Tag Archive: Gretchen Leonhardt



Gretchen Leonhardt is up against some stiff competition from Urii Mosenkis concerning her so-called proto-Japanese origins of Minoan Linear A:  

Urii Mosenkis makes a very strong case for Minoan Linear A being proto-Greek, and he does it over and over, like clockwork. This includes his own completely different interpretation of Ms. Leonhardts highly contentious decipherment of kuro as so called proto-Japanese. I strongly suggest that Ms. Leonhardt read his articles. He is much more qualified than I am in Linear A (and, I contend, than Ms. Leonhardt as well), and I admit it without a shadow of hesitation. I am forced to revise my predictions about the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A as I outlined them in my first article on Linear A, and I admit openly that Mosenkis is probably right, by and large. Ms. Leonhardt would do well to read all of his articles, as they flat-out contradict everything she claims about the so-called proto-Japanese origins of the Minoan language. I at least have the humility to lay down my cards when I am confronted with convincing evidence to the effect that my own partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A is defective, even though I have already reached many of the same conclusions as Mosenkis.

Not that he would ever convince Ms. Leonhardt of the infallibility of her own dubious decipherments of Linear A tablets. I have a very great deal more to say about Ms. Leonhardt’s contentious claims to eventual fame with respect to her clearly flawed interpretations of Linear A tablets, and to drive my points home, I shall have occasion to cite Mosenkis whenever and wherever he contradicts her, and that is always. 

To view all of Mosenkis superbly conceived research papers, please visit his academia.edu account here:

Urii Mosenkis academia.edu


Here is a selective electronic bibliography of the highly qualified decipherments Mosenkis has made of several Minoan Linear A inscriptions:

Electronic:

Mosenkis, Urii. Flourishing of the Minoan Greek State in the Linear A Script
1700 – 14560 BCE.
https://www.academia.edu/28708342/FLOURISHING_OF_THE_MINOAN_GREEK_STATE_IN_THE_LINEAR_A_SCRIPT_1700_1450_BCE

Mosenkis, Urii. Graeco-Macedonian goddess as Minoan city queen.
https://www.academia.edu/26194521/Graeco-Macedonian_goddess_as_Minoan_city_queen

Mosenkis,Urii. Linear A-Homeric quasi-bilingual
https://www.academia.edu/16242940/Linear_A-Homeric_quasi-bilingual

Mosenkis, Urii. ‘Minoan-Greek’ Dialect: Morphology
https://www.academia.edu/28433292/MINOAN_GREEK_DIALECT_MORPHOLOGY

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek Farming in Linear A. https://www.academia.edu/27669709/MINOAN_GREEK_FARMING_IN_LINEAR_A_Iurii_Mosenkis

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek hypothesis: A short historiography https://www.academia.edu/27772316/Minoan_Greek_hypothesis_A_short_historiography

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek phonetics and orthography in Linear A 
https://www.academia.edu/27866235/Minoan_Greek_phonetics_and_orthography_in_Linear_A

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan-Greek Society in Linear A.
https://www.academia.edu/27687555/MINOAN_GREEK_SOCIETY_IN_LINEAR_A

Mosenkis, Urii. Researchers of Greek Linear A.  
https://www.academia.edu/31443689/Researchers_of_Greek_Linear_A

Mosenkis, Urii. Rhea the Mother of Health in the Arkalokhori Script
https://www.academia.edu/31471809/Rhea_the_Mother_of_Health_in_the_Arkalokhori_Script

PS I came to almost exactly the same conclusions as Mosenkis re. this
inscription, although my Greek translation is different.

I wonder what Ms. Leonhardt has to say for herself in light of so many astonishingly insightful decipherments by Urii Mosenkis of a large number of Linear A tablets. I look forward to cogent and rational counter arguments on her part, which stand up to rigorous scientific criteria.


Glossary of 134 words & Partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A : a rational approach from Mycenaean Linear B (final version):

First the Glossary, with Minoan Linear A terms extrapolated from the highly professional Mycenaean Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis. A Glossary of 134 Minoan words: a rational approach to a partial decipherment based on principles derived from Mycenaean Greek Linear B:

Introductory Remarks:

This Glossary is soon to be published in a major draft paper, Partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A & Glossary of 134 words : a rational approach from Mycenaean Linear B, on my academia.edu account. But before publishing it here, I shall post it in five (5) instalments here on Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae. This paper will eventually appear in the prominent international annual, Archaeology and Science, Vol. 12 (2016), to be published in the spring of 2018.

This Glossary accounts for 26 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms (=510) indexed by Prof. John G. Younger in his lexicon, Linear A texts in phonetic transcription. 

The principle of cross-correlative cohesion operates on the assumption that terms in Minoan Linear A vocabulary should reflect as closely and as faithfully as possible parallel terms in Mycenaean Greek vocabulary. In other words, the English translations of Minoan words in a Minoan Linear A Glossary such as this one should look as if they are English translations of Mycenaean Greek terms in a Linear B glossary. I have endeavoured to do my best to achieve this goal, but even the most rational and logical approach, such as I take, does not and cannot guarantee reciprocity between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B terms. It is precisely for this reason that I have had to devise a scale of relative accuracy for terms in this Linear A Glossary, as outlined in KEY at the top of it.

The best and most reliable Linear B Lexicon is that by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece. If you wish to receive a  copy of his Lexicon, please leave a comment in Comments, with some way for me to get in touch with you.

A Glossary of 134 Minoan Linear A words more or less accurately deciphered to date (the largest ever glossary of Linear A) accounting for 26 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms in Prof. John G. Younger?s Linear A texts in phonetic transcription = 510:

 Linear A Glossary partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A a rational approach

KEY:

Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a very high level of certainty (75-100%) are in BOLD.
Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a moderate degree of certainty (60-75%) are in italics.
Minoan Linear A words for which the decipherment is uncertain (< 50%) are in plain text.

All terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B have been Latinized for ease of access to persons not familiar with these syllabaries. 

adaro = barley = Linear B kirita
adu = so much, so many, all (persons, things, esp. grain/wheat), referencing all  accounts relevant to them. In the case of grains & wheat, adu would refer to all the “ bushel-like” units of wheat accounted for. In the case of the men measuring the wheat, it would appear that they are surveyors or comptrollers. Cf. Linear B, toso, tosa.
adureza = unit of dry measurement (grain, wheat, barley, flour)
aka = wineskin (two syllabograms overlaid)
akipiete = (in) common, shared, allotted, allotment = Cf. Linear B kekemena ktoina = small plot of land
akii = garlic
apu2nadu = grain workers/measurers? Cf. dadumata = Linear B sitokowo
ase (plural) = bushels? Cf. kunisu
asasumaise = cattle-driver or shepherd = Linear B qoukoro -or- qorokota 
atare = grove of fig trees -or- figs overseer -or- fig gatherer (See also, 
atade = gold? leaves? gold leaf? = Linear B kuruso? (See also, noja)
awapi -or- tasaza = silver Cf. Linear B akuro
dadumata = grain/wheat measurer? = Linear B sitokowo
darida = large vase  
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere
dasi = weight -or- scales
datara= overseer of olive trees or olive oil -or- harvester of olives from olive trees
datu = olives See also qatidate = olive trees = Linear B erawa
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles
dikise = a type of cloth = Linear B any number of types of cloth
ditamana = dittany (medicinal herb)
dumitatira2 (dumitatirai) = right or inner spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
dureza = unit of measurement (unknown amount)
jedi = man/men = Linear B atoroqo.
kadi = next (in a series) (Zakros ZA 15)  
kana = first (in a series) (Zakros ZA 11)
kanaka = saffron = Linear B kanako
kapa = follower or (foot) solder = Linear B eqeta 
karopa3 (karopai) = kylix (with two handles & smaller than a pithos)
kaudeta = to be distributed (fut. part. pass.) approx. = Linear B, epididato = having been distributed (aorist part. pass.) 
keda = cedar
kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato
kidema*323na = type of vessel (truncated on HT 31)
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto
kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket
kiro = owed = Linear B oporo = they owed 
kukani = (deep) red wine Cf. Linear B wono mitowesa
kunisu = bushel(s)? (cf. ase) 15
kupa -or- sa*301ri = planter = Linear B pu2te/pute  
kura = large amount of wine = Linear B pithos+ wono?
kuzuni = a type of wine? 
kuro = total
kuruku = crocus
idamate = king or god? Or may be the name of said persona Cf. Linear B wanaka
maru = wool (syllabograms superimposed) = Linear B mari/mare
mitu = a type of cloth 
nasi = a type of cloth
nere = larger amphora size
nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai) = figs = Linear B suza
noja = gold? leaves? gold leaf? = Linear B kuruso? (See also, atade)
nudu*331 = flax? = Linear B rino?  
orada = rose 
pa3ni (paini) = amphora for storing grain?
pa3nina = grain or wheat stored in an amphora for grain
pajare = in pay, hired = Linear B emito
pazeqe = small handle-less cups = Linear B dipa anowe, dipa anowoto
pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) = left or outer spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
pitakase = harvested or field of = Linear B akoro
puko = tripod = Linear B tiripode
qajo = double-edged axe or labrys = Linear B dapu
qapa3 = qapai = large handle-less vase or amphora 
qatidate = olive trees See also datu = olives = Linear B erawo
qareto = Linear B onato = “lease field” 
quqani = medium size or smaller amphora
ra*164ti = approx. 5 litres (of wine) 
rairi = lily 
reza = 1 standard unit of measurement
sajamana = with handles = Linear B owowe
samaro = bunch of (figs, grapes etc.)
sa*301ri -or- kupa = planter = Linear B pu2te/pute  
sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre
sata = a type of cloth
sedina = celery
supa3 (supai) = small cup = Linear B dipa mewiyo
supu = very large amphora
tarawita = terebinth tree
tasaza -or- awapi = silver Cf. Linear B akurotejare = a type of cloth
teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 per tereza
tereza = larger unit of liquid measurement (olive oil, wine)
teri = offering -or- being delivered (to the gods) = Linear B dedomena, dosomo, qetea (due to the gods)
tesi = small unit of measurement
85tisa = description of pot or pottery? = Linear B amotewiya/yo?
ti?redu = spice(s) (coriander)
udimi = a type of cloth 
uminase = harbour, port = Linear B Amnisos (Cf. French, le Havre, name of a major maritime French city, which translates as “the Harbour”) 
usu = a type of cloth

