Early Greek writing unearthed on Crete

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Posted by Greeka.com on 14 Nov 2005

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The Greek Ministry of Culture made yesterday an important announcement: the discovery of a treasure-trove of archaeological material depicting some of the earliest known examples of ancient Greek writing. The discoveries were made at an abandoned site on a hill that has been identified as the ancient Minoan city of Kydonia. The hill overlooks the modern port of Chania, in western Crete.

The discoveries included an amphora depicting text written in the Linear B character that was the court language of Mycenae, Peloponnese. The amphora on which the Linear B text was inscribed is a large narrow-necked ceramic jar with a pointed or rounded base and two handles, used in ancient times to store and transport liquid items like water, wine and olive oil.

What was most interesting was the finding of an earlier text on some clay tablets, the Linear A, which has not been deciphered so far. The Linear A script was in use as far back as 3,000 BC and it evolved over a period of time in to the Linear B script through the reduction of hieroglyphic symbols. The Linear B became the pure Greek language of the Homeric period.

The Ministry also revealed that the archaeologists had found evidence of a fierce fire that apparently had destroyed the whole town at the site somewhere around 1,450 BC.


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