Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Phaistos Disc: An Ancient Enigma Solved : Two Corroborative Old Elamite Scripts are Ancient Greek

The Phaistos Disc: An Ancient Enigma Solved:
Two corroborative Old Elamite scripts can be deciphered using the Greek syllabic values obtained for the Phaistos Disc by A. Kaulins in 1980

- by Andis Kaulins [1]

Presented 31 October 2008 at the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE PHAISTOS DISK on the 100th anniversary of its discovery in 1908 by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier. Conference location: Society of Antiquaries, London, Burlington House, Piccadilly. Organization and sponsorship: Minerva, the International Review of Ancient Art & Archaeology, Jerome M. Eisenberg, Ph.D., editor.

Figure 1 : The Phaistos Disc (from the left, sides B and A)
as pictured at the New York Times TierneyLab


Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for attending my presentation and thank you to the organizers and staff of this conference for making it possible for me to be here. We are in the halls of the arts, the sciences and antiquity at Burlington House, and today we may see history being made – in the field of communications. The Phaistos Disk is after all a communication and storage device.

In the modern era we all have our mobile cell phones, CDs and DVDs, and many of us take them for granted, but technology was not always so easy to understand. In the early days of telecommunications, for example, Albert Einstein explained radio by saying:

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles.... And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat." [emphasis added]

In the case of the Phaistos Disk, we have a cat, but our cat has no tail and worse still, it is not meowing, and the issue has rightly been raised now as to whether we have a real cat here at all.


That is the Shakespearean question being posed here today.

Dr. Jerome Eisenberg has observed – correctly in my view – that the symbols on the Phaistos Disk were compiled piecemeal in part from other ancient sources. I agree. The only question is, was this done in the modern era, or 3 to 4 thousand years ago? Dr. Eisenberg has concluded that it was a modern forger, an archaeologist, who did it. But I think, to the contrary, that it was the ancient Greeks themselves who did it. And we have evidence for this conclusion.

Gaius Julius Hyginus (ca. 64 BC – AD 17), who lived at the time of Christ, passed on many Greek tales in unadulterated form in his Fabulae, of which Number 277 deals with "Ancient Inventors". He writes as follows:

"CCLXXVII. FIRST INVENTORS. The Parcae, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos [The Parcae are the Fates, in Greek Morae, and named Nona, Decima and Morta] invented seven Greek letters - A B H T I Y. Others say that Mercury invented them from the flight of cranes, which, when they fly, form letters. Palamedes, too, son of Nauplius, invented eleven letters; Simonides, too, invented four letters – Ó E Z PH; Epicharmus of Sicily, two - P and PS. The Greek letters Mercury is said to have brought to Egypt, and from Egypt Cadmus took them to Greece. Cadmus in exile from Arcadia, took them to Italy, and his mother Carmenta changed them to Latin to the number of 15. Apollo on the lyre added the rest...." [material in brackets added]

The ancient record therefore confirms that the initial Greek letters, which constitute the origins of writing in Western Europe, were in fact a conglomeration of inputs, just as Dr. Eisenberg claims for the Phaistos Disk [we use Disk and Disc interchangeably here for the sake of the search engines since both terms are used]. Accordingly, this characteristic is no proof that the Phaistos Disk is not genuine. Quite the contrary, it is exactly what we would expect from ancient Greek letters, based on the historical record. The first Greek letters viz. symbols (or signs) were in fact taken from numerous ancient sources.

One of the inventors of Greek letters mentioned by Hyginus has a clear connection to Crete: Palamedes, son of Nauplius and Clymene, the daughter of Catreus, king of Crete, son of the first king of Crete, Minos, and grandfather of Menelaus, the Greek husband of Helen of Troy. Catreus was thus the grandfather of Palamedes.

Grandfather Catreus had numerous children. His two daughters he is said to have given to a merchant mariner, Nauplius, to be married off in foreign lands. This mariner instead took Clymene for himself and sailed off into the sunset. Where did they ultimately settle? Clymene in ancient Greek sources is also called Asia, which some allege is how the continent Asia got its name, thus pointing to a possible geographic Asian destiny. Indeed, Herodotus is puzzled by Ancient Greek usage of women's names to describe large areas such as Asia or Europe. But the answer – royal settlement - is clear.

It is her son Palamedes who subsequently surfaces as the greatest inventor in the history of Greece, for Palamedes not only allegedly invented eleven of the Greek letters, but it is also said that he invented counting, currency, weights and measures, military ranks, dice, pessoi (a type of chess), and made improvements in winemaking.

Amazing enough, but all of this could very well be true in the ancient era if the inventions of Palamedes were obtained by technology transfer from a foreign land, for Mercury (viz. Hermes) the bringer of letters, has the same meaning as "merchant". These inventions were brought to Greece from a distant land by traveling merchants.

As we have discovered, this land is Elam, the land – we claim here - where Clymene and Nauplius ultimately settled. It is the land in which letters were first stamped onto clay, just as on the Phaistos Disk, but long before it. An existing technology was thus imported into ancient Crete. We will discuss this in detail subsequently.

The second major argument raised by Dr. Eisenberg against the Phaistos Disk is the lack of corroborative texts. When Dr. Eisenberg initially asked me to present a paper at this conference, I declined, saying it was a losing proposition for me, since no probative proof of authenticity would be possible without corroborative texts. To my knowledge then, there were no such texts available, so it was pointless to come.

At Dr. Eisenberg's friendly insistence, I finally agreed to present a paper merely presenting my point of view that the Phaistos Disk was quite genuine, and giving my reasons for so believing. But in the course of research for this paper, a remarkable thing happened. I discovered two texts that contained symbols with a great deal of similarity to a number of symbols on the Phaistos Disk. These texts were from Elam and were written in Old Elamite Script. Could they be connected?

Indeed, when I applied the syllabic values for the Phaistos Disc that I had obtained 30 years previously, I was able to read those Old Elamite Scripts without difficulty. They were written in Ancient Greek language, and the author was presumably Palamedes, the son of Clymene, and the inventor of Greek letters.

The 1980 Decipherment of the Phaistos Disc by Andis Kaulins

In The Phaistos Disc: Hieroglyphic Greek with Euclidean Dimensions, this author wrote as follows: [2]

"In ... 1977 a colleague ... at the University of Kiel departed on a vacation to Crete.... [S]he brought back a book from the Heraklion Museum in which a photo of Side A of the Phaistos Disc was pictured... Was it ... written in an Indo-European language? ... [if yes, this author concluded], it would have to bear a close relation to the Baltic languages [the most archaic still spoken Indo-European tongues], and ... in that case [yes, it should be decipherable]...."

Three years later, this author's decipherment resulted in the monograph cited above, and engendered the following reaction: [3]

"[The decipherment was shown] to a number of people [who] were of the opinion that [the] work was plausible, if speculative (especially because of the lack of corroborative additional Cretan material)."

As one would expect, the method used for decipherment of the Phaistos Disk began with a detailed review of previous publications about the Phaistos Disc as available to the author at that time 1977 to 1980 (Figure 2): [4]

Figure 2
Previous Research on the Phaistos Disc
(prior to 1980)

Had anyone found the right path? Did the incomplete 1952 Ventris decipherment of Linear B as Ancient Greek indicate that Greek was the most likely language? The 45 pictographs on the Phaistos Disc appeared 241 times and appeared to be divided into words by vertical lines. [5] Were the symbols syllabic? This author sensed that statistical analysis of frequencies and distribution would help to solve the mystery.

A chart was made of the distribution and frequency of the pictographs. [6] This frequency was then compared to the distribution of letters and letter combinations found at the beginnings of words in Ancient Greek, [7] and also in Latvian and Lithuanian languages (the most archaic still spoken Indo-European tongues). [8]

Based on those stats and supported by Greek, Latvian and Lithuanian terms [9] for the objects presumably depicted by the symbols, syllabic values were derived and analyzed in a comprehensive Michael Ventris – Alice Kober type of syllabic grid, which included the major language consonants and vowels (Figure 3): [10]

Figure 3
Syllabic Grid of the Phaistos Disc
by Andis Kaulins (1980)

As applied to the Phaistos Disc, the syllabic grid above then resulted in the Ancient Greek transcription found in Figure 4.