Eponyms:

Adunitana
Akaru
Asasumaise = name of cattle-driver or shepherd
Asiyaka
Dadumine
Danekuti
Daqera
Idamate = king or god? Or may be the name of said persona (bis)
Ikurina
Kaudeta? (See also toponyms)
Kanajami
Kosaiti
Kukudara
Kuramu
Kureju
Makarita
Mirutarare
Qami*47nara
Qetiradu
Qitune
Sidate
Sirumarita2 = Sirumaritai
Tateikezare
Tesudesekei
Tidiate
Turunuseme
Watumare

Toponyms:

Almost all the toponyms do not require decipherment as they are either identical or almost identical in Mycenaean Linear B:

Akanu = Archanes (Crete)
Dame
Dawa (Haghia Triada)
Dikate = Mount Dikte
Idaa = Mount Ida
Idunesi
Kato = Zakoro (Linear B)
Kaudeta? (See also eponyms)
Kudoni = Kydonia
Kura
Meza (= Linear B Masa)
Paito = Phaistos ( =Linear B)
Qeka 
Radu = Lato (= Linear B Rato)
Setoiya = Seteia (= Linear B) 
Sukirita/Sukiriteija = Sybrita
Uminasi (= Linear B Amnisos)
Winadu = Linear B Inato

COMMENTARY:

It is noteworthy that in Minoan Linear A a significant proportion of the terms we have managed to decipher to date, more or less accurately, begin with the letter K. Referencing our Glossary of 133 Minoan Linear A words, we find that 20/134 or 15 % begin with K. This is rather striking, in light of the fact that a correspondingly large number of words in ancient Greek begin with K, even though the two languages are in no way related. In other words, since the word   kidapa on Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01 begins with K, that is another reason to conjecture that it might very well be Minoan.

This Glossary accounts for 26 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms.

For the past 116 years, ever since Sir Arthur Evans first began excavations at Knossos in the spring of 1900, several people have attempted to decipher Minoan Linear A, but none with any success. Almost all of these philologists have relied on the assumption that, because Minoan Linear A had to belong to some class of languages, whether or not proto-Indo-European, proto-Finnic, Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, proto-Uralic, Sino-Tibetan, Sumerian, any other class of languages not listed here. But this approach has always come up empty-handed, with the possible sole exception of proto-Japanese as a subset of proto-Altaic, as proposed by Gretchen Leonhardt:

Konosos




Gretchen Leonhardt’s commentary on Minoan Linear A noduli:

Gretchen Leonhardt has posted her comments on Minoan Linear A noduli on her site, Konosos.net:

NODULI in Minoan Linear A


Although I do not agree with all of the points she raises in her analyses of these noduli, her explanation of the transposition of morae (which in Minoan Linear A amount to two adjacent syllabograms within a word) is right on the money. In fact, this phenomenon does occur in Minoan Linear A. It was first identified by Andras Zeke on the Minoan Language Blog as ligatures:

