Almost 2000 years ago, a volcanic eruption buried the seaside Roman town of Herculaneum in the same rush of hot ash and gas that decimated Pompeii. The catastrophe didn’t just preserve buildings and bones—it saved clues to the Roman diet. A new analysis of the bones of 17 victims reveals what these ancient villagers were eating, and in what proportions. Residents scarfed a lot of seafood and olive oil, confirming historians’ estimates that average Romans consumed 20 liters (more than 5 gallons) of the oil each year.
Previous studies have only given broad outlines, not the nitty-gritty details, of the ancient Roman diet, says Erica Rowan, an archaeobotanist at the…
This section was requested by readers, who did not understand the historical context of references to the Battle of Tom’s Brook and the American Civil War in other chapters. The Americas Revealed each day has many readers from around the world. Also, American history textbooks tend to dwell on the famous leaders and generals of the Civil War, leaving out what like was like during that terrible period for other people.
While living in Virginia, I served on the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program Advisory Council. That’s why I knew NPS Director Roger Kennedy in 2010-2011, when he funded my field research in the Southern Appalachians. During the mid-late 1990s, I put considerable professional time into preserving and restoring Union and Confederate fortifications/battlefields in Northwest Metro Atlanta.
Although the Minoan Linear A Script Writings have not yet been deciphered, many scholars have been able to recognize some of the syllables as some are the same as the Mycenaean Linear B Scripts which were deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952. It is thought that the Linear B was carried on from Linear A The example you see below is a correlation between the Minoan Linear A tablet from Haghia Triada HT 31 and the Mycenaean Linear B tablet from Pylos Py 641 Ventris. This Linear B tablet was the first tablet my teacher gave me to translate when I first began studying the script writings. Both these tablets are inventories for pottery.
Translation of the above Linear A tablet
Line 1 – se? -ti-sa = a type of vessel + puko = tripod + ideogram for “tripod”
Line 2 – qa – pa = large pithoi + ideogram for “pithoi” 10 + su – pu = very large pithoi 10
Line 3 – ka- ro- pai + ideogram for “vessel” surcharged = kylix 10 + sa-ja-ma-na = type of “vessel” with 2 horizontal bars = 20 maybe more since there are 3 effected lines below the first 2 horizontal bars 20
Line 4 – ki – de -ma na = type of “vessel”
lINE 5 – ideogram for “vessel” truncated + ideogram surcharged for maybe cups 100 + su – pai- ra= small cups with handles 300
Line 6 – pa – ta- qe = small cups without handles 3,000
Line 1 – possibly (se? ) hence se- ti-sa description of pottery vessel + puko = tripod
Line 2 10 large pithoi as well as 10 larger pithoi
Line 3 kylix usually with two handles
Line 4 type of vessel which we cannot identify because the ideogram is truncated on line 5
Line 5 ideogram for vessel truncated 100 + 300 small cups with handles
Line 6 3,000 small cups without handles.
EVIDENCE OF CROSS CORRELATION LINEAR A HT31 and LINEAR B 64l
LINEAR A HT31 LINEAR B 641
puko = tripod tiripode = tripod
supu = very large pithos dipa mezoe = large pithos
qapai = large pithos dipa mezoe = large pithos
karopai = kylix keto = kylix
supaira = small cups with handles dipa mewijo
pataqe = small cups without handles dipa anowe
NOTE A Pithos (singular) Pithoi (plural) is a large pot used for storing and transporting Olive oil
a Kylix is a stemmed cup usually with two handles
Below is my translation of the Linear B tablet from Pylos PY641
Line 1 Aikeu = Aigeus = personal name + kerisijo = of the Cretan + weke= style + ideogram for terepode = tripod 2 + eme = with one + pode = leg owowe = with handles + ideogram for tiripode = tripod + keresijo = of the Cretan + weke = style + apu kekaumeno = burnt from the legs up
Line 2 qeto = kind of pot with three handles + mezoe = bigger + qetorowe = with four handles + ideogram for vase 1 + ideogram for vase + ideogram for one + dipa = a type of cup/vase + mezoe = bigger + tiriowee = with three handles + ideogram for vase two + dipa = type of cup/vase + mewijo = smaller + qetorowe = with four handles + ideogram for a kind of pot one
Line 3 dipa = cup/goblet + mewijo = smaller + tirijowe = with three handles + ideogram for a kind of pot one – dipa = cup/goblet + mewejo = small + anowe = without handles + ideogram for a kind of pot one
Aigeus a worker is making tripods of the Cretan style
There are 2 tripods with three legs and two handles
I will shortly be adding my first translation of the Minoan Linear A Script writings,but first a little history of the daily life in the Minoan civilization which is an update of a previous post.
