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Where are all these tens of thousands of rams from? Guess. One guess & you’re right!.

Where are all these tens of thousands of rams from? Guess. One guess & you’re right! Click to ENLARGE:

Knossos KN 917 1088 1089 1090 1096

As I pointed out in great detail in a previous post, the Minoan/Mycenaean economy ca. 1450 BCE, with its home base at the city of Knossos itself, spread out its sheep husbandry locales among several key sites, notably, Kytaistos, Phaistos & Lykinthos, mentioned 20 times each, Exonos 15 times, Davos 14, Lato & Syrimos 12, Lasynthos 9, Sugrita 8, Tylisos (or Tyllisos) 5 & Raia 3 times. But Knossos is never mentioned at all! All of this is threshed out in the previous post, CRITICAL Post: The Minoans Counted Sheep While They Were Wide Awake,

which I strongly suggest you read, if you are at all fascinated by the Minoan economy and their international trade, especially in the area of sheep raising and husbandry, which was the vital underpinning of their entire subsistence as a people, outweighing by far all other economic activities of any kind whatsoever.  

Regardless of the fact that the scribes at Knossos never mention the city as a sheep raising site, it was in fact the primary locale for sheep husbandry, for the simple, plain reason that only a city of this size, with a population probably in excess of 50,000, enormous for the ancient world, had the human and land resources to accommodate such huge numbers of sheep as illustrated above, i.e. 24,000 at the very minimum, and only on these 5 tablets! In the next post, I shall post a Linear B tablet from Knossos, in which the numbers of sheep mentioned will literally blow you away!

If anyone thinks even for a moment that any of the other sheep raising locales mentioned at the outset of this post had anywhere near the land space and human resources sufficient to raise such huge numbers of sheep, that person is probably deluding him- or herself.

We are left with one bizarre mystery. The only thing that utterly baffles me is, where are all the ewes! That question, not a rhetorical question at all, begs the issue. I simply cannot figure this out for the life of me. How can you raise any new sheep, i.e. newborns, if there are no ewes around! If anyone has any suggestions or comments whatsoever to help us unravel this plainly weird mystery, be my guest!


As you might see, in the upper left corner; three symbols. Certainly distinguishable is the symbol ‘u’, appears, with the ‘boat’ ideogram. Preceding the symbol for ‘u’ is the first character shaped like the letter ‘C’. Quite obvious…is the raised relief of the outline of a woman in a long skirt with outstretched arms. Again, I ask; could this be the ‘Snake Goddess”. Will it positively date this piece and the Wisconsin tablet? AND… what does the obtrusive “S”, in the middle; mean? Is it an S? What you see is what I found. Not tricks, no illusions. I invite you to come and see them and the other pieces.
I’m not going to pretend to translate, just show anyone willing to view this piece; there is more to discover at this site.
Please present your arguments, I can only tell you where I unearthed them, not who or why they were made.


This shard was found at the same site as the Wisconsin tablet. There appears to be five legible symbols/characters of which may or may not be of the Minoan culture.

You decide. Most noticeable is the raised relief of the outline, of what appears to be the figure of a person in a long skirt and with outstretched arms.  Could this be the ‘Snake Goddess” deity of the Minoan culture?  And what of the ‘S’ symbol above the figure? Of the other three raised relief symbols, there is clearly the symbol for ‘u’ and the ideogram for ‘boat’. Not clear in this photo, I will post a much clearer photo very soon. Again, the time span for these symbols to be used in unison, gives way for deducing as well as speculation. Rest assure this, too; came from previously disturbed ground, at a construction site from 1962.  All this in an area of 6X8 feet and a depth of 2 feet. But my blueberry bushes will thank me for removing this from their roots.

If Rita could please post the third photo of this shard, which is a better perspective; it gives a clearer view of the other symbols in the upper left corner of the shard. Thank you Rita.  You are quite marvelous and very indulging.



Tentative Translation of Knossos Tablet KN 686 E X 321 as “spinning a carpet”….