Figure 4
Ancient Greek Transcription of the Phaistos Disc
by Andis Kaulins [11]

In English, that Greek text could be read as follows:

  • Foreseen (are) -as given - standing straight lines (perpendiculars)
  • to be constructed (drawn). - To the side - of either such line segment
  • extend - a partner line - running - alongside. - The Problem (LEMMA):
  • Consider - whether these - Parallel Lines - extended - stay - Parallels.
  • Consider -whether these - Parallels - extended converge (diverge).
  • The synthetic - added line - would foresee - a medial (uncertain) - termination.
  • Extended (beyond bounds) - a fixed (converging) - termination.
  • Next to - the categorized - just constructed lines - and flat to
  • the side walls' - diameter - inscribe - a closed arc - and make it so that
  • the new line - curve - in its course - the side walls - diagonally - joins.
  • Tie together - yoked - the branched lines.
  • Connect - the standing straight lines - and branched lines.
  • Run a line so that - the newly created
  • geodetic lines - are met - and the branched lines - pair is yoked.
  • The promised -solution - is given.
A modern English mathematical version of the text would then read as follows: [12]
If the parallel lines B, D and C [see Figure 5]
are extended to f and g [and beyond but short of infinity],
then the resulting angle x varies, [nearing 180 or 0 degrees]
depending on where line f and g is drawn.
Hence, the termination is uncertain.

As the parallels B, D and C are extended
beyond bounds (i.e. to infinity, or infinite ends),
then the angle x [measured from the center of the circle
to the lines drawn to the ends of the extensions
of the parallel lines B and C]
will get smaller and smaller towards D
as the lines B, D and C are extended,
thus suggesting a converging termination.
Figure 5 shows the resulting geometric figure. [13]

Figure 5
The Geometric Problem Presented by the Text of the Phaistos Disc

This pre-Euclidean "proof" anticipates a modern analysis of parallel lines by non-Euclidean geometry. It suggests that Euclidian geometry was known to the Greeks prior to Euclid, which, in view of such mathematically sophisticated ancient sources as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, [14] should no longer surprise us. Indeed, the fact that Side A of the Phaistos Disc starts with 4 "knots" [I have been told that new close-up photos indicate this is also 5 knots on Side A] and Side B of the Phaistos Disc starts with 5 "knots" could indeed indicate that these are the ancient predecessors of Euclid's later 4th and 5th postulates, [or both sides could just represent the 5th postulate alone]. The 4th postulate postulated that all right angles equal one another (the Phaistos Disk speaks of perpendiculars in starting its parallel postulate) and the 5th postulate is Euclid's "parallel postulate" (as on the Phaistos Disc). [15]

The Russian mathematician Nikolai Lobachevsky [16] in fact derived a proof in the 19th century which is similar to the mathematical proof found on the Phaistos Disk (Figure 6): [17]

Figure 6
Lobachevsky and Parallel Lines : A Modern-Day Phaistos Disc Figure

"... [In the figure above] line AB is perpendicular to CD. If we permit it to rotate about A counterclockwise, it will intersect CD at various points to the right of B until it reaches a limiting position EF, when it becomes parallel to CD. Continuing the rotation, it will start to intersect CD to the left of B. Euclid assumed that there is only one position for the line, namely EF, when it would be parallel to CD. Lobachevsky assumed that there were two such positions, represented by A1B1 and C1D1, and further, that all lines falling within the angle θ, while not parallel to CD, would never meet it, no matter how far extended.

Now this is an assumption, and there is no sense in arguing from the diagram that it is evident that if A1B1 or C1D1 were intersected sufficiently far, they would eventually intersect CD. If, as Professor Cohen has pointed out, we rely wholly on our intuition of space, which is finite, there will always be an angle θ which grows smaller as our space is extended, but which never vanishes, and all lines falling within θ will fail to intersect the given line. [The reference is to Morris Raphael Cohen, Reason and Nature, p. 137.]"
As Steve Burdic informed this author some years ago, this mathematical figure is found not only in Euclid but also in ancient astronomy as marking the major lines of the equinoxes and Winter and Summer solstice sunrises and sunsets (see Figure 7). [18]

Figure 7
Steve Burdic - The Same Figure is found in Astronomy

Nevertheless, in spite of our apparent success in deciphering the Phaistos Disc as an ancient mathematical proof written in Ancient Greek, we were – as an alleged decipherer - very unhappy with the result. Who was going to believe that the Phaistos Disc represented a pre-Euclidean text that encompassed a lost postulation regarding the paradox of parallel lines? [19]

No one was going to believe that and no one has believed it. This author would have been much happier to find a text involving a mundane funerary script or a royal laudation to a king, which is what the archaeological community could at least have treated as plausible. But to allege that this was pre-Euclidean mathematics was – for the mainstream - beyond the pale.

Moreover, there was a much more serious problem to be faced. There were absolutely no corroborative texts. How was one going to prove the soundness of an alleged decipherment if there was no way to check the correctness of the assignment of syllabic values to the pictographs, or even to prove that the disk itself was genuine?

Mainstream Archaeology and the Evaluation of Evidence

Real or fake? That is the question being asked here today about the Phaistos Disc – and it is indeed an appropriate question to be asked in view of some of the evidentiary blunders committed recently by mainstream archaeology, [20] exemplified by the fake James Ossuary, which, prior to its removal, was presented to over 100,000 visitors at the Royal Ontario Museum. [21] As we wrote to Dr. Eisenberg:

"The presence of so many fakes and hoaxes in archaeology is a function of the fact that your average archaeologist is virtually untrained in decipherment work or in the critical analysis of evidence. Archaeologists claim to have the expertise to interpret ancient texts and artifacts but in fact they generally do not have that competence. Archaeologists are for the most part diggers rather than decipherers or interpreters, who in their written allegedly scholarly work in fact often rely gullibly and uncritically on secondary sources (so-called authorities) within their own ranks, rather than engaging in independent critical thought or inquiry. The world's great decipherers have generally not been mainstream archaeologists. What the archaeologists should be doing and what they are good at is to examine the evidence of the actual PHYSICAL disk by modern dating methods to see if its age can be confirmed or amended, but exactly that is what they have not been doing. Hence, it is thus not surprising that persons such as [Dr. Eisenberg] challenge the genuineness of the Disk, an undertaking which is welcome to this writer, since it may help to force the archaeological community to get their act together and do what they are supposed to do and what they are good at doing.

At the root of the problem is also the hunger for power and authority, combined with wishful thinking. People tend to believe what serves their interests, what they want to believe and not necessarily what the evidence indicates to actually be true. Neutral objective fact-finding is thus not always present in science. One needs merely to read Breaking the Maya Code [22] by Michael D. Coe, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University, for a moving account of how one self-serving and woefully erring academic authority torpedoed the correct Maya decipherment efforts of his opponents for nearly 40 years, and was even knighted for his folly to boot."

In The Phaistos Disc: Hieroglyphic Greek with Euclidean Dimensions, this author covered the decipherment problems involved with the Phaistos Disc in detail, writing as follows and initially quoting J. J. Gelb: [23]

"As a test of decipherment, we should insist on translation of a full text, not simply excerpts. It is frequently possible to provide a persuasive interpretation for a small portion of the text, such as a phrase or even a sentence, but this cannot be a decipherment if the rest of the text is gibberish."

E. J. W. Barber in Archaeological Decipherment, a Handbook (Princeton University Press, 1974), raises a particularly sober test for "decipherment" of the Phaistos Disc:

"For determining any particular sort of linguistic information, of course, larger amounts of text give us more reliable statistics. Anyone who claims to have deciphered a script for which only 241 signs of non-alphabetic text are known must expect his genius to go unrecognized until more texts turn up. Not only is there not enough statistical information for him to prove his claim, but by the same token there is not enough for anyone else to disprove it."...

