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: 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.
Linear A words and ideograms for cereals + general Linear A ideograms:
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 (sha’ir, 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.
New interpretation of Linear A tablet HT 10 (Haghia Triada):
A few months ago I posted my first interpretation of Linear A tablet HT 10 (Haghia Triada). Since then, I have made a few small tweaks. These are (a) the Linear A word kunisu, which is derived from Semitic kunissu, definitely means “emmer wheat”. (b) The supersyllabogram PA stands for Linear A pa3ni (paini) (noun)/pa3nina (painina) (adjective), which means either “millet” or “spelt”, since these two grain crops are the second most common grains cultivated everywhere in the Bronze age after kunisu “emmer wheat” and didero “einkorn wheat”. (c) the translation “offscourings/chaff” for ruma/rumata/rumatase (noun, adjective, noun in the instrumental plural) makes sense in context. (d) dare probably means “with a firebrand or torch”, since the tablet appears to deal with drought, when dead crops, i.e. grains in this case, are burnt. (e) Although tanati resembles the dative singular of the ancient Greek work qa/natoj, but this interpretation is doubtful.
Just uploaded to academia.edu: Decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 86 Haghia Triada, a mirror image of HT 95: 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.
Statistical incidence of various types of grains on Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada and elsewhere:
akaru = field HT 2 (20+) HT 86 X2 (20+ )
TOTAL = 40+
kireta2 (kiretai) = barley HT 85 (1) + HT 129 (33)
TOTAL = 34
kiretana = barley-like HT 2 (54+) HT 8 X 2 (5) HT 108 (1) HT 120 (60)
TOTAL = 120
dideru = einkorn wheat HT 86 X 2 (2nd. trunc.) (20) HT 95 X 2 (20)
TOTAL = 40
kunisu = emmer wheat HT 10 (0) HT 86 X 2 (40+) HT 95 X 2 (30)
TOTAL = 70+
[sara2 = flax HT 18 (10) HT 28 X 2 (21) HT 30 (0) HT 32-34 (0) HT 90 (20) HT 93 (20) HT 94 (5) HT 97 (0) HT 99 (4+) HT 100-102 (985+) HT 105 (234) HT 114 (10) HT 121 (5) HT 125 (2) HT 130 (0)
TOTAL = 1306+
+ saru (oblique case) HT 86 X 3 (41+) HT 95 X 2 (30) HT 123+124 (16 )
TOTAL = 87+
TOTAL for all references to flax = 1393]
spelt or millet
dame = spelt or millet HT 86 (20) HT 95 X2 (20) HT 120 (74)
TOTAL = 94
millet or spelt
qera2u/qera2wa = millet or spelt HT 1 (197) HT 95 X2 (17) TOTAL = 214
durare = durum wheat? Knossos KN Zc 7 (0)
TOTAL = 0
minute = a type of grain -or- “and for a month” HT 86 (20) HT 95 X2 (20) HT 106 (6+)
TOTAL = 46+
pura2 = a type of grain HT 28 (6) HT 116 (45) KN 54 (0)
TOTAL = 51
qanuma = ditto HT 116 (20) KH 88 (Khania) (10)
TOTAL = 20
standard units of measurement on all Linear A tablets:
adu HT 85 (0) HT 86 (0) HT 88 (20) HT 92 (680) HT 95 (0) HT 99 (0) HT 133 (55) (bales?)
TOTAL = 755
adureza (0) = standard unit of dry measurement, something like a bushel
dureza (7 ) = variant of the same
TOTAL = 7
kireza ( 42) = standard unit of measurement for figs, dates or grapes = 1 basket
TOTAL = 42
reza (67+ ) = standard unit of linear measurement
TOTAL = 67+
tereza (0) = standard unit of liquid measurement
© by Richard Vallance Janke 2017
the Linear A vessel (vase) AP Za 2 from Apodoulou: mostly topomastics and epomastics?
It appears that Linear A vessel (vase) AP Za 2 from Apodoulou is loaded with epomastics. The words are so long that it appear that it cannot be otherwise. Moreover, some of the terms appear to be agglutinated, e.g. ipinamite, inajareta and ikupa3namate (ikupainamate). The only word which appears not to be an eponym is ipinamite i0pneumi/te (instrumental singular) = with/for baked (bread). Since there are so many names, it is difficult to imagine that they are the owners of the vase. But they may very well be bakers, given the context. This would imply that the vase is full of (einkorn or emmer?) wheat to be used for baking bread.