Tentative Translation of Knossos Tablet KN 686 E X 321 as  “spinning a carpet”... or something like that, a bit of a stretch no matter how you look at it.

Here is my tentative translation of this tablet (Click to ENLARGE):

Knossos KN 686 E
But, as per my usual approach to Linear B translations, I would much rather make an attempt at it, however bizarre the translation may seem, because not to do so is simply to cop out, which I never do. Here is my translation of this truly recalcitrant tablet, a translation which does make sense IF you take it at its face value, since all of the words I have preselected meet my own needs to make sense of it. But all this of course, is a nice little exercise in tautology, as indeed are quite a number of translations of Linear B tablets, the presumed (yet plausible) texts of which are ambiguous at best. This problem of ambiguity plagues our attempts at deciphering or translating so many tablets for a number of obvious reasons, among which we count, as I have mentioned several times already in our blog,

1. A large number of Linear B syllabograms are ambiguous in and of themselves, as they must do service for more than one Greek alphabetic consonant + more than 1 Greek vowel. This tablet makes this all too painfully obvious.  TEKI is NOT teki but texnh&, omitting the “n”, a common practice in Linear B, while the Linear B K is equivalent to Greek x in this case. Instances of such glides abound in Linear B, and we must always be on our guard not to interpret Linear B syllabograms being literally what they look like. 

2. So many Linear B tablets are truncated, i.e. chopped off, on either or both the left and/or right that it we should practically count on this being the case, rather than vice versa, i.e. assuming that the tablet is complete, which is, more often than not, not the case.

3. Ideograms further complicate matters. What is the grammatical relationship between 1 or more ideograms with the other words on any tablet whatsoever? Since pretty much all ideograms are nouns, I mean by this, What is the case relationship between the ideogram(s) and the other word(s) on the tablet or fragment? This is no idle matter, and it must always be kept uppermost in mind when translating any tablet or fragment whatsoever; otherwise, the translation is likely to be false.
4. When a tablet or fragment (this one is definitely a fragment) ends with an ideogram, there may very well be followed by other ideograms or logograms. If we accept something like my translation as being even partially tenable, then there is no reason at all not to assume that, in this context, the logogram for “wool” may just follow the ideogram for “ram”, at least in the context of my tentative translation on this particular tablet alone, and nowhere else.

I could go on, but you get the point. I have raised these issues and others relevant to the same problem so many times in our blog that I feel I am beating a dead horse. But I must insist on raising them again and again, to make certain that would-be students of Linear B get the picture, so to speak.


And even more ancient humour! Don’t pick your n…! Yuk!.

And even more ancient humour! Don’t pick your n...! Yuk!

Aztec pick your nose

More humour: composites of ancient tablets and hieroglyphs .. ancient grammar police!.

More humour: composites of ancient tablets and hieroglyphs .. ancient grammar police!

Oh wait! I think they were just kidding (Click to ENLARGE):


I’ve never seen this symbol before (Click to ENLARGE):


And now for something completely different… “ancient” tablet humour!.

And now for something completely different... “ancient” tablet humour!

No disrespect whatsoever intended towards our otherwise serious research into tablets in ancient languages, Akkadian, Sumerian, Harappan, early Cretan, Linear A, B or C, the Wisconsin Tablet, or any other ancient language, you name it, we all occasionally need a bit of a respite from our mind-bending studies just to get the pressure off ourselves, in other words, for a good dose of comic relief. We have previously done this every nine months or so, and here we are again, on the same kick.

So without further ado, allow me to present to the whole world the Ottawa Valley New LRT Tablet, which I gleefully unearthed from the LRT tunnel now being excavated beneath the city of Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, where I live. While the LRT will not be functional until the spring of 2018, we can be thankful to all those hunky tunnel excavators for unearthing this little gem. And when I say the excavators are hunky, I mean hunky. Here is a photo of the fellow who discovered it in the first place. Cute, ain’t he? Click to ENLARGE (which I just know you will want to do anyway!):

