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German Scientists: Europe's Oldest Script Found In Bulgaria (Minoan)
Sofia News Agency ^ | 5-18-2005

Posted on 05/19/2005 2:56:33 PM PDT by blam

German Scientists: Europe's Oldest Script Found in Bulgaria

Lifestyle: 18 May 2005, Wednesday.

Ancient tablets found in South Bulgaria are written in the oldest European script found ever, German scientists say.

The tablets, unearthed near the Southern town of Kardzhali, are over 35-centuries old, and bear the ancient script of the Cretan (Minoan) civilization, according to scientists from the University of Heidelberg, who examined the foundings. This is the Cretan writing, also known as Linear A script, which dates back to XV-XIV century B.C.

The discovery proves the theory of the Bulgarian archaeologists that the script on the foundings is one of the oldest known to humankind, the archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov announced Wednesday.

Ovcharov, who is heading the archaeological expedition in the ancient Perperikon complex near Kardzhali, called the discovery "revolutionary". It throws a completely different light on Bulgaria's history, he said in an interview for the National Television.


TOPICS: Germany; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; bulgaria; europes; found; german; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; minoan; minoans; oldest; scientists; script
I wonder how this relates to the Tocharian writing found on the oldest paper ever found in the Tarim desert?
1 posted on 05/19/2005 2:56:34 PM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 05/19/2005 2:57:22 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Return to Castle Wolfenstein!


3 posted on 05/19/2005 3:03:18 PM PDT by GOP_Party_Animal
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To: blam
This is the Cretan writing, also known as Linear A script, which dates back to XV-XIV century B.C.

Linear B used the Minoan alphabet (actually a syllabary) to write Greek. Linear A uses the same characters for an unknown language which has resisted any effort to translate it. (If Michael Ventris couldn't do it, I dunno who could. He was a genius who died too young.) It's believed to be the language spoken by the Minoan inhabitants of Crete before the Dorian (Greek) invasion.

The extant documents are mostly inventory/tax lists, not a good sample to decipher an unknown language. Maybe these new documents will enable another attempt. But since they're tablets, they're probably just more tax rolls!

(That death and taxes thing again.)

4 posted on 05/19/2005 3:09:19 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: blam

"35-centuries old"

"XV-XIV century B.C."

For some reason, I can't stand that. Pick a darn format you want to use and go with it!

Arrrg.


5 posted on 05/19/2005 3:13:37 PM PDT by antiantiamericans
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To: AnAmericanMother

There's something extremely depressing about the oldest writing known being for tax rolls.


6 posted on 05/19/2005 3:13:39 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: AnAmericanMother
The extant documents are mostly inventory/tax lists, not a good sample to decipher an unknown language.

That is too bad.

Were no epic poets tax collectors?

7 posted on 05/19/2005 3:14:51 PM PDT by aposiopetic
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To: Strategerist
Yep, pretty depressing.

But of course if you're running a small kingdom like Crete with tributary princes, you better keep track of who has brought how much grain and oil and "ti-ro-pi-de" (tripods - the word that enabled Ventris to break the code).

Writing was invented to keep track of the taxes. (See Domesday Book for a more recent example.) Religious monuments and public proclamations came later.

8 posted on 05/19/2005 3:16:35 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: aposiopetic
I bet Gilgamesh was written down by some bored tax collector waiting for the afternoon delivery to show up . . . < g >
9 posted on 05/19/2005 3:22:19 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: Strategerist
"There's something extremely depressing about the oldest writing known being for tax rolls."
Actually the oldest writings would be not the tax rolls but the records of state conquests, like that Manes(sp?) stela on reunification of Egypt. But close on its heels came Gilgamesh epics with more earthly characters like Shamash and Enkidu who managed to copulate for 7 nights and 7 days without taking a break. The record is still standing.
10 posted on 05/19/2005 3:24:00 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: AnAmericanMother

I'd actually feel better if the earliest writing was soft-core porn than tax records :-)


11 posted on 05/19/2005 3:28:54 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: GSlob
Shamash and Enkidu who .. copulated for 7 nights and 7 days without taking a break. The record is still standing.

Well ... yeah ... but technically that was the pre-viagran record.

12 posted on 05/19/2005 3:41:18 PM PDT by layman (Card Carrying Infidel)
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To: layman

Technically, tax rolls are records of screwing...


13 posted on 05/19/2005 3:46:53 PM PDT by D-fendr
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To: D-fendr
Technically, tax rolls are records of screwing.

LOL. I think you're on to something.

14 posted on 05/19/2005 4:11:48 PM PDT by layman (Card Carrying Infidel)
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To: D-fendr
Technically, tax rolls are records of screwing...

But not mutual screwing....

15 posted on 05/19/2005 4:30:40 PM PDT by Grut
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To: GSlob

IIRC, the oldest Sumerian tablets (around 3300 B.C. - older than the Egyptian hieroglyphs which began around 3100-3000) are in an unknown language, but they are lists, with quantities, of repetitive characters, which sounds an awful lot like an inventory, which means . . . taxes!


16 posted on 05/19/2005 5:16:41 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: AnAmericanMother

IIRC, Manes' stela is ca. 3200 BC, but I might be wrong.


17 posted on 05/19/2005 7:36:32 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: GSlob
I'm puzzled. Menes, also known as Aha, was the founder of the First Dynasty and united the Kingdoms circa 3100 B.C. But I can't find anything on line about a stela connected with him or his reign.

The Narmer palette dates to around 3200 B.C. and according to the Egyptian tourist board website is one of the oldest examples of hieroglyphs.

18 posted on 05/19/2005 8:16:04 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: AnAmericanMother
The Dorian invasion (if it was so) refers to the invasion of the Peloponnese by the Dorians, several centuries after the Mycenaeans would have invaded Crete.

Re: Linear A: unless the underlying language is discovered, it's not going to be deciphered, regardless of the number of scrolls available. There are lots of examples of Etruscan writing.

19 posted on 05/19/2005 8:39:10 PM PDT by monkey
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To: AnAmericanMother

Well, I might be messed up. I meant that well-known from illustrations panel with two beasts with super-long intertwined necks and large Pharaonic figure. I remember reading the description that it was a panel (or stela?) signifying the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, that it was about 3200 BC and that the unification was done by Menes. But my memory could have let me down.


20 posted on 05/19/2005 8:43:21 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: monkey

Sorry, that's what comes of typing off the top of your head. It's been almost 30 years since I took that Greek Archaeology course . . . I was thinking of the earlier disaster, possibly a Mycenaean invasion (although some think it was the eruption of Thera) that toppled the early Cretan palace culture around 1700 B.C. There had been a lot of cross-cultural exchange before that (hence the Linear B). Prof. Blegen thinks the Dorians came waltzing in somewhere around 1200 B.C. and destroyed the Cretan civilization utterly.


21 posted on 05/19/2005 8:53:41 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: GSlob
It is possible that Menes and Narmer were the same, but not certain. Here is a summary.
22 posted on 05/19/2005 8:56:11 PM PDT by monkey
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To: AnAmericanMother

If you haven't been to Thera, it is well worth a trip. Beautiful, beautiful views. Also, there is a site currently being excavated that you can visit.


23 posted on 05/19/2005 8:58:45 PM PDT by monkey
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To: monkey
Well, they're making some headway on the Etruscan, thanks to a few bilingual inscriptions. But you're right, it's a tough nut to crack.

They seem to be a good deal farther along with that than with the Linear A, though.

24 posted on 05/19/2005 9:01:26 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: monkey
My parents were just there on dad's WWII Victory Tour - he helped supervise the Greek elections just after the war, and he spent a lot of time travelling around to the islands with a couple of mules, ballot boxes, a sergeant, and an interpreter.

They went to Thera and took lots of pics (including of the new excavations).

We'll have to wait until the kids are older.

25 posted on 05/19/2005 9:03:17 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: AnAmericanMother

That's great, about your dad.

One nice thing about Crete is that the Iraklio museum is fantastic, well-organized but uncrowded. You can walk up to the Phaistos Disk and look at it as long as you like(one-on-one, so to speak). Not the Disneyland atmosphere of the Louvre or the British Museum.