Are Minoan and Mycenaean fractions fractions? I am not at all convinced Since Minoan and Mycenaean fractions, as estimated by Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog and Prof. John G. Younger, fall as low as 1/10 and 1/32, I am not at all convinced that these are fractions at all. They are, as far as I can tell, crop shares. This makes a lot more sense, since we are dealing with farming, where crop shares have always been of paramount importance. As for units of measurement, we have no real idea what they were, since Minoan Crete and the Mycenaean Empire are so remote in history. No one can possibly determine fractions that far back in history. In fact, Prof. Younger and Andras Zeke cannot even agree on the values of the fractions... not that that argument invalidates the notion they are not fractions. That is a specious argument. However, it makes more sense to consider these as crop shares, especially in view of the fact that some of the Mycenaean symbols are so remarkably similar to their Minoan counterparts. The appearance of symbols has nothing to do with what we take them to mean. This again is an arbitrary decision, which may be right or wrong.
POST 1600: On academia.edu: Minoan Linear A tablet HT 95, emmer and einkorn wheat, other grains and flax:
I have just uploaded an article on academia.edu: Minoan Linear A tablet HT 95, emmer and einkorn wheat, other grains and flax, which you can find here (Click on the banner):
I encourage you to download it and read it, as it is only 4 pages long.
HT 95 (Haghia Triada), dealing emmer and einkorn wheat, is one of the most significant of all Linear A tablets: Linear A tablet, HT 95 (Haghia Triada), which deals with various grain crops, i.e. emmer and einkorn wheat, millet and spelt, and with flax, is unquestionably the most important Linear A tablets, with the possible exception of HT 86, dealing with the same roster of grains, inscribed exclusively in Old Minoan. When I posted HT 86 (Haghia Triada) the first time round, I established that kunisu meant “emmer wheat” and dideru “einkorn wheat”, but I was not quite sure I had them in the right order. Thanks to Cyrus G. Gordon, who makes the following statement: ... Linear A ku-ni-su must mean some kind of wheat because it is followed by the WHEAT determinative. Now kunnisu is a Semitic word for “emmer wheat” so that Linear A ku-ni-su WHEAT “emmer wheat” not only adds a word to our Minoan vocabulary but it also establishes Ventris’s (sic) readings of the ku, ni and su signs. (italics mine) we now know beyond doubt that kunisu does mean emmer wheat, just as I had suspected. Consequently, since these two types of wheat appear conjointly here and very close together on HT 86, we are left to draw the conclusion that dideru means einkorn wheat. Now dideru appears 4 times on HT 86 & 95, while kunisu appears once on HT 10 & HT 79, and 4 times on HT 86 & 95, for a total of 6 times. So it pretty much goes without saying that these two grains play a significant role in the Minoan diet. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets, since these two grains were the predominant ones in all societies in these regions. This will become blatantly obvious when I publish the Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon of 1031 New Minoan, pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan words sometime in July, from which I cite all the references dealing with grain crops in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets in REFERENCES below (Note that I have italicized explicit references to major grains in each title dealing with the same). As for dame and qera2u (qeraiu), proper identification is a bit problematic, because we do not know which is which. This is why I have tagged dame with the reference , signifying it could mean either spelt or millet, and qera2u (qeraiu) with , meaning either millet or spelt (the reverse). But the problem is that we are confronted with 2 permutations here. By this we mean that dame could mean either spelt or millet or vice versa, and qera2u (qeraiu) millet or spelt or millet or vice versa. Either way, dame means one of the two, while qera2u (qeraiu) the other. But how do we know this? It just so happens that, after emmer and einkorn wheat, the next most common grains in the Bronze Age Mediterranean and Middle East were millet and spelt. So chances are good that dame and qera2 (qeraiu) each references one or the other. The reference note  with flax indicates two things, (a) first