Graduation Year


Publication Date

Spring 2023


On the peak sanctuary Agio Georgios on the island of Kythera, and at the archaeological site of Troullos on Crete, two Linear A (LA) inscribed ladles have been found. They are unique in that they are the only inscribed Minoan ladles found to date. Because inscription is not a common feature of Minoan ladles, the purpose of these two inscriptions is of particular interest. However, Linear A, the writing system of the Minoans, remains undeciphered and is unlikely to be translated for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, other approaches to studying Linear A inscriptions can still provide insight into their possible functions and messages to the Minoan audience reading them. I propose that through semiotic analysis focusing not on the denotation of these inscriptions, but rather their connotations, we can get a better idea of the general purpose and even subject of Linear A inscriptions, an approach I put into practice by conducting a semiotic analysis of two Linear A inscribed Minoan ladles: The Archanes ladle TL Za 1, and the ladle from Agios Georgios, KY Za 2. This analysis reveals that the TL Za 1 inscription was most likely a prayer or dedication referencing the religious function of libations, while KY Za 2 has a nonspecific religious function.


History | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures