Saturday, November 19, 2011

Minoan Hieroglyphic Script Found in Western Crete

I had to do some reading on the topic as I wasn't sure if Minoan hieroglyphic script was the same as Linear A (undeciphered).  According to Wikipedia:

The earliest writing found on Crete is Cretan hieroglyphic system. It is not known whether this language is Minoan, and scholars often debate its origin. These hieroglyphs are often associated with the Egyptians but also appear related to several other writings from the Mesopotamian region.[37] The hieroglyphs came into use from MMI and were in parallel use with the emerging Linear A from the 18th century BC (MM II) and disappeared during the 17th century BCE (MM III).

Given the relative few numbers of samples of the script and that no parallel translations have been found (such as, for instance, the Rosetta Stone, which enabled Egyptian hieroglyphics to be deciphered), it seems doubtful that either Minoan hieroglyphic script or Linear A will ever be deciphered.

Story from
Earliest Sample of Minoan Hieroglyphics Found in Western Crete
No photo credit given in the news article.

The sealstone, which is carved on all four surfaces with characters of the Minoan Hieroglyphic script, constitutes the sole evidence to date for the presence of this earliest Minoan style of writing in Western Crete.

The excavation, which began in 2004, is conducted by the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities under the supervision of the archaeologist Helena Papadopoulou in collaboration with Prof. Iris Tzachili from the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of Crete.
A preliminary study of the artefacts recovered thus far - including some 800 clay votive statuettes and a significant number of ceramic vessels - indicates that the peak sanctuary was in use throughout the First Palace period (1900-1700 BC) and continued until at least the beginning of the New Palace phase, after which time it was relocated to a lower part of the plateau.

The Vrysinas sanctuary is believed to have been the most sacred peak in Western Crete. The site’s undeniable ritual context puts it on a par with other important Minoan peak sanctuaries like those at Iouktas, Petsofas and Traostalos Kofinas in central and eastern Crete.

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