that flax is in an oblique case, probably instrumental, i.e. with flax, since the nominative is sara2 (sarai) & (b) the standard unit of measurement is probably not something a bushel, because flax is extremely light. What it is we shall never know, since after all we have no real concept of what any standard unit of measurement, dry or liquid, was either in Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B. These civilizations are so remote in the distant past that any attempt at determining standard units of measurement amounts to nothing more or less than a wild guess. Nevertheless, we find that we are able to decipher HT 95 with a reasonable degree of accuracy, and in the case of kunisu and dideru, with complete accuracy. So we can now say with confidence that these two grains have been conclusively deciphered once and for all time, thanks to Cyrus H. Gordon. © by Richard Vallance Janke 2017 REFERENCES: 1 Adu, Michael. Stay green in wheat: Comparative study of modern bread wheat and ancient wheat cultivars https://www.academia.edu/32352362/Stay_green_in_wheat_Comparative_study_of_modern_bread_wheat_and_ancient_wheat_cultivars 2 Beneš, Jaromír. Kernel Weights of Triticum, Hordeum, Avena, Secale and Panicum Species can be used for Better Estimation of Importance of Different Cereal Species in Archaeobotanical Assemblages https://www.academia.edu/31109189/Kernel_Weights_of_Triticum_Hordeum_Avena_Secale_and_Panicum_Species_can_be_used_for_Better_Estimation_of_Importance_of_Different_Cereal_Species_in_Archaeobotanical_Assemblages 3 Desheva, Gergana. Comparative Evaluation of Einkorn Accessions (Triticum monococcum L.) of Some Main Agricultural Characters https://www.academia.edu/33523050/Comparative_Evaluation_of_Einkorn_Accessions_Triticum_monococcum_L._of_Some_Main_Agricultural_Characters 4 Gordon, Cyrus H. Linguistic continuity from Minoan to Eteocretan http://smea.isma.cnr.it/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Gordon_Linguistic-Continuity-from-Minoan.pdf 5 Mosenkis, Yuriy. MINOAN GREEK FARMING IN LINEAR A https://www.academia.edu/27669709/MINOAN_GREEK_FARMING_IN_LINEAR_A_Iurii_Mosenkis 6 Mueller-Bieniek, Aldona. Plant macrofossils from the site of Tell Arbid, Northeast Syria (3rd–2nd millennium BC). Preliminary report https://www.academia.edu/31923542/Plant_macrofossils_from_the_site_of_Tell_Arbid_Northeast_Syria_3rd_2nd_millennium_BC_._Preliminary_report 7 Poupet, Pierre. Approche pédoarchéologique des espaces de production agricole à l’âge du Bronze dans les montagnes méditerranéennes (exemples des Pyrénées-Orientales et de la Haute-Corse, France) https://www.academia.edu/32748459/Approche_p%C3%A9doarch%C3%A9ologique_des_espaces_de_production_agricole_%C3%A0_l_%C3%A2ge_du_Bronze_dans_les_montagnes_m%C3%A9diterran%C3%A9ennes_exemples_des_Pyr%C3%A9n%C3%A9es-Orientales_et_de_la_Haute-Corse_France_ 8 Salamini, F. AFLP Analysis of a Collection of Tetraploid Wheats Indicates the Origin of Emmer and Hard Wheat Domestication in Southeast Turkey https://www.academia.edu/33035148/AFLP_Analysis_of_a_Collection_of_Tetraploid_Wheats_Indicates_the_Origin_of_Emmer_and_Hard_Wheat_Domestication_in_Southeast_Turkey 9 Ibid. Genetics and geography of wild cereal domestication in the near east https://www.academia.edu/33035139/Genetics_and_geography_of_wild_cereal_domestication_in_the_near_east 10 Ibid. Molecular Diversity at 18 Loci in 321 Wild and 92 Domesticate Lines Reveal No Reduction of Nucleotide Diversity during Triticum monococcum (Einkorn) Domestication: Implications for the Origin of Agriculture https://www.academia.edu/33035113/Molecular_Diversity_at_18_Loci_in_321_Wild_and_92_Domesticate_Lines_Reveal_No_Reduction_of_Nucleotide_Diversity_during_Triticum_monococcum_Einkorn_Domestication_Implications_for_the_Origin_of_Agriculture 11 Shaaf, S. Evolutionary History of Wild Barley (Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum) Analyzed Using Multilocus Sequence Data and Paleodistribution Modeling https://www.academia.edu/32892906/Evolutionary_History_of_Wild_Barley_Hordeum_vulgare_subsp._spontaneum_Analyzed_Using_Multilocus_Sequence_Data_and_Paleodistribution_Modeling 12 Stein, Gil. Isotope evidence for agricultural extensification reveals how the world's first cities were fed https://www.academia.edu/33353345/Isotope_evidence_for_agricultural_extensification_reveals_how_the_worlds_first_cities_were_fed 13 Ulanowksa, Agata. Different skills for different fibres? The use of flax and wool in textile technology