Insofar as the Phaistos Disc is concerned, Barber's point of view must be regarded as sound in principle. Indeed, the crucial step in the work of Ventris was the subsequent discovery of additional Linear B tablets which verified in general the syllabic values assigned by him to Linear B symbols. Similarly, it is unlikely that any decipherment of the Phaistos Disc will be able to convince everyone unless additional texts in the same script can also be deciphered by the use of syllabic (or other) values assigned to those symbols found on the Disc." ...

In a similar vein, Hiller also cites the work of G. Neumann, "Zum Forschungsstand beim 'Diskos von Phaistos', Kadmos 7, 1968, pp. 27-44, which views this matter from the practical side and thus continues the work of G. Ipsen (1929) in this regard. Neumann identifies four major problems which have thus far hindered the decipherment of the Disc: 1) the Disc is the only text of its kind yet discovered in Crete: 2) the text is allegedly too short to allow sufficient statistical analysis of the distribution of symbols; 3) the circumstances surrounding its discovery give few clues as to the nature of the writing, nor does the Disc itself offer much assistance (as opposed, for example, to a grave inscription); and 4) the Disc stems from a very early period of history which allows no "antehec data" to be discovered in other sources....

One area in which progress has been made, as Hiller notes, is in the suggestion that the Phaistos Disc is not an imported isolated object but stems out of the "native" Aegean culture which existed at the time that the Disc was made (even though this culture may of course have been imported at some previous time). Accordingly, C. Devaras in "Zur Herkunft des Diskos von Phaistos", Kadmos 5, 1967, pp. 101-155, pointed out that the "crown" on the top of the head of the most frequent symbols on the disc ([the graphic in the original book is excluded here]) finds comparables in the Aegean. This observation supported work by Chapoutier (CRAI, 1937, 277f.) in showing that the symbols on the bronze axe of Arkalochori and the stone altar of Mallia were similar to those on the Phaistos Disc. Moreover, I. Pini in "Zum Diskos von Phaistos", Kadmos 9, 1970, p. 93, showed that clay impressions similar to one of the symbols on the Disc were found elsewhere on Crete as well. Lastly, comparisons to Linear A have been made by J. Raison and M. Pope in "Index to Linear A", Kadmos 14, 1975, pp. 97-101, as Hiller points out, thereby supporting similar efforts by G. Pugliese Carratelli, "Sulle epigrafi in Lineare A di carattere sacrale", Minos, 5 (1957) and Simon Davis, The Decipherment of the Minoan Linear A and Pictographic Scripts (Witwatersrand University Press: Johannesburg, 1967). All of this work has contributed to keeping scholars from looking too far away from "home" for answers to help in the decipherment of the Disc.

A critical and much disputed question over the years has been the direction of the writing of the Disc, and similar technical questions, such as which side was written first, etc. Hiller notes further in his article that great progress in this area has been made in recent years. Although it had long been suggested that the direction of the writing on the Disc was from right to left (and hence from the outer rim inwards), H. J. Hacker and E. Schellen in "Ein neues Argument for die rechtsläufige Leserichtung des Diskos von Phaistos", Kadmos, 10, 1971, pp. 20-27, challenged the old assumption with new arguments and thus forced the opposing side to establish its position on a sounder basis. This culminated in the works of J. Fauccounau, "La sens de L'ecriture du Disque de Phaistos", Kadmos, 14, 1975, pp. 94-96, J. P. Olivier, "Le Disque de Phaistos, Edition Photographique, BCH 99, 1975, pp. 5-34, A. Bradshaw, "The Imprinting of the Phaistos Disc", Kadmos 15, 1976, and Yves Duhoux, Le Disque de Phaestos. Archaeologie. Epigraphie. Edition critique. Index. (Louvain, Éditions Peeters, 1977)....

Based on careful analysis of the original Disc itself, Duhoux determined, among other things: 1) that the Disc was likely written with a ready-made "model" at hand; 2) that Side A was smoothened and flattened by hand and that Side B was smoothened and flattened as a result of the pressure applied on Side A; 3) that the clay had begun to dry during the writing process, on the basis of which the order in which the sides were stamped can be determined: namely, Side A first and Side B second; 4) that the spiral lines were drawn from the outside inwards; 5) that the symbols were stamped from the outside inwards; 6) that the separating lines were added after the symbols had been stamped: and, 7) that the writing runs from right to left."

Corroborative Elamite Script for the Phaistos Disc

Thanks to the friendly persistence of Dr. Jerome Eisenberg, I finally agreed to attend this conference and present a paper, even though I had done no work on the Phaistos Disk in the nearly 30 years since my own publication. As I wrote to Dr. Eisenberg:

"I am happy to see you have tackled this fun topic and that you thereby are keeping the Phaistos Disk in the public eye. The idea that the Phaistos Disk is a forgery is not new to me and there is no question that the lack of additional Minoan scripts using these symbols is a serious problem, not only in terms of the question of the genuineness of the Disk but also in terms of validation of any alleged decipherment of the Phaistos Disk."

For this paper, I thus searched for a corroborative script which might have surfaced somewhere in the Ancient World as a genuine artefact in the last 30 years, and, to my own great astonishment, I did locate such a script at Omniglot (see Figure 8):[24]

Figure 8
An Old Elamite Script as Corroboration for the Phaistos Disc

Figure 9 (below)
Old Elamite Script in Figure 8 turned to Horizontal

What struck me immediately was the similarity, shown at Figure 10, between the first word on the Old Elamite text and the symbols on the Phaistos Disc, whereby the Old Elamite script looked like a more cursive version of the Phaistos Disc script.

Figure 10
The First Word of an Old Elamite Script and Phaistos Disc Symbols Compared

The Old Elamite script in Figures 8, 9 & 10 is from Elam, the ancient kingdom east of Sumer and Akkad, with its capital at Susa, the source of the stele of the Code of Hammurabi, in what is today southwest Iran. Written records place the beginnings of Elamite culture at ca. 3200 BC. The script in question is referred to as Old Elamite, and - just like the script of the Phaistos Disc - it is still considered by the mainstream to be an undeciphered pictographic script, for whose symbols the syllabic values shown in Figure 11 have in any case been alleged to apply to Old Elamite by some researchers: [25]

Figure 11
Syllabic Values alleged for Old Elamite Script by others

The entire matter became provocatively interesting because the Old Elamite script in Figure 8 is clearly substantiated by a similar Old Elamite script found at Figure 12. This second script has a tremendous impact on the present subject because the second Old Elamite script has an Akkadian bilingual text, [26] which has been translated to mean that a monument of some kind was erected for or by an important personage in Susa. Since a number of symbol combinations are repeated identically on both Old Elamite scripts as found at Figure 8 as well as at Figure 12, it is then logical to presume that both Old Elamite scripts have a similar content and relate to the dedication of monuments to or by important Elamite personages at Susa.

Figure 12
A 2nd Old Elamite script from Susa with an Akkadian bilingual text

Based on the bilingual Akkadian text of this document, the above Old Elamite script has been read to mean as follows (our translation from the German is appended): [27]

[German] "Seinem Herrn Inshushinak, dem Menschenbildner (?), 2. habe ich Shilhak-Inshushinak, 3. der Statthalter von Susa, 4. der König des Landes Elam, 5. der Shempishhukische, 6. eine Säule (?) aus Kupfer (und) Zedernholz geweiht."

[Our English translation of that error-filled conversion] "For his master Inshushinak, the sculptor of human forms (?), I, Shilhak-Inshushinak, Administrator of Susa, King of Elam, has dedicated the Shempishhukische, an obelisk (or column) (?) of copper and cedar wood."

