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FW: Iklaina tablet

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  • James Spinti
    Forwarded with permission of Michael Cosmopoulos. I trust it will be helpful. James ________________________________ James Spinti Marketing Director, Book
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2011
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      Forwarded with permission of Michael Cosmopoulos. I trust it will be helpful.


      James Spinti
      Marketing Director, Book Sales Division
      Eisenbrauns, Good books for more than 35 years
      Specializing in Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Studies
      jspinti at eisenbrauns dot com
      Web: http://www.eisenbrauns.com
      Phone: 574-269-2011 ext 226
      Fax: 574-269-6788

      -----Original Message-----
      From: owner-AEGEANET@... [mailto:owner-AEGEANET@...] On Behalf Of Cosmopoulos, Michael
      Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2011 5:06 PM
      To: aegeanet
      Subject: Iklaina tablet

      [From Michael Cosmopoulos and Cynthia Shelmerdine]

      Dear colleagues,

      Thank you for sharing our excitement at the discovery of a Linear B tablet from Iklaina. In the last few days it has led to some good publicity for the Aegean Bronze Age. But since media reports rarely transmit information with complete accuracy, we’d like to offer the following brief account of the context and content of the tablet. A full publication will appear as soon as practicable by Cynthia Shelmerdine.

      Context and date: The tablet was found in a burned refuse pit containing diagnostic pottery of LH IIB/LH IIA1/early LH IIIA2 date and is, therefore, earlier than the tablet from the Petsas House at Mycenae. Palaeographically the signs resemble those on tablets from the Room of the Chariot Tablets at Knossos, and the four (not five) early tablets from Pylos. Phylogenetic analysis by C. Skelton (cf. her article in Archaeometry 50, 2008, 158-176) bears out a date earlier than the main Pylos archive.

      Content: The tablet is broken at bottom, one side, and perhaps also at the top, which is uneven. On the front side (recto), a probable man’s name is preserved in the first extant line, followed by the number 1. We read in the fragmentary second line ]n.u.-o-wo[ , probably the end of another name (cf. the name ]ṛ.u.-o-wo on Knossos Sc 130). The back side (verso) is determined by the more slanting ductus of the signs, a point observed by J.L. Melena. It preserves a participial ending, attested at Knossos and Pylos as perfect active in form, with an intransitive-passive sense. The closest parallel is te-tu-ko-wo-a (‘fully finished’), attested at Knossos with reference to cloth (KN L 871.b, restored on KN X 7846), and in the variant te-tu-ko-wo-a2 at Pylos with reference to wheels (PY Sa 682). te-tu-]ko-wo-a is a plausible restoration on the Iklaina tablet, though of course not certain.

      Thus the tablet may present a personnel list on one side, and a verb form possibly linked to manufacturing on the other. The really interesting point is that this is the first tablet ever found at a secondary center in a Mycenaean state. We think that Richard Hope-Simpson and John Bennet are right in identifying Iklaina as the district capital a-pu2 (Alphys, vel sim.) in the Hither Province of Pylos. If the date of the tablet is not later than LH IIIA1/early LH IIIA2, as the evidence suggests, it represents either a phase of independent written accounting predating a Pylian takeover, or the very early stages of state bureaucracy. Either way, it opens a window into a state of administration barely attested at Pylos itself.


      Michael B. Cosmopoulos, Ph.D.

      Professor of Archaeology

      The Hellenic Government-Karakas Foundation Endowed Professor in Greek Studies

      Department of Anthropology

      University of Missouri

      St. Louis, MO. 63121

      Tel. (314) 516-6241

      Fax (314) 516-7235


      From: owner-AEGEANET@... [mailto:owner-AEGEANET@...] On Behalf Of John Younger
      Sent: Monday, April 04, 2011 6:36 PM
      To: aegeanet
      Cc: Erwin Cook
      Subject: [AegeaNet] Iklaina tablet

      Erwin Cook has graciously forwarded the following NY Times link, which gives a photo and drawing of the new Iklaina tablet.


      Since the context dates the tablet fairly early (1490-1390; I'm guessing the pottery might be LH II), there have been claims that this may be the oldest Linear B tablet known.

      If Michael Lane is correct, the word is te-tu]-ko-wo-a (cf. KN L 871B; te-tu-ko-wo-a2 on PY Sa 682).

      On Iklaina (IK L? 1), the word is part of the heading: "finished" or possibly "furnished."

      Similarly early Mycenaean tablets have been plausibly identified at Knossos and Pylos (Driessen in Duhoux & Morpurgo Davies 2008: 69-79):

      The tablets from the Room of the Chariot Tablets, Knossos, LM II-III A:1 early

      Driessen, Jan M. 1990. The room of the chariot tablets reconsidered. Πεπραγμένα του ΣΤ' Διεθνούς Κρητολογικού Συνεδρίου (Χανιά, 24-30 Αυγύστου 1986), Νινιού-Κινδελή, Βάννα, ed., Vol. A1'. Χανιά, Φιλολογικός Σύλλογος «Ο Χρυσόστομος». p. 267-275.

      5 tablets from Pylos (PY Ua 994, Ae 995, Xa 1419-1420, Xn 1449) probably date to LH IIIA

      Palaima, T.G. 1982. Evidence for the Influence of the Knossian Graphic Tradition at Pylos. Oliva, Pavel, and Alena Frolikova, eds., Concilium Eirene XVI. Vol. III, Section IV: Mycenaeological Colloquium. Proceedings of the 16th International Eirene Conference. Prague. p. 80-84.

      For an account of the development of Linear B from Linear A, see

      Palaima, T.G. 1988. "The Development of the Mycenaean Writing System," in J.-P. Olivier and T.G. Palaima (eds.), Texts, Tablets and Scribes. Studies in Mycenaean epigraphy and Economy Offered to Emmett L. Bennett, Jr. (Minos Suppl. 10), 269-42.


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