waxes almost poetic and is quintessentially suited to the magnificent craftsmanship of this exquisite golden pin. The text in its entirety is utterly coherent, and is probably spot on. The syntax of the Greek had to be adjusted to meet the grammatical exigencies of the Minoan language. This explains the anomaly of qakisenuti, which is probably Minoan instrumental, hence “with (fine) craftsmanship”. And the craftsmanship is certainly that!

This decipherment lends greater credence than I had previously imagined to the distinct probability that at least a few Minoan inscriptions were in fact written entirely in Mycenaean derived proto-Greek with the syntax adjusted to the requirements of the Minoan language. I have already fully addressed this phenomenon in a previous post, which I urge you to reread, in order to place this decipherment in its proper perspective. You can read that post here:

Partial decipherment of Partial decipherment of Linear A tablet ZA 15 (Zakros) and the phenomenon of orthographic adjustment of superstratum words in the substratum language:


I am therefore finally convinced that decipherment of Mycenaean derived New Minoan is an eminently attainable goal.

A partial rational translation of another Minoan Linear A tablet on crops:

Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt has correctly pointed out that this decipherment I have assayed of what I took to be one Linear A tablet is in fact two entirely unrelated Linear A tablets, and  as such it must be considered as completely invalid. I am truly grateful to Ms. Leonhardt for bringing this serious gaffe to my attention. Once I have cleared the matter up, I shall repost my decipherment of both of these tablets in two separate posts.


This Linear B tablet clearly deals with various crops, with the lead in crop being grains or wheat, just as one would expect on either a Mycenaean Linear B tablet. By the same token, there is no reason to suppose that a Minoan Linear A tablet dealing with crops would not deal first and foremost with grains and wheat. The units of measurements identified on this tablet accord with those tentatively tabulated by Andras Zeke on the


I have already tentatively deciphered both adu and adaru in my Glossary of 107 Minoan Linear A words to appear in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 16 (2016), which is to be published sometime in 2018, since the publication date of this compendious international annual always lags behind by at least 18 months from the approximate date of submission of articles by authors, which in my case was November 2016.

What do all those supersyllabograms in Linear B associated with the ideogram for “saffron” mean?

In response to a recent query by a research colleague of mine regarding the use of 4 key supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B (A, TI, RO & WE) related to the harvesting and production of saffron, I am reposting this table:


It is clear that each of these 4 supersyllabograms functions in its own unique way. I sincerely hope that this reposting clears up any ambiguities that may have previously persisted.

International Historical Linguistics journals I will contact to review my articles in Archaeology and Science, 2016 & 2017:

Following is a list in 2 PARTS of international Historical Linguistics journals I will contact to review my articles in Archaeology and Science:

[1] Janke, Richard Vallance. The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, Archaeology and Science. Vol. 11 (2015), pp. 73-108.

As soon as this ground-breaking article is published in early 2017, I shall submit it for review in every one of the international journals below. 

[2] Janke, Richard Vallance. Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the “Rosetta Stone” to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery, Archaeology and Science. Vol. 12 (2016)

Since this article is not going to be published before mid-2017, and as yet has no pagination, I shall have to wait until then before I submit it for review to all of the periodicals below.



I have just finished the first draft of the article, “Pylos Tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Linear A tablet HT 31, vessels and pottery, which is to appear in Vol. 12 (2016) of the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade)  ISSN 1452-7448,


and I fully  expect that I shall completed the draft Master by no later than Oct. 15 2016, by which time I shall submit it to at least 5 proof-readers for final corrections, so that I can hopefully submit it to the journal by no later than Nov. 1 2016.   This article is to prove to be a ground-breaker in the decipherment of at least 21.5 % = 116 terms of the extant vocabulary = 510 terms by my count, of  Minoan Linear A, although I cannot possibly claim to have deciphered the language itself. Nor would I, since such a claim is unrealistic at best, and preposterous at worst. Nevertheless, this article should prove to be the most significant breakthrough in any partially successful decipherment in Minoan Linear A since the first discovery of a meagre store of Linear A tablets by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos 116 years ago.

More illustrations (Figures) for my article, “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the “Rosetta Stone” to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” in Vol. 12 (2016) of Archaeology and Science: PART B

Here you see more of the Figures, many of them of actual Minoan Linear A tablets as I have deciphered them, which are to appear in my article, “Pylos tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the “Rosetta Stone” to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) vessels and pottery” in Vol. 12 (2016) of the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science. 




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