If we now apply the syllabic values derived by this author in the year 1980 for the symbols on the Phaistos Disc to the pictographs found in the Old Elamite scripts at Figure 8 and Figure 12, what happens? What language results and what reading – if any – do these syllabic values provide? Based on the dual syllabic grid in Figure 13, the decipherment result is shown in Figure 14 and Figure 15, which decipher both Old Elamite scripts using the Phaistos Disc syllabic values already obtained by Andis Kaulins in 1980 and applying those same syllabic values to similar symbols on the Old Elamite scripts.

Figure 13
Dual Syllabic Grid of Old Elamite Script and Phaistos Disc Symbols

Figure 14 : Decipherment of the Old Elamite Script at Figures 8 & 9
via the Andis Kaulins deciphered symbols of the Phaistos Disc

The Ancient Greek text in Figure 14 (i.e. Figures 8 and 9) reads in English:

"Ruler over all (Pantarchas). In memory, the deceased in these walls of a new temple is laid to rest. The collected elders, ordained by God, and the lone (sole) companion of King Labynetus, Nitokris, administrator in death, in Susa erected this temple in memory, in sorrow created."

It is now also possible to decipher the Old Elamite Script at Figure 12, as follows:

Figure 15
Decipherment of the Second Old Elamite Script found at Figure 12

The Ancient Greek text in Figure 15 (i.e. Figure 12) reads in English:

"This great hall of columns, Peloponessus, was erected in memory of the deceased Queen Nitokris of Mycenaean descent, separated from her home in Mycenae and now in sorrow separated in death."

Perhaps Nitokris was the true "Helen of Troy" [or Clymene] of ancient Greek legend.

The ancient name for Troy was Ilium or Ilion: [28] (Greek Τροία, Troia or Ἴλιον, Ilion; Latin: Trōia, Īlium, Hittite: Truwisa or Wilusa). Ilium thus bears a close word correspondence to the term Elam. Did both identify the same place? In Persia? We must recall that the currently accepted location of Troy [29] in Anatolia as popularized by Heinrich Schliemann and as defended in our day by Manfred Korfmann has been called a fantasy construction by Frank Kolb, and, indeed, there is almost no probative evidence proving that Hisarlik [30] in modern-day Turkey was actually Troy. Nothing in historical or archaeological data gives Hisarlik any great ancient importance.

Homer spoke of springs west of the city of Troy, but there are none at Hisarlik. But there are underground springs on the Susa plain. As written by Richard Critchfield:[31]

"At this point it should be noted that the Khuzestan Plain (which with the Zagros foothills comprised the ancient land of Elam) represents a geographical extension of the great Mesopotamian alluvial plain. Mesopotamia, literally the "land between the two rivers," the Tigris and the Euphrates, has traditionally been regarded as a trough slowly filling with alluvial soil carried down from the Anatolia and Zagros mountains. (Elam was, and is, watered by the Karun River, a tributary of the Tigris.)...

The surface gradients and underlying gravel deposits in the Susa region were advantageous in the early stages of the development of irrigation, since they permit an adequate flow during the winter growing season with relatively short and easily maintained canals. In addition, the pebbly soils in the upper portion of the Susa plain or Susiana as it was called in ancient times, receive natural subirrigation from underground springs, while rainfall from the mountains is carried out onto the plain some distance by numerous winter and spring freshets. This is one reason why the upper portion of the Susiana plains abounds in rich natural pasture land if not overgrazed and wild narcissi still flourish here.
[emphasis added]

This and other evidence ... suggests that man, having learned wheat and barley cultivation and sheep herding in the foothills and mountain valleys, made the vital transition from dry farming to irrigation agriculture on the Elamite or Susianian plain around Susa and that it was here, rather than in Mesopotamia proper - which after all lies only fifty miles to the west of Susa - that civilization as we know it truly began. [It is hoped such a flat assertion might arouse controversy. Elam and Susa have been so under-publicized it was still possible last year for ... The March of Archaeology by C. W. Ceram to be published with only one mention of Susa or Elam, and that in the index.]

Many archeologists believe the earliest settlers of Mesopotamia came from Elam, where the villagers were of similar Sumerian-Semitic stock. But the origin of the Sumerians remains unestablished and we have only the Bible's "And as men migrated in the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there." Certainly, the "land between the two rivers" offered many attractions to the mountaineers and newly-settled plainsmen near Susa with its fish and fowl, easily-worked alluvial soil, many date palms to supplement a cereal diet and the annual flooding that always brought a fresh top dressing of silt."

Susa and Elam are therefore of great historical and archaeological interest. Jacque de Morgan, [32] famed for having found the Code of Hammurabi [33] at Susa and called the father of prehistoric archaeology by some, wrote: [34]

"In the Nile valley I developed the conviction that the first civilizations, from which the Egyptian empire arose, came from Chaldea and that the Mesopotamian plains had therefore been the cradle of human progress. Susa, because of its very early date, provided the possibility of solving the greatest and most important problem, that of our origins. This city, in my view, belonged to that primordial world that had witnessed the discovery of writing, the use of metals, the beginnings of art. If the great problem of origins was to be solved one day, it was in Chaldea, and especially at Susa, that it was necessary to seek the basic elements." [emphasis added]

As far as the origins of writing are concerned, in fact, some of the oldest seals and stamps ever discovered have been found at Susa in Elam. [35] As on the Phaistos Disc, the ancient technology of "writing" symbols onto seals consisted of stamping carved impressions onto clay. The Phaistos Disc does not implement an unknown technology, rather, it implements a technology otherwise unknown to Crete that was surely imported from elsewhere.

The geographic placement of Troy toward Persia is also suggested by other evidence.

The Iliou persis [36] (Greek: Ἰλίου πέρσις, Latin: Iliupersis) is a lost Greek epic of the so-called Epic Cycle (also called the "Trojan Cycle") of Greek literature, of which fragments have survived. [37] The current mainstream translation of the title phrase Iliou persis as "Sack of Ilium" is unpersuasive and doubtful in view of the Ancient Greek root περσισ-(persis-, "Persian"), whereby πέρσις (pérsis) "destruction" is surely a derivative meaning attached to the folk name. Iliou persis in its original context thus most likely actually meant "Elam in Persia" or "Hellas in Persia".

In any case, it was in fact the similarly named Paris (perhaps originally "Persis", the Greek from Persia) who, according to the legend of the cause of the Trojan War, eloped with or abducted Helen of Troy, [38] the stepdaughter of King Tyndareus. That entire complex of ancient tales provides us with the necessary Mycenaean connection to Crete, as follows, according to Greek legend:[39]

"Tyndareus Τυνδαρεύς (or Tyndareos Τυνδάρεως) was a Spartan king..., husband of Leda and [step]father of Helen.... Tyndareus' wife, Leda, was seduced by Zeus ... disguised ... as a swan. She laid two eggs, each producing two children ... from one egg, Pollux and Helen were the children of Zeus; from the other, Castor and Clytemnestra were the children of Tyndareus.

When Thyestes seized control in Mycenae, two exiled princes, Agamemnon and Menelaus came to Sparta. Tyndareus received them.... Agamemnon married Clytemnestra. Helen ... had many more suitors for she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

When it was time for [Helen] to marry, many ... kings and princes came to seek her hand.... Tyndareus [would not] send any of the suitors away for fear of grounds for a quarrel.... Odysseus proposed that, before the decision was made, all the suitors should swear a most solemn oath to defend the chosen husband against whoever should quarrel with the chosen one. This stratagem succeeded and Helen and Menelaus were married. Eventually, Tyndareus resigned in favor of his son-in-law and Menelaus became king of Sparta....

Some years later, Paris, a Trojan prince came to Sparta to marry Helen, whom he had been promised by Aphrodite. Helen fell in love with him and left willingly, (although it is also suggested that he may have simply kidnapped her, with neither theory being conclusively proven) leaving behind Menelaus and Hermione, their nine-year-old daughter....