Linear A logograms ligatures


However, we cannot be sure whether or not the supposed transpositions actually occurred in Minoan Linear A. In other words, while kasi may be interchangeable with sika, and sere with rese, this is by no means guaranteed. It may have been that the Minoans meant kasi to mean kasi alone or vice versa, i.e. that sika was the actual meaning. Likewise, sere alone may have been attributed to the overlay of the syllabogram se on re, or on the other hand, rese may have been the sole meaning. We shall never know. We can operate on the assumption that the ligatures or morae were interchangeable, but that is all it is, an assumption. In the event, we fully acknowledge Ms. Leonhardts invaluable contribution to the furtherance of our understanding of Minoan Linear A.
 

What is a Top-Notch Translation? Is there any such thing? Pylos Tablet 641-1952 (Ventris)

Those of you who are regular readers of our blog, and who take the trouble to really delve into the fine points of our posts on the decipherment of scores of Linear B tablets which we have already translated, will have surely noticed by now that I never take any translation for granted, yes, even down to the very last word, phrase, logogram or ideogram, while strictly taking into account whether or not the tablet itself is completely intact, or – as is far more often the case - left- or right-truncated. In every instance of the latter, any decipherment, however carefully devised, is likely to be considerably more inaccurate than any translation of an intact tablet.  

Not to follow these strict procedures would be tantamount a one-sided, highly subjective and excessively biased exercise in imposing a single, strictly personal, interpretation on any extant Linear B tablet, a practice which is fraught with so many pitfalls as to invite certain error and misinterpretation. I would much rather offer all alternative translations of every single last word, phrase, logogram, ideogram etc. in any and all Linear B tablets, than to rashly commit myself to any single translation. It is only in this way that you, our readers, can decide for yourselves which of my translations appears to be the most feasible or appropriate to you in the precise (or more likely than not, not so precise) context of the tablet in question.

No decipherer or translator of Mycenaean Linear B extant tablets or text in his or her right mind has a monopoly on the so-called “right” or “correct” translation of any Mycenaean source, because if that individual imagines he or she does, that person is dreaming in technicolour or – dare I say - even high on psychedelics. The only people who had the very real monopoly, in other words, the actual precise meaning of each and every tablet or source firmly in hand in Mycenaean Linear B were – you guessed it – the Mycenaean scribes themselves. We absolutely must bear this critical consideration in mind at all times whenever we dare approach the translation of any Linear B source, if we are to maintain any sense of the rational golden mean, of our own glaring linguistic inadequacies at a remote of some 3,500 years, and our own decidedly limited cognitive, associative powers of translation, which are in fact extremely circumscribed at the level of the individual translator.

It is only through the greatest sustained, systematic international co-operative effort on the part of all translators of Linear B, let alone of Linear C or of any other ancient language, regardless of script, that we as a community of professional linguists, can ever hope to eventually approximate a reasonably accurate translation. The greater the number of times a (Linear B) tablet is translated, the greater the likelihood that our sustained, combined co-operative efforts at translation is bound to bear positive fruit. Those who insist on being loners in the decipherment or translation of any texts in any in any ancient language run the severe risk of exposing themselves to sharp critical responses and, in the worst case scenario, to public ridicule in the research community specializing in ancient linguistics. Caveat interpres ille. That sort of translator should watch his Ps & Qs.
 
An excellent case in point, the translation of the very first tablet ever deciphered by our genius code-breaker, Michael Ventris, in 1952 & 1953, Pylos Tablet PY 641-1952 (Ventris): Click to ENLARGE:

Pylos Tablet PY 641-1952 Ventis as transslated by Ventris in 1952

We previously discussed the letters between Emmett L. Bennett and Micheal Ventris in June 1952 which effectively broke the code for Mycenaean Linear B, when Bennett first brought to Ventris’  attention his correct translation of the very first word on this famous tablet, tiripode, which unequivocally meant “tripod”. With this master key to Linear B, Ventris was able to decipher the entire tablet in no time flat, making it the first tablet ever to have been translated end-to-end into English. For our commentary on the letters, please click on this banner:

famous letters Ventris re Pylos tablet PY 641-1952
 
Since that time, the tablet has been translated scores and scores of times. Several translators have gone so far as to claim that theirs “is the best translation”. If you will forgive me for saying this, people making such an injudicious claim are all, without exception, wrong. It is only by combining, cross-checking and cross-correlating every last one of the translations attempted to date on this fascinating tablet, Pylos Tablet PY 641-1952, that we can ever hope to come up with at least one or two translations which are bound to meet the criteria for a really top-notch translation. Those criteria are several. I shall address them one by one, finally summarizing all such criteria, throughout the coming year.