smoking hot guy

And here is the astounding Ottawa Valley New LRT Tablet, which I have identified as “ancient” Tablet OV LRT 01, a tablet which either defies decipherment completely, if one is to assume it is in Odawa or some other aboriginal Algonquin language, or is almost a cinch to decode. Well, anyway, here it is. I hope you can make as much sense out of it as I can! Click to ENLARGE:

ancient or what Tablet OV LRT 01
 As per my usual practice, I have annotated particular symbols on it numerically, in order to assist you in making any sense of it whatsoever, which I have actually managed to do, in my capacity as a cryptologist reasonably adept at deciphering tablets, ancient, medieval, Renaissance, modern or ultra-modern, by which I mean of course, our amazing little twenty-first gadgetry tablets such as the Apple Ipad and Google Chrome tablets galore. I will let you, of course, decide for yourself, which era this tablet falls into, though it seems pretty obvious to me! Well, as you can easily see for yourself, I utterly succeeded in deciphering this tablet, even though it is composed of nothing but ideograms, or more likely, idiotgrams. If you have a different interpretation of its rather obtuse contents, please feel free to submit your translation to me, though I refuse to give you my e-mail address.  Richard

The Wisconsin U.S.A. Tablet — Is it Minoan? PART A: Comparison with 4 Ancient Northern Mediterranean Scripts.

The Wisconsin U.S.A. Tablet – Is it Minoan? PART B: Cross-Linguistic Comparison with the Indus Valley Harappan Script, 2,600 BCE.

The Wisconsin U.S.A. Tablet – Is it Minoan? PART B: Cross-Linguistic Comparison with the Indus Valley Harappan Script, 2,600 BCE

Firmly keeping in mind, and if at all possible, downloading and displaying my annotated version of the Wisconsin Tablet, so that you can view it alongside my annotated illustration of the Harappan script, I urge you to carefully consider the points I raise below, with reference to them both, as well as yet again to the early Cretan script, and to Linear A, B & C, allowing for a cross-comparative symbolic linguistic analysis of a total of no less than 6 ancient scripts, of which 3 are syllabic, 2 are in ancient Greek (Linear B and C), and 4 are undeciphered, the Wisconsin Tablet, the Harappan ad early Cretan scripts and the Linear a syllabary, all of which span an enormous historical timeline of 2,200 years, from ca. 2,600 – ca 400 BCE. Before we proceed any further, let us take a good close look at the Harappan script (Click to ENLARGE):

Harappan Wisconsin Tablet and Mediterranean Scripts

which predates all of the other scripts, except for the Wisconsin Tablet, which itself apparently is not even approximately dated for a timeline, by at least 500 years (from 2,600 BCE onwards), the early Cretan script running as it does from ca 1,900 – ca. 1,600 BCE. I have resorted to invoking the Indus Valley or Harappan script for precisely this reason, that I wanted to be certain that we end up dealing with various scripts and syllabaries spanning a huge timeline of some 2,200 years, making it literally impossible to correlate the symbols or syllabograms in any of these scripts, including the Wisconsin, in any meaningful fashion, without trapping ourselves in a quagmire of irresolvable contradictions and in a blatant reductio ad absurdum. It is abundantly clear that all 6 of these scripts share at least a couple of symbols, if not several, in common, while at the same time, these very same symbols are totally undecipherable in 4 of the scripts, the Wisconsin, Harappan, early Cretan scripts, and in the Linear A syllabary, for which we know most of the values, these being either close to identical or identical to those in Linear B, at least where they overlap. And that is not always, given that Linear A has considerably more syllabograms and ideograms than Linear B. Unfortunately, this means that a large portion of Linear A is not only undecipherable, but that many of its syllabograms and ideograms are still totally impermeable to us at the present juncture.