Menelaus' attempts to retrieve Helen ... caused the Trojan War." [emphasis added]

The connection to Crete is strengthened by the legendary account that on the night that Helen and Paris left Sparta, they were able to do so because Menelaus had left Sparta to sail to Crete for the funeral of his grandfather King Catreus:[40]

"The myth about Catreus [son of King Minos of Crete] and his children is proof (known as well from the archaeological findings) that in the so called "heroic age" a close relation existed between Crete, Mycenae, and the other places in the Peloponnese and also between Crete and the islands such as Rhodes."

The Trojan War holds more surprises in the legendary account, some of which seem to be conveniently ignored by those who modernly discuss the location of Troy.

As written by Robert Graves (Robert von Ranke-Graves), [41] based on numerous Greek sources, Helen and Paris, after leaving Sparta, sailed to Cyprus, Sidon (Phoenicia, near Tyre) and the Nile Delta of Egypt, where, at the latter, they founded a temple on the Canopic branch of the Nile. As explained below, this could have been at Sais: [42]

"Sais or Sa el-Hagar was an ancient Egyptian town in the Western Nile Delta on the Canopic branch of the Nile."

The patron goddess of the "Egyptian" city Sais was Neith, whose cult at Sais is allegedly attested in texts clear back to the 1st Dynasty, but nothing archaeological has been found earlier than the New Kingdom at that alleged location of Sais, in fact "only a few relief blocks in situ". [43] Interesting then, according to legend, is that ancient Sais was allegedly built by Greeks, not Egyptians, prior to the cataclysm. [44]

"Herodotus wrote that Sais is where the grave of Osiris was located.... Diodorus Siculus attested that it was the Athenians who built Sais before the cataclysm. While all Greek cities were destroyed during the cataclysm, the Egyptian cities including Sais survived. ... There are today no surviving traces of this town prior to the Late New Kingdom (c. 1100 BC) due to the extensive destruction of the city by the Sebakhin (farmers removing mud brick deposits for use as fertilizer) leaving only a few relief blocks in situ."

Figure 16
The Legendary Route of Helen of Troy and Paris

The legendary route of Helen and Paris to Troy does not speak for Hisarlik as Troy, for Paris and Helen went to Troy after leaving Egypt, and they would not have gone that far South only to return even further to the North. [45] Troy is clearly elsewhere.

According to Herodotus, [46] the Greeks had trouble finding Troy, which would seem to exclude Hisarlik as the location of Troy, since that location would easily have been known to them, being in their own back yard.

The legend relates that the Greek warships in pursuit of Helen and Paris initially and mistakenly attacked the people called Teuthranians (we think this was the Tyranians, the people of Tyre, near Sidon) who claimed that Helen was not in their land, and put up fierce resistance, inflicting serious losses on the Greeks. Tyre would in that case then be the origin of the later name Troy, which became confused historically by the ancient writers with Ilium (Elam), the actual location of Helen and Paris.

Catreus, the grandfather of Menelaus, had numerous children, but after an oracle prophesied that one of those children would kill him, he sent his sons off to distant places such as Rhodes. His two daughters he is said to have given to a merchant mariner, to be married off in foreign lands:[47]

"Catreus [gave] two of his daughters, Aerope and Clymene, to the merchant sailor Nauplius, to be sold in foreign lands. Aerope [was] the mother of Agamemnon and Menelaus..., but Clymene was married by Nauplius, who had by her sons: Palamedes and Oeax." [emphasis added]

Clymene is a term referred to by two names in ancient Greek sources, as Clymene and as Asia, [48] thus pointing to a possible geographic Asian destiny for her together with Nauplius. It is her son Palamedes [49] who is subsequently of the greatest of interest as an inventor of letters:

"[Palamedes] is said to have invented counting, currency, weights and measures, jokes, dice and a forerunner of chess called pessoi, as well as military ranks. Sometimes he is credited with discoveries in the field of wine making and the supplementary letters of the Greek alphabet."

According to Gaius Julius Hyginus,[50] Palamedes is said to have invented eleven of the Greek letters: [51] [emphasis added]

"CCLXXVII. FIRST INVENTORS. The Parcae, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos invented seven Greek letters - A B H T I Y. Others say that Mercury invented them from the flight of cranes, which, when they fly, form letters. Palamedes, too, son of Nauplius, invented eleven letters; Simonides, too, invented four letters – Ó E Z PH; Epicharmus of Sicily, two - P and PS. The Greek letters Mercury is said to have brought to Egypt, and from Egypt Cadmus took them to Greece. Cadmus in exile from Arcadia, took them to Italy, and his mother Carmenta changed them to Latin to the number of 15. Apollo on the lyre added the rest.... Minerva first built a two-prowed ship for Danaus in which he fled from Aegyptus his brother." [emphasis added]

This invention is said to have occurred at about the time of the Trojan War, for Palamedes was a contemporary of Helen of Troy. One account reads: [52]

"Cadmus, son of Agenor, first brought seventeen Greek letters from Phoenicia into Greece: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, iota, kappa, lambda, mu, nu, omicron, pi, rho, sigma, tau, phi. Palamedes added three more to this at the time of the Trojan War: eta, chi, omega. After him the lyricist Simonides added three others (psi, xi, theta)."

The mythographer Hyginus says, by way of introduction, that the MOERAE invented seven Greek letters (of which only six are visible in his text): alpha, beta, eta, tau, iota, and upsilon. Then he refers to other sources which claim that Mercury (Hermes) conceived the letters by observing the flight of cranes which form letters when they fly. Then says Hyginus that Palamedes invented eleven letters, Simonides four (omega, epsilon, zeta, and phi), and Epicharmus of Sicily two (pi, and psi). He says further that Cadmus took the letters which he introduced in Hellas from Egypt, where Hermes had brought them [Fabulae 277].

Accordingly, for the era of Helen of Troy, we have substantial legendary evidence that the use of Greek letters was in its early stages at this time, and known to the Mycenaean and other Greek royal families that descended from Catreus, the son of King Minos of Crete.

As far as the origin of writing in Greece is concerned, we thus have a persuasive connection between the Crete of the Phaistos Disc and early Greek texts.

What is clear is that Helen of Troy and Paris spent the Trojan War either in Egypt or in a different land, to which they went from Egypt. The Elamite scripts suggest that Helen of Troy and Paris could have left Egypt and ultimately have arrived in Elam.

It should be noted, however, that another possibility exists for the origin of the texts, i.e. that they relate directly to Clymene and Naublius, for which reason we append that alternative explanation at various junctures in this writing.

In addition to the above connections of Helen of Troy and other essential historical personages to Mycenae and Crete by legend, there is also a potential linguistic connection to Crete in the name of Queen Nitokris (viz. Nitocris) in Egypt, who is thought to have ruled ca. 2150 BC.

The Egyptian Queen Nitokris, according to current scholarship, is regarded to be a different Queen than the "Babylonian" Elamite Queen Nitokris, but we leave a discussion of the issue of whether these were separate Queens or not to a later date, since this is a question of chronology and other matters too broad to discuss here.

In the Mycenaean context here, it is important to note that Nitokris is read Neit-krety in Egyptology and could in fact thus be read as "goddess (or woman) of Crete". In very archaic Indo-European (e.g. Latvian) the term meita is similar to neit viz. neith and means simply "girl" or "woman", so that the original meaning of Neit-krety might simply have been "girl from Crete".[53] Sais in Egypt was thus the Temple of Neith and the similarly named Susa was the city of the Queen from Crete. But that could also be Clymene rather than Helen of Troy, whose husband hailed from Crete. In case Helen of Troy remained in Egypt during the Trojan War, Neit-krety as Helen of Troy might even be related to the Egyptian Queen Nofretete.

In any case, either Helen of Troy or Clymene, probably the latter, was thus Queen Napirasu, as wife of King Untash-Napirisha (King Labynetus viz. Naublius) of Elam, whereby the similar name Na-piris-ha could speculatively be the Paris of ancient Greek legend who eloped with Helen - or in the alternative - Napirisha could be the name equivalent to Naublius, which seems more likely.