In the meantime, stay posted for the latest carefully considered, extremely well-researched and eminently consistent translation of this famous tablet, with fresh new insights, by Rita Roberts, soon to be posted right here on this blog. It is not my own translation, but trust me, it is a highly professional one, fully taking into account a number of historical translations, one of the best of which is that by Michael Ventris himself. I freely admit I could not have matched Rita’s translation myself, for reasons which will be made perfectly clear when we come to post her excellent decipherment early in March 2015. To my mind, it is one of the finest translations of Pylos PY 631-1952 ever penned.

Subsequently, we shall rigorously examine Gretchen Leonhardt’ s translation of the same tablet, to which she assigns the alternative identifier, Pylos PY Ta 641, rather than its usual attribution. It strikes me as rather strange that she would have resorted to the alternate identifier, almost as if she intended - consciously or not - to distance herself from the original translation by Ventris himself. For her translation, please click on this banner:

Pylos Tablet Py 641-1952 Ventris Leonhardt

Ms. Leonhardt’ s decipherment is, if anything, unique and - shall we say - intriguing. We shall see how it stacks up against Michael Ventris’ and Rita Roberts’ translations, meticulously cross-correlating her own translation of every word or ideogram which is at variance with that of the same word or ideogram in either of the other two decipherments. Each translation will then be subjected to a range of rigorous criteria to determine in which respects it is as sound as, or inferior or superior to its other 2 counterparts.  Of course, the table of merits and demerits of each of the three translations is strictly my own interpretation, and as such is as subject to sound linguistic, logical, contextual and practical counter-criticism as any other. Anyone who (strongly) disagrees with my assessments of each of these 3 translations should feel free to address his or her critiques of them. I shall be more than happy to post such criticisms word-for-word on our blog, with the proviso that both Rita Roberts and I myself are free to counter them as we see fit under the strict terms enumerated above.

Richard


New Direct Link to Gretchen Leonhardt’s Linear B Blog, Konosos.net, which really deserves much more attention than it is getting! Click to visit her blog:

Konosos.net
I have just added a direct link to Gretchen Leonhardt’s Linear B Blog, Konosos.net, which has not been garnering the number of direct hits it is surely entitled to, and should definitely be getting. So for heaven’s sake, please visit her blog, and read her translations of Linear B tablets. Gretchen is a highly accomplished Linear B translator and decipherer of Linear B tablets. This Link always appears at the top of every page our our Blog. You simply click on Konosos.net to be referred directly to her site. 

I should inform you right up front that we rarely see eye to eye on methodology of decipherment and on our approaches to translation, which could not be more unalike if either of us tried. But that is scarcely the point. I for one encourage any and all competent translations of Linear B sources, whether or not I agree, partially agree, or disagree with them, even completely. As I have already made it clear on some of my previous commentaries on Gretchen’s translations of Linear B tablets, which have the virtue of being entirely consistent with her theoretical approach and with her won self-professed highly imaginative mental construct of what the script is all about (the only thing that really matters anyway), I am fundamentally very much at odds with her methodology, as can be seen here in my post on her translation of the famous “Ivory” Tablet, KN 684: Click Previous Post below to read that post:

Linear B Previous Post

But this does not in the least imply that she is “wrong” or that I am “right”, or anything on the spectrum between these poles, because to assert that would be paramount to setting myself up as a know-it-all Linear B expert on translation, which I most certainly am not, anymore than any other Linear B translator in the whole wide world is. If anyone claims that he or she is the be-all-and-end-all of Linear B decipherers, then that poor soul should have his or her head examined, at the very least.

With all this in mind, I urge you to please visit Gretchen Leonhardt’s Linear B translation blog. She is also developing a fine Linear B Lexicon right on site, which you will certainly not want to miss out on. I for one am quite certain that I shall, sooner or later, need to ask Gretchen if she will allow Rita Roberts and myself to use at least a small number of her Lexicon entries when we get around to publishing our own Topical English-Mycenaean Linear B Value-Added Lexicon, which is to at least double the presently accepted Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary base from something like 2,500 attested vocabulary items (excluding personal names and toponyms) to at least 5,000 attested (A) and derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B words, if not considerably more than that by the time it is released in .PDF format sometime around 2017 or 2018. Should she agree to allow us to republish at least a few of her entries, she would naturally be fully credited under the provisions of International Copyright Law. 

Thank you

Richard 

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