Of course, all of this amounts to, shall we say, one hell of a mess, given that even where the some of symbols, syllabograms and ideograms in any of these 6 scripts either closely resemble one another or are identical to one another, they are either completely undecipherable and beyond our ken, or have been almost completely deciphered (with a few queer exceptions in the 2 Greek scripts, Mycenaean Linear B, ca. 1500 – 1200 BCE, and its closest historical cousin or offspring, if you will, Arcado-Cypriot, written in Linear C from ca. 1100 – ca. 400 BCE). My point is simply this, that it is very nearly impossible arrive at any reasonable correlation of any of these symbols or syllabograms in any of these 6 scripts, even when they match up perfectly, with the sole exception of Linear A & B, which after all were employed by one and the same civilization, the Minoan, without a perceptible break, from ca. 1,800 to ca. 1,200 BCE, i.e. over 600 years, and – get this! - even though though they actually overlap, undeciphered Linear A being in continual use from ca. 1,800 – ca. 1,400 BCE, and Linear B, which was the syllabary for the earliest East Greek dialect, Mycenaean Greek, from ca. 1,500 – ca. 1,200 BCE, making for a century or so when they were in bed together.

This throws yet another wrench into our linguistic equation. Since it makes perfect sense for the Minoan scribes to continue using a simpler variant of Linear A in Linear B, why on earth would the same scribes continue to resort to Linear A alongside of Linear B for a period of at least a century (1,500 – 1,400 BCE)? This might appear to be a flat contradiction in terms, but in fact, it is highly doubtful that it is, since after all, nowadays we use the Latin script for many European languages, some of which held sway over all the others for considerable periods, for instance, Italian from ca. 1200 – ca. 1550 AD, French from ca. 1500 to ca. 1700 AD (again overlapping), and English, from ca. 1500 AD to the present, once again overlapping with Italian and French. In other words, all three of these modern languages held the ascendancy in tandem with at least one other at the same time, while English has been at the top of the heap since at least the beginning of the 20th. century.  

Likewise, there were eminently practical reasons for Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B to have been in use concomitantly for about 100 years or so, since after all, they used pretty much the same script, even if the former is undeciphered today, and I emphasize today. However, There can be no doubt whatsoever that the Minoan scribes were perfectly bilingual in this period of about a century, when the two scripts overlapped, and it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the Minoans and Mycenaeans clearly understood one another’s language, which they surely must have. Otherwise, why continue using Linear A alongside Linear B for at least a century? There was no question of their having to decipher the Minoan language, because there was nothing to decipher. The language was then a known one, spoken and written, all during that period. Some scribes and some literates must have not only been familiar with both languages, but perfectly bilingual in both. What a shame we have lost the Minoan language to the Lethe of history, while our dear genius Michael Ventris succeeded, against all odds, in deciphering Linear B as Greek!

But, you are probably asking yourselves, why am I bringing this point up in the first place? Well, it is pretty obvious, I think. We can clearly see that the same syllabary, common to Linear A & B, with minor variations and with a shift to greater simplicity in Linear B, can be used to write two completely unrelated languages, just as the modern Latin script is used for several Indo-European languages, English, French, Spanish, German and so forth, and even some Slavic languages to boot, while at the same time doing perfect service for the Finno-Ugaric languages, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian and Hungarian, which are not Indo-European at all.

On the other hand, as can clearly be observed in our cross-correlation of 6 scripts from Harappan on down to Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, even though a few symbols and syllabograms appear to be in common with at least some of these 6 languages, the pattern is totally haphazard, the result being a meaningless crazy-quilt. The same scenario exists for modern Indo-European languages, of which the majority use the Latin alphabet, while Greek has its own peculiar alphabet predating the Latin, and almost all of the Slavic languages use the Cyrillic (though not all). While the Latin and Cyrillic (accidentally) share some letters in common, Cyrillic has far more in common with Greek. Once again, we find ourselves up against a hodge-podge of alphabets, all of which have some, but scarcely all, letters in common, just as our 6 ancient scripts share some, but scarcely all, of the symbols and syllabograms they – and here again, I lay particular stress on this point – accidentally have in common, with the sole exception of Linear A and Linear B, which form a clear continuum.