of Bronze Age Greece in light of archaeological experiments. Workshop: The Competition of fibres, March 8-10, Excellence Cluster TOPOI (A-4), Textile Revolution https://www.academia.edu/31717946/Different_skills_for_different_fibres_The_use_of_flax_and_wool_in_textile_technology_of_Bronze_Age_Greece_in_light_of_archaeological_experiments._Workshop_The_Competition_of_fibres_March_8-10_Excellence_Cluster_TOPOI_A-4_Textile_Revolution_Freie_Universit%C3%A4t_Berlin_program_download_ 14 Yakar, Yak. The Nature and Extent of Neolithic Anatolia’s Contribution to the Emergence of Farming Communities in the Balkans - an Overview https://www.academia.edu/33025599/yakar_fur_festschrift_nikolov_web.pdf 15 You, Frank. The structure of wild and domesticated emmer wheat populations, gene flow between them, and the site of emmer domestication https://www.academia.edu/32014519/The_structure_of_wild_and_domesticated_emmer_wheat_populations_gene_flow_between_them_and_the_site_of_emmer_domestication 16 Zapata, Lydia. Hulled wheats in Spain: history of minor cereals https://www.academia.edu/33394959/Hulled_wheats_in_Spain_history_of_minor_cereals17 17 Ibid. Measuring grain size and assessing plant management during the EPPNB, results from Tell Qarassa (southern Syria) https://www.academia.edu/33337133/Measuring_grain_size_and_assessing_plant_management_during_the_EPPNB_results_from_Tell_Qarassa_southern_Syria_ 18 Ibid. The spread of agriculture in northern Iberia: New archaeobotanical data from El Mirón cave (Cantabria) and the open-air site of Los Cascajos (Navarra) https://www.academia.edu/32531730/The_spread_of_agriculture_in_northern_Iberia_New_archaeobotanical_data_from_El_Mir%C3%B3n_cave_Cantabria_and_the_open-air_site_of_Los_Cascajos_Navarra_
Preview of the most Complete Linear A Lexicon of 1029 words ever compiled in history soon to be published on academia.edu just uploaded: This Preview of the most Complete Linear A Lexicon of 1029 words ever compiled in history soon to be published on academia.edu.pdf is in and of itself a lengthy article (14 pages long), offering full insight into the massive extent and impact of the actual lexicon, Comprehensive Lexicon of 1029 New Minoan, pre-Greek substratum and Old Minoan words, with extensive commentaries, soon to be published on my academia.edu account (sometime in July 2017). The actual Lexicon will be at least 45 pages long, and will include all of the following elements: 1. An in-depth introduction, comparing this Lexicon, with its 1029 Linear A terms with the Linear A Reverse Lexicon of Prof. John G. Younger, containing 774 intact Linear A words. To date, Prof. Younger’ Lexicon has always been considered the de facto standard of Linear A lexicons; but it falls far short of the mark. From scanning through every last Linear A tablet on Prof. Younger’s site, Linear A texts in phonetic transcription, I discovered scores of Linear A words which he missed in his Reverse Lexicon. I have also spent the last two years ransacking the Internet for every last scrap of evidence of extant Linear A tablets, fragments, roundels, pendants and inscriptions on pottery, only to unearth even more Linear words entirely overlooked by Prof. Younger, to the extent that I uncovered a total of 1029 Linear A exograms, 225 more than he did. Thus, our Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon is 27.7 % larger than his. 2. The Lexicon itself, containing 1029 words, of which over 160 are Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, some 85 are either toponyms or eponyms, a few score fall within the pre-Greek substratum and at least 80 are Old Minoan words I have been able to decipher, more or less conclusively. As for the remainder of the Old Minoan substratum, i.e. the original pre-Greek Minoan language, I have been unable to decipher the rest of its vocabulary. But believe it or not, this factor is less of an impediment to the decipherment of Linear A than we might otherwise believe. I have been able to decipher at least 350 words out of a total of 1029, which is to say about 33 % of Linear A. 3. Each section of the final Comprehensive Lexicon, i.e. A: Mycenaean-derived New Minoan NM1 B: the pre-Greek substratum C: eponyms and toponyms D: Old Minoan vocabulary and E: ligatured logograms is accompanied by a detailed analysis and survey of its contents. 4. The final Lexicon contains a comprehensive bibliography of 84 items on every aspect I have detailed of the decipherment of Linear A as outlined in this preview.