Minoan Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean sea, it’s largest town is Heraklion and it’s landscape varies between tall rugged mountains and gentle slopes and it’s plateaus are framed by the Aegean coastline to the North and the Lybian sea to the South. The temperature climate with it’s short mild winters and the warm dry summers, along with the fertility of the Cretan plains, produces sufficient food supplies to support the local population and for exports.
Crete also exported wine, olive oil, wool and textiles, herbs and the purple dye. Imports consisted of precious stones, copper most likely from Cyprus, Ivory, silver, gold and other raw materials. they also imported tin which was used in the production of bronze alloys
The Minoans had developed a strong Naval power and for centuries lived in contact with all the major civilizations of the time. Their commercial contact with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia influenced their own culture and the Minoan civilization in turn appeared as the forerunner of the Greek civilization. The Minoans are credited as being the first European civilization
It is from Thera that we know most of the Minoan period from the archaeological evidence undertaken by the late Professor S. Marinatos where large complexes revealed large buildings , streets and squares with walls standing as much as eight metres high and the excellent masonry and exquisite wall paintings prove that this site was more than just a private house. It is thought that the area must have been inhabited by important officials, however most of the Minoans regardless of occupation or class, lived in large houses with several rooms. In addition to bedrooms, dining areas and so forth the houses actually had bathrooms with running water and “toilets”. While they did not have pipes and faucets like we do today,they built channels for conveying fresh water to homes and sewage away from homes.
The Minoans a variety of stones for their buildings which were locally available. The soft porous limestone which exists in ruch supplies was the most favoured stone for ashlar masonry and there are several varieties of limestone, yellowish or brownish, white, grey and a bluish colour as well as ironstone schist also marble a fine decorative material
The most famous Minoan sport, we see on the frescoes and many other works of art was clearly connected with bulls however, there is nothing to suggest any resemblance to the Spanish corrida-de-toros, because all the human Minoan participants are unarmed.. It would seem physically impossible for even the most highly trained athlete to perform a somersault over the back of a charging bull, even less be caught by another performer stationed behind the bull., so was the artist at fault in showing the correct perspective. The sport must have been for the performer to excite the bull to charge him, then at the crucial time to leap high in the air, allowing the bull to pass harmlessly underneath
At first small estates were able to exorcise adequate control without written records: but as areas grew, the need for an accounting system became imperative, small units ruled by a local baron became amalgamated, whether by peaceful means or imposed unions. The Minoans had devised a system for accounts and had gone on to use their own script also for recording dedications in shrines. Linear A has not yet been deciphered however, many scholars including myself are constantly working to decipher them. I will shortly be posting some Linear A scripts which I have translated as near as possible.
The usual burial custom of the Minoans was inhumation during the Neolithic period, then later in caves or rock shelters, overhanging the ledges of rock with the front roughly walled in. A popular method of burying during the Middle Minoan period, was to place the dead trussed tight, knees to chin into a pithos (large pot) , as in the cemetery of Pachyammos. These jars were then inverted and buried. The Larnax burial came in the Late Minoan period.
The Minoans had developed a strong naval power and for centuries lived in contact with all the major civilizations of the time. Their commercial contact with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia influenced their own culture and the Minoan civilization in turn appeared as the forerunner of the Greek civilization. The Minoans are credited as being the first European civilization.
