Museum of: Athens
    Name of the artefact: Linear B Tablet
   
Clay tablet with Linear B ideograms, the text of which, in three rows, refers to cooking vessels.
                                 
 
WHERE IS IT AND MAIN CHARACTERISTICS
 
STATE
Department:
Prehistoric
Preservation:
Very good
Inventory number:
Ta 709-712
Restauration:
Restored
Name of the artefact:
Linear B Tablet
Completeness:
Complete
Object type:
Other
 
Material:
Clay
Methof of manufacture:
Hand made
Decoration type:
No decoration
Distinctive mark:
Script
DIMENSIONS
 
PERIOD OF USE
Length (mm):
265
Epoque:
Bronge Age
Heigth (mm):
-
Culture:
Mycenaean
Diameter (mm):
-
Period:
Late Helladic
Width (mm):
38
Face:
LH III B
Thickness (mm):
14
Absolute chronology:
13 century BC
Weight (g):
-
DISCOVERY
Date:
-
Country:
Greece
District:
Peloponnese
Town hall affiliation:
Kalamata
Village:
Pylos
Discovery findspot:
Mycenaean Palace
Condition of discovery:
Archaeological excavation
Discovery type:
Deposit
 
ANALYSES DETERMINATIONS
 
FILLED IN BY
Type:
-
Name:
Eleni Papazoglou-Manioudaki
Laboratory:
-
Institution:
National Archaeological Museum - Greece
No./Code:
-
Date:
21/11/2005
 
DEEPENINGS

Morphology of the object:

The texts were inscribed on damp clay tablets, rectangular or elongated in shape, using a sharp bone or bronze stylus. The tablet was left to dry in the sun and then stored in the palace archives, arranged by subject inside baskets. When the mycenaean palaces were destroyed by fire at the end of the 13th centuru BC the tablets were baked and so preserved until today. The texts written on the tablets were simple: lists of personnel, inventories of objects that were meant for the palace or as offerings to the gods, tax forms. The Pylos tablet, presented here, is elongated and inscribed on one of the flat surfaces. It was reconstructed from three pieces. The different colours of the clay originate from the fact that the tablet was broken and the pieces were burnt in the fire, that destroyed the palace, under different conditions. The inscription reads from left to right and the lines are separated by horizontal incisions. The text makes use of syllabograms, ideograms and numerical signs (photo).

Decoration:

-

Inscription:

Linear B is a syllabic script with approximately ninety syllabic signs, ideograms aand numerals. It is an adaptation of the earlier Minoan Linear A script (tablet photo) in use at the palace of Knossos which was occupied by the Mycenaeans after 1450 BC. British architect Michael Ventris, with the assistance of philologist professor Jihn Chadwick deciphered Linear B in 1952. Linear B tablets are found at Mycenae, Tiryns and Thebes in the Greek mainland, Knossos and Chania on Crete.

Analogies:

This tablet comes from the great Mycenean archive found in the palace of Nestor at Pylos

Interpretation:

The Linear B tablets are the first written documents in the Greek language, five hundred years earlier than the Homeric poems. They come from the archives that were kept at the Mycenaean palaces, which were the the administrative, economical and religious centres of large territories. They provide valuable information on the palace hierarchy, the professional and social classes, the production and manufacture of goods.
Bibliography:
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