After 117 years, the Linear A vocabulary for 3 major grains (bran, wheat, barley) and for flax is conclusively deciphered:
Although decipherment of Linear A vocabulary for the primary Minoan grains has seemed beyond reach for the past 117 years, I believe that I may have actually cracked the vocabulary for at least 3 major Minoan grain crops, kireta2 (kiretai)/kiretana (attributive) = “barley”, dideru = “einkorn wheat”, kunisu = “emmer wheat” and for sara2 (sarai) = “flax”, while concurrently tackling 3 more grain crops, rumata(se), pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina (painina) (attributive), which I may or may not have managed to accurately identify. More on this below.
How did I manage to accomplish this feat? My first breakthrough came with the code-breaker, Linear A tablet HT 114 (Haghia Triada), on which appears the word kireta2 (kiretai). It just so happens that this is a match with the ancient Greek word, kritha(i) for “barley”, here Latinized:
Armed with this invaluable information, I then devised a procedure to extract the names of the other 2 major grains, dideru (Linear B equivalent, didero), and kunisu and for sara2 (sarai) from all of the Haghia Triada tablets. I selected the tablets from Haghia Triada because they mention grains far more often than any other extant Linear A tablets do, regardless of provenance, with the sole exception of Zakros ZA 20, which is a very close match with the many Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada dealing with grains.
The procedure I have adopted is tagged cross-comparative extrapolation (CCE). I scanned every last word related to grain on every last Linear A tablet from Haghia Triada, HT 1 – HT 154K on Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A texts in phonetic transcription HT (Haghia Triada) for the recurrence and numerical frequency of each of these words. It strikes me as very odd that no one in the past 117 years since the first discovery of Linear A tablets at Knossos has ever thought of this or a similar cross-comparative procedure. While it is practically useless to try and extrapolate the meaning of each and every grain merely by examining them in context on any single Linear A tablet, regardless of provenance, because even in single tablet context, and even in the presence of other words apparently describing other type(s) of grain, we get absolutely nowhere, the outcome from cross-correlating every last one of these words on every last tablet from Haghia Triada paints an entirely different picture, a picture which is both comprehensive and all-embracing. Clear and unambiguous patterns emerge for each and every word, including the total incidence of all statistics for them all. The result is astonishing. The table below makes this transparently clear:
We see right off the top that all of the Haghia put together mention akaru, which means “field”, the equivalent of Linear B akoro, no fewer than 20 times! Additionally, the generic word for “wheat”, situ, corresponding to Linear B sito, surfaces 5 times. But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Cross-comparative extrapolation of the next 4 grains has proven to be much more fruitful. The first of these is of course kireta2 (kiretai) ⁄ kiretana (attributive) for “barley”, which appears 149 times (!) on all of the Linear A tablets from Haghia Triada. I was definitely on to something big.
But the preliminary step I needed to take, before I actually attempted to identify the next 2 most common grains cultivated in the pre-Mycenaean and Mycenaean Minoan era, was to conduct a Google search on the 2 most common grains after barley grown in Minoan Crete. These are einkorn and emmer respectively. Returning to my cross-comparative extrapolative scan, I discovered the words dideru and kunisu recurring 40 times each. It just so happens that one previous researcher (whose name unfortunately escapes me for the time being, but whom I shall fully acknowledge when I publish my summary data on academia.edu) has accurately identified both of these types of wheat. As can be seen from the table above, these are dideru for “einkorn” and kunisu for “emmer” wheat respectively.
