Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


2 February 2012

Re-Examining the Pylos Megaron Tablets

Christina Skelton Kadmos 48 (2010): 107-123.

From the Introduction

During the 1952 excavation season at Ano Englianos, sixteen fragmentary Linear B tablets were found in the Megaron of the Palace of Nestor. These tablets were found throughout the red mudbrick destruction layer in the Megaron, leading Blegen and Rawson to conclude that the tablets had fallen from an upper story above the Megaron. Blegen’s interpretation has been called into question by Melena (2000-2001, 366-368), Skelton (2008), and Firth and Skelton (forthcoming), who have suggested that the Megaron tablets might date to a phase earlier than the final destruction of the palace.
In this paper, I re-examine the paleography and pinacology of the Pylos Megaron tablets, and argue that they do indeed predate the Pylos main archive, which dates to LH IIIIB. The paleography of the Pylos Megaron tablets does not resemble the rest of the Pylos tablets, but is very similar to Linear A and archaic Linear B from Knossos, especially the Room of the Chariot Tablets, which has a date several generations earlier than the rest of the Knossos archives, perhaps to LM IIIA1. The narrow palm-leaf tablets characteristic of the Pylos Megaron are not found in the Pylos main archives, but are only found in the Room of the Chariot Tablets at Knossos and other early Linear B material from Pylos, such as Hand 91 and Class iv, which are thought to date to LH IIIA. Thus, on the basis of writing style and tablet style, the Pylos Megaron tablets could not be any later than the Room of the Chariot Tablets, but are possibly even earlier.


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