Kafkania pebble

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The Kafkania pebble is a small rounded river pebble about 5cm long with Linear B symbols and a double axe symbol inscribed on it. It was found in Kafkania, some 7 km (4.3 mi) north of Olympia, on 1 April 1994 in a 17th-century BC archaeological context. If it were genuine, it would be the earliest written testimony on the Greek mainland, and by far the earliest document in Linear B.

Inscription[edit]

The pebble bears a short inscription of eight syllabic signs in Linear B, possibly reading a-so-na / qo-ro-qa / qa-jo. The reverse side shows a double-axe symbol. The inscription is identified by some[who?] to be in Mycenean Greek, though this identification remains disputed. It has been suggested that such an isolated example of Linear B script indicates at best an early stage of Mycenaean writing at the time of origin.[1]

G. Owens suggests that the inscription is Minoan in origin rather than Mycenaean. In this scenario, a Minoan could have written the text for a Mycenaean. No evidence exists that the Mycenaean Greeks wrote before the Linear B archive of Knossos.[2]

Forgery[edit]

The inscription is possibly a modern forgery.[3][4][5][6] Many arguments point to this:[3]

  • Inscriptions on pebbles are otherwise unknown in Mycenaean and Minoan epigraphy.
  • The "rays" surrounding the axe have no parallels in Myceanaean or Minoan iconography.
  • Most of the symbols are "carefully executed", but one appears to be a "random graffito".[3]
  • Its context, imbedded in a wall, is peculiar and unprecedented.
  • Linear B is otherwise consistently written left-to-right, but this inscription is apparently written in boustrophedon.
  • The writing style appears anachronistic.
  • It is unlikely on historical grounds that Linear B writing existed in the northwest Peloponnese at this period.
  • Finally, the pebble was apparently discovered on the morning of April Fool's Day.[7] If it is indeed a forgery, the symbols spelling a-so-na may spell out the name Iasonas, the first name of the son of Xeni Arapojanni and Jörg Rambach, the alleged discoverers of the pebble.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Floreant studia Mycenaea. p. 557
  2. ^ G. Owens, S. Benett, Minoan Inscriptions in Mycenaean Greece, DO-SO-MO: Fascicula Mycenologica Polona p52-69, 2005
  3. ^ a b c d Thomas G. Palaima, "OL Zh 1: QVOVSQVE TANDEM?" Minos 37-38 (2002-2003), p. 373-85 full text
  4. ^ Hellemans, Geert (2004). Étude phonétique et graphique du [j] (jod) en grec mycénien. Leuven: Ph.D. dissertation. hdl:1979/33. , p. 35.
  5. ^ John G. Younger, review of Yves Duhoux and Anna Morpurgo Davies, A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World, 1 in American Journal of Archaeology Online Book Review, 113.4 (October 2009) full text
  6. ^ J. Driessen, "Chronology of the Linear B Texts" in Yves Duhoux, Anna Morpurgo Davies, eds., A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World, 1:76 (2008) full text "This pebble remains something of an enigma since neither its date, nor its context, nor its nature can be easily fitted into a general historical framework; hence I remain sceptical and await further discoveries."
  7. ^ Minos: 2003, p. 489; Meletemata: Studies in Aegean archaeology presented to Malcolm H. Wiener as he enters his 65th year, vol. 2, 1999; Polemos: Le contexte guerrier en Egée à l'âge du Bronze. Actes de la 7e Rencontre égéenne internationale, Université de Liège, 14-17 avril 1998, 1999, p. 400.

Sources[edit]

  • Arapojanni, Xeni; Rambach, Jörg; Godart, Louis (2002). Kavkania: Die Ergebnisse der Ausgrabung von 1994 auf dem Hügel von Agrilitses. Mainz: von Zabern. ISBN 3-8053-2934-2. 

External links[edit]