Taken to its extreme, this observation leads us to the inevitable conclusion that, regardless or not whether or not any 2 or more languages share the same pictographs, hieroglyphics, ideograms, logograms, syllabograms or alphabets in common, whether almost totally or in more or less part, there is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that these languages are related in any meaningful way by linguistic family or sub-class. For instance, early Mediterranean, such as early Cretan and Linear A, appear to be closely related, but may very well not be. Meanwhile Linear A, which is used for the Minoan language, remains undeciphered, and in all probability, is in no way related to Greek, including Mycenaean, written in Linear B,even though these scripts are almost identical. We find the same scenario with modern Occidental Indo-European languages versus their Finno-Ugaric counterparts, which are not Indo-European at all, and yet which share the same alphabet, just as Linear A and Linear B share the same syllabary, for all intents and purposes. 

What then does all this imply if not this? - that any and all ancient, including prehistoric, scripts must be deciphered within the ambit of their own hieroglyphics, ideograms, syllabograms or alphabet, whether or not these look (even exactly) like the hieroglyphics, ideograms, syllabograms or alphabet of any other language whatsoever. In other words, forget about the nature of the script in which any undeciphered language is written, whether hieroglyphic, ideogrammatic, syllabogrammatic or alphabetical, and concentrate solely and entirely on endeavouring to decipher it in its own right sui generis, without reference at all to any other language, dead or living. That this is surely the case is made abundantly clear by the co-existence, indeed, entente cordiale, that comfortably existed between the syllabary used for the undeciphered Minoan language written in Linear A and the linguistically completely unrelated language, Mycenaean Greek, written in Linear B, the syllabary which for all intents and purposes was the brain-child of Linear A, which the Minoan scribes clearly adapted to suit their own eminently practical purposes. After all, why re-invent the wheel, and why fix something when it isn’t even broken in the first place? It is precisely for the same reason that the Greek alphabet, which has been in continual use for at least 2,800 years (ca. 800 BCE to the present), the Latin alphabet for at least 2,750 years (from the time of the time of the founding of Rome if not before), and last, but far from least, the much younger Cyrillic alphabet, from the ninth century AD onwards, are all still going gang-busters.

This is precisely why the presence of even a few symbols which look like Linear A or Linear B syllabograms on the Wisconsin Tablet is utterly meaningless.

You could cross-correlate the symbols in God knows how many pre-historic or ancient languages, and still come up with matches or near-matches, but these would be, and in fact, are utterly meaningless, especially where one language dates from as early as 10,000 or 5,000 BCE, having symbols in common with any one or more languages from a (far) later historical period. And they all too frequently do. In a word, the whole exercise of cross-comparing identical, near identical or similar looking symbols, pictographs, hieroglyphics, ideograms, syllabograms or alphabets, whether prehistoric, ancient or modern, is entirely meaningless in determining the nature or linguistic class of any and all of these languages whatsoever.

So any attempt to cross-correlate symbols from one language to another, even where they leap out at us, yelling, hey, I am the “same” symbol in such and such language (for instance that of the Wisconsin Tablet) as in another (for instance, Minoan in Linear A or Mycenaean Greek in Linear B), I regret to say, sadly amounts to a hill of beans, and nothing more.    


The Wisconsin U.S.A. Tablet — Is it Minoan? PART A: Comparison with 4 Ancient Northern Mediterranean Scripts.

The Wisconsin U.S.A. Tablet — Is it Minoan? PART A: Comparison with 4 Ancient Northern Mediterranean Scripts

A Thorough Linguistic Analysis of the Wisconsin Tablet (Click to ENLARGE):

A symbols and syllabograms early Cretan Linear A Linear B Linear C

When I first saw the Wisconsin Tablet, which our friend, E.J. Heath, posted here on our blog, I stood amazed. Staring me in the face were 3 symbols, 2 of which which looked uncannily like 2 syllabograms (B, C&F) common to Linear A & B, and one of which (H) looked like the number 20, again in common with Linear A & B. Well now, that’s a real find, or so it would appear.