Moving on, fully realizing that sara2 (sarai) runs rampant on the Haghia Triada Linear A tablets, I discovered that this word recurs no less than 1321 times. Astonishing! But what does it mean? The answer was not long coming. The next most common crop the Minoans cultivated was flax, for the production of linen. Flax is not a grain, but is derived from flax flowers and seeds. This fully explains why sara2 (sarai) recurs with such astonishing frequency. Unlike the aforementioned grains, which would have been grown on a relatively restricted number of plots, in this case not exceeding 4o each, the number of flax flowers required to produce a sufficient flax harvest would have had to be very high… hence 1321. These stunning frescoes illustrate a male Minoan flax flower and a female flax seed gatherer:
Even from these 2 frescoes, we can easily see that the flax gatherers were kept busy picking what was required, a large flax crop, in this case running to 1321 flax seeds and flowers. No surprise here.
As a result of my exhaustive cross-comparative extrapolation of the first four Minoan crops, I have been able to define 3 of them for certain as grains, kireta2 (kiretai), dideru and kunisu, and one of them, sara2 (sarai) as flax. It is practically certain that all 4 definitions are correct. Hence, I have managed to isolate for the first time in 117 years the actual names of 4 major Minoan crops, barley, einkorn wheat, emmer wheat and flax.
However, when it comes to the next 5 crops, we run up against inescapable semiotic problems. What does each of these signifiers signify? There is no easy answer. On the other hand, I would have been remiss were I not to make a stab at extrapolating the names of these crops as well. It just so happens that the next most common grains after barley, einkorn and emmer cultivated by the Minoans were millet and spelt. And the next two words I extrapolated were rumata(se) and pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive). But if one of them appears to be millet, the other is spelt, or vice versa. That is the conundrum. But the problem is compounded by the mystifying cumulative total statistics for each of these words, 1039 for rumata(se) and 1021 for pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive). Why on earth are there so many recurrences of these 2 crops, when there are only 40 instances of dideru and kunisu? It does not seem to make any sense at all. Yet there is a possible explanation. While dideru and kunisu reference einkorn and emmer crops as crops per se, it would appear that rumata(se) and pa3ni (paini)/pa3nina/painina (attributive) refer to the seeds derived from the crops. It is the only way out of this impasse. However, it is not necessarily a satisfying answer, and so I have to reserve judgement on these definitions, which are interchangeable at any rate.
Next we have the ligatured logograms dare and kasaru, either of which might refer to the next most common crops, durum and lentils. But there is no way for us to corroborate this conclusion with any certainty. The verdict is out. Finally, the last word, kuzuni, might refer to 2 other, less common Minoan crops, either sesame or vetch for fodder. But once again, which one is which? Your guess is as good as mine.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain. Every last one of these words identifies a Minoan crop. While most of them are grains, three of them are certainly not. One of them is clearly flax (sara2/sarai) The other two may or may not be lentils or sesame. But they probably are one or the other, if they are not on the other hand durum or vetch. In short, there several permutations and combinations for the last 5. Yet the circumstantial evidence for the first 4 appears quite solid enough to justify the definitions we have assigned, barley, einkorn, emmer and flax. So at least this constitutes a major breakthrough in the identification of these 4 for the first time in 117 years.
I shall eventually be publishing a much more comprehensive draft paper on this very subject on my academia.edu account, either this summer or autumn. I shall keep you posted.
Decipherment of Linear A tablet HT 14 (Haghia Triada) with John G. Younger’s errors corrected:
A truly fascinating Cretan hieroglyphic tablet from Phaistos! I dare say I find this tablet one of the most intriguing I have ever run across. I is just jam packed with information! I have done my best to decipher at least a little of it. .5 is probably the earliest version for the later-to-become ideogram for “roasted einkorn wheat”. Likewise .8 is almost certainly the primordial ideogram for “figs”. I have also provided the translation for the word “figs” in Old Minoan. It is either nire (singular nira2=nirae) or nite (singular nita2=nitai). It can only be one or other of these 2 options. I was the first person ever to successfully decipher the Old Minoan word for “figs” several months ago.