A statue of Queen Napirasu, unique for its time, composed of 3760 pounds of bronze and copper, was found in Susa, and is today a part of the Iran collection in the Louvre. In that statue we thus see either Helen of Troy or Clymene as the life-size statue of Queen Napirasu (Figure 17): [54]

Figure 17
Queen Napirasu of Elam (Helen of Troy or Clymene, wife of Naublius)

The Louvre labels this statue as being:[56]

"Queen Napirasu, wife of King Untash-Napirisha [Nauplius could be the family name], circa 1340-1300 BC, Statue found at the Tell of the Acropolis, Susa, Iran, Bronze and copper, H.1.29 m; L. 0.73 m, Jacques de Morgan excavations, 1903."

The Louvre writes further in more detail:[55]

"This statue is of Queen Napirasu, wife of Untash-Napirisha, who ruled in the Middle Elamite period as one of the greatest Igihalkid kings. Under this dynasty, a great Elamite empire flourished, taking advantage of the decline of neighboring Mesopotamia. Untash-Napirisha founded the city of Al-Untash-Napirisha and filled it with monuments decorated with statues, which are remarkable proof of the standard of Elamite metalworking techniques.

Queen Napirasu, Untash-Napirisha's wife, is shown standing. The figure is life-size, but the head and the left arm are damaged. She is wearing a short-sleeved gown covered in the sort of embroidery usually found on such garments. She has four bracelets on her right wrist and a ring on her left ring finger. Although her hands are crossed on her stomach, she is not in the pose usually associated with worship. The inscription on the front of the skirt is in Elamite, reflecting the kingdom's linguistic identity. This inscription gives the queen's name and titles, invokes the protection of the gods, describes the ritual offerings made to them, and calls down their curse on anyone bold enough to desecrate her likeness. The statue is placed under the protection of the god Beltiya and three deities associated with the Igihalkid Dynasty - the god Inshushinak, the god Napirisha, and his consort Kiririsha. These three deities are also depicted on the stele of Untash-Napirisha, also in the Louvre (Sb3973).

This statue of Queen Napirasu is a rare surviving likeness of a member of the royal court during the Middle Elamite period. The sheer amount of metal used - some 1,750 kg for a single work - reflects the wealth of the Elamite kingdom during Untash-Napirisha's reign. The dimensions and the finesse of the statue also reflect the skill of the Elamite metalworkers. The work must have been cast in two successive parts: a lost-wax cast for the copper and tin shell, followed by a full cast alloy of bronze and tin for the core, rather than the more usual refractory clay. The two parts are held together with pins and splints. The sides would have originally been covered with gold or silver.

The reign of the Igihalkid king, Untash-Napirisha, witnessed the launch of a major construction program. The king ordered the restoration of a large number of temples and also built a new religious capital, Al-Untash-Napirisha (sometimes simply known as Al-Untash), on the site of modern-day Chogha Zanbil. The aim was to unite the different religions practiced in his kingdom in one place. Monuments throughout the city were decorated with numerous sculptures commissioned by the king, including this statue of his wife, which was discovered in Susa but was probably moved there from Al-Untash.

Documentation [for the above citation]:

Amiet Pierre, Suse 6000 ans d'histoire, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1988, pp. 98-99 ; fig. 57.

Benoit A. , "Les Civilisations du Proche-Orient ancien", in Manuels de l'École du Louvre ; Art et archéologie, Paris, École du Louvre, 2003, pp 358-359 ;fig. 180.

Meyers Peter, "The casting process of the statue of queen Napir-Asu in the Louvre", extrait de : Journal of Roman Archaeology, supplementary series, n 39, Portsmouth, 2000, pp.11-18."


Excerpted from Khodadad Rezakhani, Elam, History of Iran [57]

"Elam, the most powerful and longest lasting civilisation of the Iranian plateau prior to the Aryan arrival, has a complex history....

[W]e do not have a reliable knowledge of Elamite origin. As far back as 4th millennium BCE, evidence of Elamite settlement in the plains of Khuz (northern Persian Gulf) exist. Researches done on the Elamite skeletons show their racial closeness to the Sumerians and Dravidians of Indus Valley, while their language, at least in its latest form, shows very little connections with these cultures. The Elamite pottery and crafts is strongly influenced by the Sumerian artifacts, as well as Muhenjudaro and Bactro-Margiana cultural artifacts. We might assume that Elamites arrived in their homeland, most likely via the sea from southern Indus Valley region, around 3,500 BCE. Prior to their arrival, the plains of northern Persian Gulf were among the oldest civilised areas in the world history and the site of Susa was inhabited as far back as 4,200 BCE and had come under the rule of the kings of Akkad. When the ancestors of Elamites arrived, they settled in that area under the rule of the Sumerian kingdom of Ur. The proto-Elamites adopted many of the Sumerian cultural characteristics such as the cuneiform writing, which replaced their own original pictographic writing system. Still, they kept their own unique cultural peculiarities such as maternal system of succession and their own religion. Women seem to have held a very important position in the Elamite society. They inherited and willed their property, they ruled and conducted business, and as mentioned before, they were agents of succession in the government. The maternal characteristics of Elamite culture survived up to the Neo-Elamite era (around 750 BCE), around which it started to give way to the Babylonian/Semitic paternalistic system of its neighbours.

[ - click to see the article and]
An aerial photo of the Ziggurat of Chogha-Zanbil,

built during the reign of Untash Napirisha (ca. 1250 BC)
to the south of Ancient Susan (courtesy of Iran Photo Album)

The Elamite history has been superficially divided into Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms, based on the Egyptian system adopted by early Orientalists. This division does not hold firmly for Elam, but it is generally used as a matter of convenience. The Old Elamite Kingdom started a period of growth around the early 2nd millennium BCE. They first established their roots in the Khuz area, in the site of Susa (Shusha in Elamite), where Puzur-Inshushinak ... built the first Elamite status in his own honour. Elamites initially attacked and destroyed Ur, and later invaded Babylonia around 2,000 BCE and founded the Larsa dynasty. By that time, they were already the masters of Uruk, Isin, and Babylon. Later, Hamurabi of Babylonia stopped the expansion of Elam, but Babylonians could not stop the great kings like Kutir-Nakhunte to revive the Elamite power a hundred years later (ca. 1700 BCE).

Around 1,600 BCE, Kassites attacked and invaded Elam and annexed it to their empire. This put an end to the Old Elamite kingdom which was ruled successively by Kassites, Babylonians, Hittites, and again by Kassites for another 400 years. In 1160 BCE, Shutruk-Nakhunte, a local ruler of Susa, drove the Kassites out of Elam and established a new dynasty and an Elamite Empire. The culture that allowed the foundation of the Elamite Empire created great cities of Awan, Anshan, Simash and especially Susa, the lowland capital of the Elamites. It also built the great Ziggurat of Chogha-Zanbil, the famous temple of Elam that now remains as the oldest standing archaeological building in Iran.