But my wonderment quickly faded as I began to closely, then more meticulously, examine its symbols, discovering as I did that only 1 other symbol looked anything like symbols in any early (pre-historic) Northern Mediterranean scripts, that being symbol A on the Wisconsin Tablet, which is identical to the same symbol in the early Cretan script, and closely resembles 2 similar symbols, called syllabograms, in Linear C, the latter being the vowels a & e in that script. But Linear C is a far later historical Greek script, in use continually from ca. 1100 BCE to 400 BCE, alongside the ancient Greek alphabet. And that period is more than likely to be much later than the Wisconsin Tablet. As for the rest of the symbols on the Wisconsin tablet, they bear little or no resemblance at all to the symbols in early Cretan (an undeciphered pictographic or ideographic script), or to the syllabograms in Linear A (which, though undeciphered, shares a great many of its syllabograms in common with deciphered Linear B, or at least shares some features of these), to the 200 or so syllabograms and ideograms in Linear B or yet again to any syllabograms other than the vowels a & e in deciphered Cypro-Minoan Linear C.  

All this leaves me at a complete impasse, and opens a real can of worms. Questions, which are not hypothetical, but historically pregnant, pop up left, right and centre. For instance:

1. How on earth can a tablet unearthed in the north-western U.S.A. reasonably be considered to be Minoan, when its shares symbols in common with 4 different ancient scripts, 2 of them similar to one another (Linear A &  B), but one being undeciphered and the other decidedly Greek (Mycenaean), and the other two completely dissimilar, not only to one another, but also to Linear A & B. Even granted that the 2 symbols (and only 2), and the apparent “number 20” which I can clearly see on the Wisconsin Tablet, which apparently look like their Linear A & B counterparts, are, for the sake of argument, actually those very syllabograms in Linear A & B, this raises another thorny question, how can we be even remotely sure that this is in fact the case, when all of the other symbols on the Wisconsin – I repeat – bear no resemblance with any syllabograms or ideograms in either Linear A or B (and that means 100s of them!). We have landed in a real quagmire. In short, we cannot decipher it under these conditions.  Here is a chart summarizing my findings (Click to ENLARGE):

Early Cretan Linear A B and C

Here are two Linear A tablets, which shed further light on the issue of the Wisconsin tablet sharing (or not) symbols with Linear A syllabograms (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear A numeric & ss reversed

Refer back to the Wisconsin Tablet above for 2 of the symbols highlighted with the same letters (E & H) on both it and these two Linear A tablets.  

2. On the other hand, if we take the stance that the 3 so-called “Minoan” symbols on the Wisconsin Tablet are not Linear A or B syllabograms or numerics – which is a perfectly reasonable assumption to proceed from – then what on earth are they? Are they even syllabograms or numerics? Or are they any one of the following: pictographs, such as we see in the famous Peterborough Pictographs, unearthed near Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, some time ago, or perhaps hieroglyphics, or yet again logographic, ideogrammatic, syllabogrammatic or even, as far fetched as it may seem (and it is) alphabetic? This stretches my poor imagination and my powers of reason almost beyond bearing.

3. When was the Wisconsin Tablet composed? This is an absolutely critical question, because, failing any knowledge of even the approximate date of its composition, the whole thing remains a complete mystery. There are, of course, two tried-and-tested archaeological approaches to getting closer to resolving this vital question, at least to some extent. First of all, has the Wisconsin Tablet been carbon-dated? If it has not, the mystery remains just that, and nothing more. If it has (which apparently seems not to be the case, but hopefully E.J. Heath can enlighten me on this matter), then the carbon-dating is entirely capable of determining whether or not it falls at least somewhere near or within the historical timeline of both Linear A and Linear BC together, i.e. 1,800 – 1,200 BCE. If the carbon-dating proves this to be the case, then at least our friend has a leg to stand on, however shaky. On the other hand, if the carbon-dating should prove that the Wisconsin tablet pre-dates or post-dates the Minoan/Mycenaean era (ca. 1,900 – 1,200 BCE), then it is, even in the very best scenario, highly unlikely that the Wisconsin Tablet is composed in anything like or near to Linear A or B, and the whole hypothesis falls apart like a house of cards. 