26 posted on 05/19/2005 9:12:21 PM PDT by monkey
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a few related GGG / FR topics (reprised from the first one shown):

The Linear B Tablets and Mycenaean Social, Political, and Economic Organization
Lesson 25, The Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean
Revised: Friday, March 18, 2000 | Trustees of Dartmouth College
Posted on 08/29/2004 8:19:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1202723/posts

Inscription in Carian and Greek
Anistoriton | 27 Dec. 1997 | (editors)
Posted on 07/17/2004 6:20:07 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1173453/posts?page=10#10

Non-Attic Characters
University of California, Irvine, Thesaurus Linguae Graecae
September 7 2003 (rev 9-28-2003) | Nick Nicholas
Posted on 07/18/2004 6:43:19 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1173901/posts

The Argonaut Epos and Bronze Age Economic History
Economics Department, City College of New York
Revised May 14, 1999 | Morris Silver
Posted on 08/25/2004 10:30:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1199756/posts

Amazon Warrior Women
PBS | Current | PBS
Posted on 08/04/2004 8:51:53 PM PDT by blam
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1185293/posts

So Who Is Buried in Midas's Tomb?
NYT | 12/25/2001 | JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Posted on 12/24/2001 10:12:01 PM PST by a_Turk
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/596541/posts

The Truth About An Epic Tale Of Love, War And Greed (Troy)
The Telegraph (UK) | 3-24-2004
Posted on 03/25/2004 12:03:11 PM PST by blam
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1105131/posts

Was There a Trojan War?
Archaeology | May/June 2004 | Manfred Korfmann
Posted on 07/29/2004 11:43:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1181498/posts?page=3#3


27 posted on 05/19/2005 10:03:16 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Thanks Blam.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

28 posted on 05/19/2005 10:03:39 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: GSlob
Shamash and Enkidu who managed to copulate for 7 nights and 7 days without taking a break. The record is still standing.

For you, maybe. ;'D
29 posted on 05/19/2005 10:08:26 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Well, if you (or anyone you know) could beat 168 hours record without so much as taking a restroom break - my hat would be off to you.


30 posted on 05/19/2005 10:10:31 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: layman
"...but technically that was the pre-viagran record."
Thus it is even more impressive, since it was a natural supernatural accomplishment. All steroids, but no doping!
31 posted on 05/19/2005 10:21:45 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: monkey
quibble -- no scrolls, clay tablets. But anyway... Your view is shared by others; that Linear A isn't decipherable because the body of inscriptions is too small. OTOH, there are some claimed decipherments, such as Barry Fell's (1977).

Uncracked Ancient Codes
(Lost Languages reviewed)
by William C. West
Linear A, undeciphered, tantalizes, because about 80 percent of its signs resemble those of Linear B. Its system of numerals seems to be fairly clear: On several tablets, a term for "total" appears at the bottom of a tablet that includes a series of numbers. The numbers add up to the total given, instilling confidence that we understand at least these units. Attempts to show that Linear A represents a known language of the Aegean world, however, have not been successful. All but a few scholars agree that the language of Linear A cannot be Greek, and the idea that it represents a Semitic language has been rejected by nearly everyone. An Anatolian language (perhaps Lycian) remains a possibility... Robinson's descriptions of such analysis, and his accounts of both successful and unsuccessful decoding attempts, are clear, provocative and stimulating.
Lost Languages: The Enigma Of The Worlds Undeciphered Scripts Lost Languages:
The Enigma Of The World's Undeciphered Scripts

by Andrew Robinson


32 posted on 05/19/2005 11:11:41 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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A royal seal pressed into clay, with a Minoan hieroglyphic inscription (?), found at Knossos. If these four characters are Linear A as they appear to be, using my best guesses from Barry Fell's work on Linear A, they represent the consonants lu - ak/ag - ke - su/yu (the slashes indicate that I'm not sure which sign to use). ESOP Volume 4, No. 77 (p 26) shows the first two symbols and two others, translated as lugal ("man royal") that is, King "ke su/yu". Figure from p 37, The Aegean Civilizations by Peter Warren, 1989, a volume of the The Making of the Past series. [first posted on my Ancient Times list on the Globe, October 9, 2000]
33 posted on 05/19/2005 11:18:19 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: blam
It reminded me of this (can't remember what thread we discussed this on--I believe some questions were raised about the identification of some of the characters--but anyway here's a link on the same subject):

Greek alphabet was in use at 6000 BC

34 posted on 05/19/2005 11:28:32 PM PDT by Fedora
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To: blam

Google "Crete Rhodopes" for more info, but a while back I read that archaeologists found evidence of a Cretan presence in the Rhodopes Mts. in Bulgaria.


35 posted on 05/19/2005 11:35:40 PM PDT by Graymatter
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To: Grut

They are if they were cheating on their taxes!


36 posted on 05/19/2005 11:46:36 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (Grant no power to government you would not want your worst enemies to wield against you.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
he spent a lot of time travelling around to the islands with a couple of mules, ballot boxes, a sergeant, and an interpreter.