[ - click to see the article and]
A picture of Shush (Susa) the Lowland capital of Elam]

The Elamite Empire was very short lived and it was soon invaded by Nebuchadnazzer of Babylonia in 1120 BCE. For 300 years, Elam, and Susa as its centre, was ruled as a Babylonian protectorate. During this time, the centre of the Elamite power was shifted to the east of their traditional territory and took refuge in the city of Anshanin the Zagros mountains. Elam once again rose to power in 750 BCE and took over their old capital of Susa. This New Elamite kingdom soon became a powerful state and started a campaign against the Babylonians and the new Assyrian Empire. This state, however powerful, could not stand against the overwhelming Assyrian expansion. In 645, Ashur-Banipal, the last powerful Assyrian emperor, invaded and raised Susa to the ground. This was the last blow on the Elamite power which at this point divided into small states and was soon ran over by the rising Median and Persian powers.
Elam holds a great place in the history of civilisation, especially from the Iranian point of view.... While it is true that many of their cultural characteristics, especially writing system, was adopted from the Mesopotamian civilisations, it is undeniable that the Elamites possessed a distinctly Elamite culture. They kept their own religion and built great temples to their gods, including Inshushinak, the protector of Susa, and a goddess who probably became Ardauui Sura Anahita the Elamite economy was based greatly on trade, but also on mining and export of raw material such as tin that was crucial for the powerful empires of Babylon and Assyria. They also for a long while acted as a buffer zone between Mesopotamia and the internal nomads of Iran, in the process, forming a great hybrid culture of Elamite, Babylonian, and Sumerian characteristics.
of the Achaemenid religion. Their government system, especially in its succession procedure, was unique for its time. Contrary to the agricultural economy of Mesopotamian,

[ click to see the article and an]
Aerial photograph of Tal-e Malyan,
now recognised as the site of the ancient Elamite
highland capital of Anshan
(courtesy of Archaeological Excavations at Tal-e Malyan)]

As far as the later civilisations of Iran are concerned, Elam was the major transmitter of the achievements of older civilisations to the Median and Achaemenid empires. The modified cuneiform that was developed by Elamites from the Sumerian models, constituted an early form of Syllabry that made it possible to create the Old Persian alphabetic cuneiform. Elamite architecture was the model of Achaemenid palaces, and the court procedure of the Persian court was completely modeled after the Elamite costumes. Also, the sciences and knowledge of Elam and Mesopotamia, mathematics and astronomy, was transmitted to the Persian Empire by the Elamite scribes who made their language one of the three official languages of the empire. Maybe the greatest tribute paid to Elam was the selection of their old capital, Susa, as the main capital of the Achaemenids. Cultural legacy of Elam has affected their successors more than many might imagine." [emphasis added]


A view of Chogha-Zanbil


American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 137 Issue 2, Pages 213 - 223
Published Online: 23 May 2008

Copyright © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company

"Middle Eastern and European mtDNA lineages characterize populations from eastern Crete"
Laisel Martinez 1, Sheyla Mirabal 1, Javier R. Luis 2, Rene J. Herrera 1 *
-1 Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA 33199
-2 Departamento de Xenética, Facultade de Bioloxia, Universidade de Vigo, Galicia, Spain 15887
email: Rene J. Herrera (
*Correspondence to Rene J. Herrera, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, University Park, Room OE304, Miami, FL 33199, USA
Laisel Martinez and Sheyla Mirabal contributed equally to the manuscript.

Minoan refugium • phylogenetic relationships •maternal lineage

"Throughout centuries, the geographic location of the island of Crete has been one of the leading factors shaping the composition of its population. Invasions and commercial and cultural ties at various time periods with European, Middle Eastern, and North African civilizations have created a collage of genetic and/or cultural influences from each of these regions within the island. Previous Y-chromosome diversity analyses uncovered pronounced differences in the frequency distribution of haplogroups from a mountain refugium and surrounding lowland populations of eastern Crete. In this study, the current geographic stratification of mtDNA haplotypes in eastern Crete was explored to elucidate potential sources of maternal gene flow. Our work includes a comparative characterization of two lowland collections from the Heraklion and Lasithi Prefectures in eastern Crete, as well as of an isolated mountain population from the Lasithi Plateau, all three previously examined using Y-chromosome markers. In addition to the presence of European mtDNA haplogroups in all three collections, our analyses reveal a significant contribution of Middle Eastern and Central Asian genetic signatures in the island of Crete, and particularly in the two populations from the Lasithi region at the eastern-most portion of the island. Close association between these Cretan groups and the Balkans can also be discerned, which in the case of the Lasithi Plateau corroborates previously uncovered Y-chromosome affiliations with the same geographic region. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc." [emphasis added]
Received: 17 November 2007, Accepted: 28 March 2008, Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1002/ajpa.20857

Y-chromosome DNA in Crete, Greece & the Levant

Annals of Human Genetics
Volume 72 Issue 2, Pages 205 - 214
Published Online: 5 Feb 2008

Journal compilation © 2008 University College London

"Differential Y-chromosome Anatolian Influences on the Greek and Cretan Neolithic"
R. J. King 1 , S. S. Özcan 2 , T. Carter 3 , E. Kalfoğlu 2 , S. Atasoy 2 , C. Triantaphyllidis 4 , A. Kouvatsi 4 , A. A. Lin 5, C-E. T. Chow 5 , L. A. Zhivotovsky 6 , M. Michalodimitrakis 7 and P. A. Underhill 5,*
-1 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 401 Quarry Road, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5722
-2 Institute of Forensic Sciences, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
-3 Department of Anthropology, McMaster University, Chester New Hall 524, 1280 Main Street West Hamilton, L8S 4L9, Ontario, Canada
-4 Department of Genetics, Development and Molecular Biology, School of Biology, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
-5 Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5120
-6 N. I. Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 3 Gubkin Street, Moscow, 119991, Russia
-7 Department of Forensic Science, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
*Corresponding author: Peter A. Underhill, Department of Genetics, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5120, Fax: 650 725 1534. Phone: 650 723-5805. E-mail:
Copyright 2008 The Authors Journal compilation ©2008 University College London

Y-chromosome diversity • Neolithic Greece • Crete • bread wheat • maritime migration • Bronze Age

"The earliest Neolithic sites of Europe are located in Crete and mainland Greece. A debate persists concerning whether these farmers originated in neighboring Anatolia and the role of maritime colonization. To address these issues 171 samples were collected from areas near three known early Neolithic settlements in Greece together with 193 samples from Crete. An analysis of Y-chromosome haplogroups determined that the samples from the Greek Neolithic sites showed strong affinity to Balkan data, while Crete shows affinity with central/Mediterranean Anatolia. Haplogroup J2b-M12 was frequent in Thessaly and Greek Macedonia while haplogroup J2a-M410 was scarce. Alternatively, Crete, like Anatolia showed a high frequency of J2a-M410 and a low frequency of J2b-M12. This dichotomy parallels archaeobotanical evidence, specifically that while bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is known from Neolithic Anatolia, Crete and southern Italy; it is absent from earliest Neolithic Greece. The expansion time of YSTR variation for haplogroup E3b1a2-V13, in the Peloponnese was consistent with an indigenous Mesolithic presence. In turn, two distinctive haplogroups, J2a1h-M319 and J2a1b1-M92, have demographic properties consistent with Bronze Age expansions in Crete, arguably from NW/W Anatolia and Syro-Palestine, while a later mainland (Mycenaean) contribution to Crete is indicated by relative frequencies of V13."[emphasis added]
Received: 29 September 2007, Accepted: 7 October 2007, Digital Object Identifier (DOI)10.1111/j.1469-1809.2007.00414.x

Excerpts from the Text of the foregoing Article

"The earliest archaeological evidence for Neolithic economies in SE Europe dates to c. 7000 BC, with the founding of a fully-fledged farming community at Knossos on the island of Crete, followed slightly later in the NW Peloponnese of mainland Greece (Efstratiou 2005; Perl`es 2001: pp 84–95; Runnels 2003). Concerning the origins of agriculture in these Aegean contexts, it is an uncontested fact that both plant and animal husbandry first emerged at an earlier date in regions to the east, namely Anatolia, Cyprus and the Levant (Colledge et al., 2004; Rowly-Conwy 2003). The question thus becomes one of how Neolithic farming economies came to be introduced into SE Europe and from which external region(s) did the impetus originate? The argument is often polarized between two distinct models, namely: demic expansion of agro-pastoralists versus the cultural transmission of ideas (Pinhasi et al., 2005; though see Kotsakis 2003; Tringham 2000), the debate drawing upon a wide range of evidence, including archaeology, genetics and linguistics (Bellwood 2001).