4. Another way of establishing the approximate timeline of the Wisconsin tablet is to submit it to as many as possible eminently qualified North American, as well as European and Mediterranean, archaeologists, and eventually to draw up a team of archaeologist to address this sticky issue head on, by which I mean in conference or in writing and online or better still, all. All this would take considerable time, conceivably close to a decade. 

It goes entirely without saying that both of these approaches to attempting to establish the approximate dating of the Wisconsin tablet are absolutely essential to the process of identifying in any way what it is, and can in no wise be omitted. I leave it to our friend E.J. Heath to get in touch with at least a few archaeologists in the field (pardon the pun!) in the U.S.A, first and foremost at the University of Wisconsin itself, to establish the credentials of the Wisconsin Tablet, as it were.

5. On yet another level, I am forcibly struck by the curious absence of any other tablet(s), especially in light of the fact that the Minoan scribes writing in both Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Greek in Linear B, were completely obsessed with record-keeping, inventories and statistics. While there is a dearth of Linear A tablets still in existence compared with Linear B tablets, there are still plenty enough of them. We can only assume that those Linear A tablets which have disappeared in the maelstrom of history have done so for various reasons bearing on lack of archaeological findings or evidence, which may nevertheless may be corrected, at least to some degree, by potential findings in the future. But there can be no assurance of this. So if we have a few hundred Linear A tablets at our disposal, why is there only 1 single tablet to be found in Wisconsin, when we know perfectly well that the Linear A and Linear B scribes were concerned with one thing and one thing only, keeping exhaustive records, inventories and statistics on absolutely anything and everything that affected their economy?  This surely begs the question: why has only 1 and one only so-called “Minoan” tablet been unearthed in Wisconsin? If as E.J. Heath claims, this tablet is likely to be just that, Minoan, then surely at least a few, if not a few scores of other tablets, or ideally hundreds just like it, should have been unearthed with it.  Since none have, the question is why – and it is a question that must eventually bear answering in some way or another, sooner or later.  

On the other hand, there are literally 1,000s of Linear B Tablets (close to 6,000 at last count), and we can read them! Even if the 3 so-called Linear A & B look-alikes on the Wisconsin Tablet were in fact either Linear A or Linear B, we would still be stuck in the mud, right where we are. Since Linear A is undeciphered, even if 2 of the symbols on the Wisconsin Tablet are in Linear A (which I highly doubt), they too remain undecipherable (with the possible exception of the so-called number 20. For more in this, see infra).

If on the other hand, these are Linear B symbols, i.e. the 2 syllabograms ZO (B) and NO (C& F), along with the apparent numeric = 20?, the tablet is still undecipherable, because we can make no sense of any of the other symbols on it, and in order to decipher it, we must place the apparent Linear B ZO & NO strictly in context with all of the symbols immediately preceding and following them, if indeed these other symbols are syllabograms (which I highly doubt). Remember what I said above, that the symbols on the Wisconsin tablet must all either be pictographics, hieroglyphics, ideograms or (very unlikely) syllabograms, and almost inconceivably letters, but never an admixture of any one of the above, with the possible sole exception of syllabograms and ideograms, which do in fact co-exist happily in Linear A & B. At least we can admit of that. Yet, even with this single exception at our disposal, we will have practically backed ourselves up against a solid brick wall, given that there is a substantial likelihood of the symbols on the Wisconsin Tablet being either pictographs or hieroglyphics.

6. As for that presumed number 20, even if it is a number, is it the number 20, i.. in the tens, or is it a single digit, i.e. 2?  This is no small matter. In several of the ancient and not so ancient scripts, single digit numbers are either denoted by parallel horizontal lines, in which case the tens are designated by parallel vertical lines (if at all), or vice versa, i.e. single digits are vertical parallels and 10s horizontal. The easiest way to illustrate this is by invoking the numbers 1, 2 & 3 in (ichi, ni & san) in Japanese Kanji, which are the exact reverse of the paradigms for numerics in Linear A & B. Whereas Linear A & B denote single digits with vertical parallel lines and 10s with horizontal, Japanese Kanji resorts to the horizontal for single digits, as seen here:

Kanji ichi ni san

All this still leaves us with one unanswered question, which is very much moot. Are these 2 parallel horizontal lines on the Wisconsin tablet either the number 20 or the number 2, or are they numbers at all? Pending decipherment, we can never really know.