When I read an online article from the New York Times recently, covering the online abuse received by a mother for including her two children in her and her husbands’ low carb lifestyle, the trial of professor Tim Noakes instantly came to mind. For those unaware of Tim Noakes the world-renowned South African scientist and low-carb advocate was embroiled in a court case about giving nutritional advice online for a tweet on twitter dating back to 2014 and since then Prof Noakes has defended himself at a series of trials. He was also at risk of losing his medical licence. Prof Noakes won the case in April 2017, during which the panel heard that the tweet was scientifically correct and could cause no potential harm.
For low carb advocate Abby Durlewanger, putting her kids on a low-carb, low-sugar ketogenic diet was an easy choice.The mother of two fromHouse…
The UK government is to announce a ban on junk food advertising before 9 pm on TV and online from 2023 in a bid to tackle the UK’s growing obesity crisis. The online ad ban would also affect all forms of digital marketing, including Facebook, Google, Instagram and Twitter.
Boris Johnson having changed his view on personal health after his hospitalisation with coronavirus last year is said to blame his own health issues for contributing to the outcome. Overweight people are at greater risk of severe illness or death from Covid19. Research shows that one in three children leaving primary school are overweight or obese and almost two-thirds of adults in England. A government consultation last year estimated that children under 16 were exposed to fifteen billion junk food advertisements online in 2019, compared with 700 million two years earlier.
As we look 30 years into the future, it is said that we will need to feed two billion more people and the question of diet has taken on a worrying urgency and the foods we consume over the approaching decades will have profound implications for the planet. Some scientists claim that a diet that is high in meat and dairy will deplete the planet’s resources and therefore push for everyone to consume grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables.
Before the advent of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago, all humans existed on hunting and gathering but as farming expanded, the hunter gather became constrained to forests, arid grasslands, remote islands and arctic Tundra’s. Only a few of these tribes still exist and the race is on to learn as much as we can about the ancient diet and way of life of the hunter gatherer before these “living fossils” disappear completely.
It’s been almost 20 years since we moved to the Island of Crete. When I first blogged about this most of you will remember that my partner and I were running a small business called “Apicius Sauces” and because the sauces were made from original ancient recipes we were able to sell them at most Museums around the country in England and at the Re-enactment markets where we occupied a small stall. In 2002 we closed the business which had been running for nine years and moved to Crete,Greece.
Once we were settled in our first home in Crete we realized just how much there was to do in order to become a citizen which involved much paper work having to be signed especially where the medical aspect is concerned and seeing that we did not speak the Greek language. However, the offices concerned were very helpful and we finally received our medical books with a special Ika no which you always have to take with you when visiting the doctor or hospital. On that note I must praise all the medical staff on how they take pride, especially in their job on looking after the elderly people. For instance, we have an automatic monthly appointment with our doctor who checks to make sure we are alright in health with the medication he prescribes for us, I am diabetic and my partner has a small heart problem. Also every three months he sends us to the medical centre for blood tests. In fact, the Greek people in shops, offices, hospitals etc., are always willing to help
There are several pharmacies in the town of Agios Nikolaos but we have always used the same pharmacy for the past 19 years, therefore they know our medical history and treat us like one of the family,so if I ask for anything which contains sugar, whoever is serving at the time will say Oh ! no no Rita you can’t have that . I consider they are looking after our well being, which brings me to where the Covid pandemic is concerned. Greece is doing it’s very best and I feel that if some do not want the vaccine they should appreciate what is being done through hard work and sleepless nights of all medical staff who are helping to prevent those people from catching the virus.
To continue with Life on the Island of Crete
While working as a volunteer at the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete I was fortunate enough in being able to work on the ancient Minoan and Mycenaean pottery where I became familiar with the shapes, sizes and names of the individual pots. After ten years I felt it was time to retire. However, I still needed a project of some sort to work on from home, this is when I began the study of the ancient Mycenaean Linear B script writings which some of my blogging friends will already know. These scripts were written on clay tablets and many of them were found by Sir Arthur Evans while excavating the Archaeology site of Knossos. I have worked on the Linear B tablets for the past 5 years and finally achieved a BA degree with the help from my teacher Richard Vallance. Now, I have decided I would like to study the Minoan Linear A scripts, even though they have not yet been deciphered and hopefully i will be able to translate at least some of the tablets.