What a cool story! Make sure you get it all down for future history!

37 posted on 05/20/2005 2:50:46 AM PDT by CobaltBlue (Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
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To: CobaltBlue
We have!

It's present in abbreviated form on Free Republic, an interview my daughter did for her sixth grade history class:

The FReeper Foxhole Presents An Interview with Lt. James McGhee - American Veteran - Jan. 14th, 2004

38 posted on 05/20/2005 5:41:24 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: SunkenCiv

I've read that book; it's a good layman survey. Robinson mentions that one of the experts in epigraphy gets hundreds of supposed solutions to the Phaistos disk sent to him every year.

Those supposed decipherments highlight the problem of decipherment of an unknown language. How would you know if the decipherment is accurate? So far, there are no claimed decipherments of Linear A or the Phaistos disk or Rongo-Rongo that are taken seriously "in the field." But probably a different word than decipherment needs to be used if the language is not known, and the solution cannot be verified.

There were of course comical early "decipherments" of glyphs that have since been largely cracked, such as Egyptian and Mayan.


39 posted on 05/20/2005 6:05:02 AM PDT by monkey
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To: blam

BTTT


40 posted on 05/20/2005 6:06:55 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: Fedora

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1091680/posts?page=15#15


41 posted on 05/20/2005 7:43:34 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: blam

I'm not sure what the big deal is. I've been writing Cretin script my entire life.


42 posted on 05/20/2005 7:48:04 AM PDT by FastCoyote
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks!--I figured you could find it :-)


43 posted on 05/20/2005 12:03:29 PM PDT by Fedora
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To: monkey

"How would you know if the decipherment is accurate?"

The Ventris decipherment was rejected (actually, before it was made) by Arthur Evans' followers. Evans had insisted that the Minoans hadn't been Greek speakers, and that their written language would bear that out. Blegen went to Pylos hoping to find an archive and found one. Evans' followers immediately claimed the tablets had originated on Crete, but had been carried off by the conquering Greeks.

Then Blegen et applied Ventris' decipherment to the Pylos tablets. :')

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1202723/posts?page=12#12


44 posted on 05/21/2005 7:59:54 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: SunkenCiv
Right; I was referring to Linear A, or any other script where the language is unknown. (A later form of) the underlying language must still be spoken for a decipherment of the written language; Greek for Linear B; Coptic for Egyptian glyphs; a number of Mayan languages are still spoken.

My point is that it is difficult to verify decipherment; there are always issues associated with decipherments, and no decipherment is complete. It's possible to conceive of scripts being deciphered without the spoken language being known, but it would make verification that much more difficult - really impossible by today's standards.

45 posted on 05/22/2005 5:32:39 AM PDT by monkey
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To: monkey
(A later form of) the underlying language must still be spoken for a decipherment of the written language
OTOH, Sumerian is a completely dead language. Even the existence of that people was unsuspected. Cuneiform had however been adapted for use by quite a number of languages, and had itself been cracked using Akkadian-era Assyrian texts; Assyrian being from the Semitic family of languages, modern versions being still spoken.

Unknown languages written in cuneiform can be pronounced; in at least one case, an otherwise unknown language, found on a single tablet in the Amarna archive, was deciphered using other Amarna tablets. Could be the best example of the cracking of a dead language using a very small body of extant texts.
46 posted on 05/22/2005 7:12:45 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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missed one:

Quarry, Setting and Team Marks: The Carian Connection
University of Leiden (Netherlands) | 1998 | (about) Sheldon Lee Gosline
Posted on 10/08/2004 3:20:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1239452/posts


47 posted on 05/22/2005 7:18:23 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Tuesday, May 10, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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Crete: isle of the dead?
by Philip Coppens
Linear A and B are two scripts of Crete. The newer Linear B was deciphered in 1953 by Michael Ventras and turned out to be Greek. In 1971, Dutch archaeologist and historian Jan Best claimed he had deciphered Linear A and had found a connection between Minoan Crete and the Hyksos. Linear A, he argued, was Semitic, related to the languages of Ugarit and Alalach in Syria.
see also messaage 32.

48 posted on 08/16/2005 8:15:42 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated by FR profile on Sunday, August 14, 2005.)
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To: blam

How on earth did the Minoan tablet get to Bulgaria?


49 posted on 08/16/2005 8:17:31 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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50 posted on 11/17/2008 6:35:10 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______Profile finally updated Saturday, October 11, 2008 !!!)
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