To Summarize:

Given all the issues I have raised with respect to the Wisconsin Tablet, I sincerely doubt that it is composed in Linear A or Linear B, or anything remotely like that. This leaves the tablet not only undecipherable, but for now highly resistant to any attempt at decipherment. On the other hand, its discovery is significant. Writing as such, if indeed this is writing we have here on the Wisconsin Tablet, is almost unheard of in the annals of North American aboriginal tribes. Pictographs, such as the Peterborough Pictographs, occasionally appear, and they do contribute to the continuing search for symbolic evidence of North American aboriginal settlements. What strikes me about this particular tablet is that it does not appear to be composed of simple pictographs, but of something – I cannot imagine what – more sophisticated... hieroglyphics or ideograms or... heavens no what? In this light, I greatly encourage E. J. Heath and any and all researchers or aficionados of ancient scripts to pour their efforts into attempting to figure out the nature of the symbols on this fascinating tablet, if not to decipher it outright.

In the next post, I shall raise even more issues and concerns I have with the Wisconsin tablet, or for that matter with any tablet in any undeciphered language anywhere in the ancient pre-historic world. To do so, I shall have recourse to the 417 symbols of the ancient Harappan script of the Indus Valley civilization, which considerably predates by several centuries – ca. 2,600 to ca. 2,000 BCE -all four of the scripts we have held under consideration here (early Cretan, Linear A, Linear B and the historical Greek script, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C). What we will discover with this script is bound to increase, not decrease, the shock we all to often encounter, however valiantly we struggle to decipher any undeciphered ancient pre-historic script, let alone the Wisconsin Tablet.

That said, the fact that the Wisconsin Tablet remains a baffling mystery warrants more than its fair share of attention (whatever that might be), and so I applaud E. J. Heath for posting it here on our blog, and I invite him to counter each of the issues and objections I have raised here, and more of which I shall raise again in the next post, as he feels inclined.


HAIKU in Linear B: Spices from the boughs of the terebinth… for whom, I wonder?.

HAIKU in Linear B: Spices from the boughs of the terebinth... Click to ENLARGE

Mycenaean Linear B haiku terebinth tree

This area of Wisconsin, prior to any European explorers; was known to have abundant minerals. This fact was noted by the explorer Champlain and his protégé Etienne Brule. Both explorers were versed in Native American language and listened to and conveyed the stories of the aboriginals about the mines having already been dug.  The Native Woodland Americans did not use these minerals as a common practice, in this region of Wisconsin.  Their first experience with the use of lead was when the explorers demonstrated the thunderous power of the gun. There were lead, copper and zinc mines in this area.

Also observed by the explorers were well established roads along ridges and rivers.  When the local inhabitants were asked who built the roads and what were they for, they replied; the Spanish built them.  This conversation was with E. Brule.

Were they referencing an unknown tribe as we here in the U.S. refer to Canadians or Latinos, which would be a very vague usage, rather than narrowing the locale of the citizen to Ottawa or Durango?  But my question would be, why would the locals allow another tribe to construct roads in their territory. The construction had to be quite lengthy and what mode of transportation would require the use of such roads. What beast of burden were being used?

I find quite odd that five towns along the Wisconsin river have Roman or Latin names.I’m not saying those towns were begun by the Romans, it’s just odd.

So, in my wild imagination; I suggest the Minoan culture inhabited this area of the Great Lakes, but I don’t know when.  I will persist in defining a timeline for the script on the tablet, based on the differences between evolutions of script of the Minoan, Cuneiforms, local natives and anything else I can find. Right now I’m suggesting the period the script was written prior to the 5th century BCE and after the 20th century BCE, based on symbol changes. Let me know your thoughts.

The Minoan culture were extremely skilled in metallurgy and they could have had symbols of these noble metals within their language. Perhaps they were never found, until now.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

James R Heath


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