Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 May 2018

Astronomical and mathematical knowledge and calendars during the early Helladic era in Aegean “Frying Pan” vessels

M. Tsikritsis, X. Moussas & D. Tsikritsis Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 15.1 (2015): 135-149

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Analysis of the symbols engraved on prehistoric unknown use terracotae, the so called frying pan vessels (Teganoschema), reveal a symbolic writing that depicts astronomical phenomena, that are complex calendars based on the Sun and the Moon and all then known planets. The frying pan vessels are mainly found in Cyclades, and around the Aegean, Crete, Attica, and Thessaly. They are artifacts of the Cycladic civilization of the Early Helladic Era. They have been found mainly in graves and settlements. The first findings came to light during the late nineteenth century in the islands of Cyclades and their possible use is still causing strong scientific interest, as it is unknown. Until now, archaeologists could not determine their use and the meaning of their representations. It was believed that these vessels were used in funeral rituals, therefore depicted patterns like the sun and the sea may be associated with beliefs about the afterlife. We have studied the morphology and the representations of the Cycladic frying pan vessels that are found in museums and in literature dating from the middle of the 4th millennium. In this paper we argue that the Cycladic frying pan contain calendars that are not only based on the periodicities of the Sun and Moon, but in a very advanced knowledge of the movements of the planets, their periodicities in relation to the Earth and the phases of Venus, which is used as calendar, as well as pregnancy and birth predictor calculator.


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