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Books

  • Knossos Reconstruction
    Crete, Greece

  • Master Seal Restoration
    Chania, Crete, Greece

  • Minoan Gold Ring
    Crete, Greece

  • Mt. Pinatubo Eruption
    Luzon, Phillipines
    1991

  • Dolphins Fresco
    Knossos, Crete, Greece

  • Minoan Gold Seal
    Crete, Greece

  • Feathered Prince Fresco
    Knossos, Crete, Greece

  • Golden Ibex
    Akrotiri, Santorini, Greece

  • Bull Leaping Fresco
    Knossos, Crete, Greece

  • Boxing Boys Fresco
    Akrotiri, Santorini, Greece

  • Antelope Fresco
    Akrotiri, Santorini, Greece

  • Sea Daffodils Fresco
    Akrotiri, Santorini, Greece


The
End of Minoan Linear A Writing
and the
Late Minoan IB Fire Destruction of Crete

There came a time when I decided to build a Google Earth GIS dataset of the archaeological sites listed in John G. Younger's excellent publications:

"The Cretan Hieroglyphic Texts"

"Linear A Texts in phonetic transcription"


Minoan Linear A Tablets
Late Bronze Age (LBA)
Late Minoan I Period

My original intention was to simply provide a sound educational GIS publication for those interested in the temporal geographical distribution of the archaeological sites associated with the excavated finds of Minoan Hieroglyphics, Linear A, Trojan Script, and Mycenaean Linear B from the Bronze Age Aegean. When I completed this work I was stunned by the realization of just how truly comprehensive and devastating the Late Minoan IB Fire Destruction of Crete was.

Two interesting and relevant papers regarding this topic are:

"The Chronology of the LM I Destruction Horizons in Thera and Crete", J. V. Luce, Thera Foundation, Second International Scientific Congress, Santorini, Greece, August 1978, pp. 785-789.

"Radiocarbon, Calibration, and the Chronology of the Late Minoan IB Phase", Rupert A. Housley, Sturt W. Manning, Gerald Cadogan, Richard E. Jones and Robert E. M. Hedges, 1999.

Science has never been able to adequately explain the Late Minoan IB fire destruction of Crete. It was so overwhelmingly catastrophic that apparently most, or all, of the palaces, towns, and villas in central and eastern Crete were decimated by intensely hot fires. Though damaged Knossos was repaired to a degree and continued to carry on in some reduced fashion. All of the other palaces including Galatas, Gournia, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros were either destroyed by tsunamis from the Theran eruption or fiercely burned and abandoned forever.

With very few possible exceptions, all of the archaeological finds of Minoan Hieroglyphics and Linear A writing date from about 2200 BC up to the time of the Late Minoan IB destruction event. Only a handful of Linear A finds show up in the period that followed. In the words of John G. Younger, "It is therefore possible that Linear A survived the LM IB destructions, though barely".


Standardized Minoan Linear A Sign Table
Late Bronze Age (LBA)
Late Minoan I Period


This phenomenon can be clearly seen in this GIS dataset. The practice of writing was widely distributed throughout central and eastern Minoan Crete. Writing had been well established among the Minoans for hundreds of years leading up to the destruction. The sharp contrast between the many Linear A archaeological sites on Crete before the destruction and the mere two Linear B sites in the Mycenaean period that followed is incredible. What could possibly have caused the end of writing of an entire people on Minoan Crete and yet be so near the time of the Bronze Age eruption? I would sincerely appreciate any comments that anyone may have.


Instructions

If you already have Google Earth setup on your computer all you need to do is download the GIS mapping below but if not you will need to download the free version here:

Download Google Earth

With Google Earth downloaded, installed, and working properly on your computer you are now ready to download the GIS mapping file:

*NOTE: Please refresh (reload) this webpage to download the latest version.

Current Version: March 12, 2014

Download Minoan Writing GIS Mapping

Once downloaded simply open it and Google Earth will automatically start up and display the mapping from a great elevation. You can grab the map and move it anywhere you wish by holding down the left mouse button. There are three controls on the upper right of the screen. The top one is for tilting and rotating. The middle one is for panning and the bottom slider is for zooming in and out. Just position an area of interest in the center of the screen and zoom in to see the map's detail. The latitude, longitude, and elevation of your mouse position is displayed on the bottom of the screen. The numbers shown on the right of some list entries below are elevations in meters.


Minoan Hieroglyphics Archaeological Sites

Crete - Caves

Arkalochori

Crete - Palaces

Archanes
Knossos
Kydonia (Chania)
Malia
Phaistos
Zakros

Crete - Peak Sanctuaries

Syme 1137
Vrysinas 827

Crete - Sites

Adromili
Avdou
Ayia Triadha
Gortyn
Gouves
Heraklion
Kalo Horio
Kastelli - Pediada
Kritsa
Lastros
Lithines
Mochlos
Myrtos-Pyrgos
Neapoli
Palaikastro
Petras
Pinakiano
Pressos
Sitia
Skhinias
Xida
Ziros

Crete - Tholos Tombs

Odigitria

Cyclades and Aegean Islands

Paros, Prodromos
Samothrace, Mikro Vouni


Minoan Linear A Archaeological Sites

Crete - Caves

Agios Charalambos
Arkalochori
Psychro
Skoteino

Crete - Palaces

Archanes
Gournia
Knossos
Kydonia (Chania)
Malia
Phaistos
Zakros

Crete - Peak Sanctuaries

Kofinas 1166
Petsofas 231
Syme 1137
Traostalos 495
Vrysinas 827
Youkhtas 783

Crete - Sites

Apodoulou
Armeni
Ayia Triadha
Kardamoutsa
Larani
Mochlos
Myrtos-Pyrgos
Nerokourou
Palaikastro
Papoura
Petras
Poros Herakleiou
Prassa
Pseira
Sitia
Troullos
Tylisos

Crete - Tholos Tombs

Platanos

Cyclades and Aegean Islands

Kea, Ayia Irini
Kythira, Kastri
Milos, Phylakopi
Samothrace, Mikro Vouni
Thera (Santorini), Akrotiri

Levant

Tel Haror

Mainland Greece

Aghios Stephanos
Argos
Mycenae
Tiryns

Western Anatolia

Miletus


Mycenaen Linear B Archaeological Sites

Crete

Knossos
Kydonia (Chania)

Greece

Mycenae
Pylos
Thebes
Tiryns


W. Sheppard Baird

February 21, 2009