The Linear B Tablets revealed When Arthur Evans started digging at Knossos on Crete in 1900, a major aim was to find inscriptions and prove that the ancient Cretans had been literate. He was rewarded almost immediately by the discovery of slabs of baked clay, some rectangular, some leaf-shaped, bearing two types of inscription of hitherto unknown form. The earlier, Linear A, represented the language of the Minoans, who had built the great palace at Knossos.

Linear B Prayer tablet from Pylos

Clay seal with characters "Huang Di Xin Xi" (first emperor of China), 2-3rd century BCE, China

Same Minoan model, different view.

Marble stele (grave marker) of a youth and little girl with capital and finial in the form of a sphinx. Greek, Attic, Archaic, ca. 530 BC.


Armor for elephants used by 17 century India. Q: "How do you make the enemy crap themselves in the 17th Century?" A: "Armored elephants."

A Chinese scholar and government official named Wang Yirong is credited with realizing that some of these bones were inscribed with ancient writing and thus had historical significance. Today, they are called “oracle bones” and they constitute the best window available into the history, language and culture of ancient China. Because they involve specific dates, they are also an indispensible means of exploring the ancient Chinese calendar and its astronomical underpinnings

National Treasure of Japan, Jomon no Megami (a goddess figure from the Jomon era, known as the Nishinomae ceramic figure) , c. 2500 BCE 国宝・縄文の女神

10th C. BCE. A tablet of soft limestone inscribed in a paleo-Hebrew script, the Gezer Calendar is one of the oldest known examples of Hebrew writing, dating. It reads: "Two months of harvest/Two months of planting/Two months of late planting/One month of hoeing/One month of barley-harvest/One month of harvest and festival/Two months of grape harvesting/One month of summer fruit."

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