In Crete, the process of ‘neolithisation’ appears to be relatively straightforward. With the island seemingly uninhabited prior to its colonization by Neolithic farmers (whose associated domestic animals and plants were foreign to Crete), research has thus focused largely on these peoples’ overseas origins and the routes by which they traveled (Broodbank & Strasser 1991; Efstratiou 2005: pp 146–148). The situation on mainland Greece (henceforth ‘Greece’)is more complex, as here we do have evidence for a Mesolithic heritage (Galanidou & Perl`es 2003; Runnels 2001), with a potential for contact between natives and migrants in the NW Peloponnese (Runnels 2003: pp 126–127). While patterns of genetic diversity in SE Europe and the eastern Mediterranean often display gradients (Cavalli-Sforza et al., 1994; Semino et al., 2000), distinguishing those that might have related specifically to the spread of farming remains challenging. That said, data from the haploid Y-chromosome does seem to support the movement of Anatolian/Levantine agro-pastoralists from their SW Asian origins towards SE Europe (Semino et al., 2000). More specifically haplogroups E and J have been proposed as possible signatures of this dispersal (Semino et al., 2004), with a significant correlation between haplogroups E3b and J2 and the distribution of certain distinctive types of Neolithic material culture, from the Levant, via SE Europe, to parts of the east and central Mediterranean (King & Underhill 2002).
Patterns of Y-chromosome diversification also offer the possibility to dissect other prehistoric events subsequent to the arrival of Neolithic pioneers (Novelletto 2007). Recent Y-chromosome surveys concerning Greece (Di Giacomo et al., 2003) and Crete (Malaspina et al,. 2001; Martinez et al., 2007) discuss Neolithic migrations in the Mediterranean. In addition, other studies have supported the notion of one or more subsequent migrations into SE Europe (Cavalli-Sforza et al., 1994; Di Giacomo et al., 2004; Semino et al., 2004), potentially supporting earlier archaeological claims that population movements played a role in the emergence of the Aegean’s great Bronze Age cultures of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC: the so-called Minoans of Crete and the mainland Mycenaeans (Caskey 1960: pp 301–302; Coleman 2000; Hood 1990; Renfrew 1987, 1996).

As a means of understanding the complexities of the neolithisation process in SE Europe and the Aegean, and the role of alleged population expansions at the start of the Neolithic, we investigate the components of the Y-chromosome phylogenies of Crete and Greece. The results of the study are then contrasted with data from a larger Mediterranean, SW Asian and Arabian context. This report investigates the local, micro-geographic variation of Y-chromosome haplotypes, data that suggests strongly that the demic diffusion model has merit, whereby in the discussion section we address the following issues: 1) What is the degree of affinity between the pioneer Neolithic agriculturalists of Greece and Crete? 2) By extent, what does the combined genetic and archaeological data inform us with regard to the regional source(s) of these early farmers? 3) What do the genetic data tell us with regard to post-Neolithic migrations to Crete and the role of demographic change in the emergence of the Bronze Age ‘Minoan’ culture?
To investigate the population affinities of the Greek and Cretan data to other regional SE European, SW Asian, Egyptian and Arabian populations a PC analysis of haplogroup frequencies normalized to the same level of molecular diversification was conducted.... Notable observations include: 1) the three Greek regional samples cluster with those from the Balkans. 2) Crete, on the other hand, clusters with the central and Mediterranean Anatolian samples together with those of southern Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. 3) Egypt, Oman and the Bedouin samples from the Negev tend to form an isolated cluster, distinct from the Greek and Cretan data. Vector analysis (not shown) demonstrates that the Balkan cluster is most associated with haplogroups J2b-M12, E3b1a-M78, I-M170 and R1a1-M17. The Crete and Anatolian cluster was most influenced by J2b-M410 while the Arabian Peninsula and north Egypt cluster by J1-M267. [emphasis added]
Estimates of the expansion time should be considered preliminary because of the small sample sizes and inherent uncertainties in the calibration of the YSTR [Y-chromosome short tandem repeat] molecular clock.... [material in brackets added]

The mean expansion time for J2b-M12 in Greece is consistent with a late Neolithic population expansion (Halstead 1994: p200), while V13 expands in the Peloponnese earlier than the IN [Initial Neolithic] [material in brackets added] presence there indicating that it may reflect a Mesolithic expansion. On the other hand M319 and M92 in Crete both have significantly later expansion times, dating to the end of the Neolithic / beginning of the Early Bronze Age [EBA]. Haplogroup E3b1a2-V13 has an expansion time in Crete dating to the end of late Bronze Age (1100 BCE) arguably reflecting the presence of a mainland Mycenaean population in Crete.
The results of our Y-chromosome survey provide a means to compare and contrast the role of migration in the establishment of the first Neolithic farming economies in Greece and Crete. Archaeological links had previously been drawn between the first settlers of Knossos and their central Anatolian predecessors/contemporaries, based on their common use of mud-brick technology and shared suites of domesticates, with particular reference made to bread wheat (Triticum aestivum).

This is the predominant cereal from the earliest levels at Knossos (Evans 1994: p5), well attested in Anatolia, yet rare, if not completely absent from the archaeobotanical record of most Balkan and Greek IN sites (Perl`es 2001: p62, p155). Moreover, a recent survey of archaeobotanical data has demonstrated that the suite of plants (including invasive weeds) recovered from the earliest levels of Knossos are known not only from earlier sites in central and Mediterranean Anatolia, but also Cyprus and the Levant (Colledge et al., 2004: pp 42–44, Figs. 6–7). Our Y-chromosome data allows us to explore the issue of possible parallelisms with the botanical patterns. For example, haplogroup J2a-M410 is frequent in central and Mediterranean Turkey (Cinnio˘glu et al., 2004) and Crete but rare in the northern Greek Neolithic sites (Figure 2). Furthermore the J2a1k-DYS445 sub-clade (Schrack et al., 2006) is present on Crete (Heraklion prefecture, 3.8%) and also occurs at high frequencies (7.3%) in regions T6 and T7. On the other hand, in Greece, the most frequent J2 haplogroup is J2b-M12 that is however rare (1.7%) in Anatolia (Cinnio˘glu et al., 2004). In general when all Y-chromosome data are considered, Crete clusters with near Eastern populations whereas mainland Greece groups with Balkan populations .... [emphasis added]

Within mainland Greece there is differentiation among the three sampling sites. Most notable is Lerna/Franchthi Cave, in the Peloponnese region, which displays affinity to Crete with the exception of haplogroup E3b1a2-V13. This could reflect regional interaction between Crete, Peloponnese and Anatolia. The presence of haplogroups I and R1b in Crete are similar to levels reported by Martinez et al. 2007. The variety of haplogroup I in Crete is I2-M438 rather than I2a-P37 which predominates in the Balkans. Interestingly, haplogroup R1b YSTR haplotypes showed affinity to those of Italy rather than the Balkans (Martinez et al., 2007). Moreover, the PC plot ... of J2a(xM319) linked YSTR haplotypes shows a close genetic relationship between Crete and central /Mediterranean Anatolia.... The genetic data thus appears to support the long-held theory that the island’s colonists came from Anatolia (Evans 1921: p14), specifically those in those areas where the well-known Neolithic sites of Asıklı Hoyuk, Çatalhoyuk and Hacılar ..., Mersin/Yumuktepe and Tarsus ... were located.
The absence of J2b-M12 in regions T1 and T8 (Cinnio˘glu et al., 2004), i.e. those next to the land bridge from Anatolia to Greece, suggests that the first farmers of Greece and the Balkans are less likely to have come overland. The Thessalian and Greek Macedonian samples exhibit a high frequency (7–9%) of J2b-M12 with an approximate expansion time dating to the Neolithic era of c. 5000 BC .... Previous work on the Balkans (Pericic et al., 2005; Marjanovic et al., 2005) regarding the frequency of J2b-M12 is consistent with our observations in Greece. The geographic origin of J2b-M12 remains unknown; however, Cinnio˘glu et al., (2004) report its occurrence in SE Anatolia near the Euphrates River... at 4.7%, i.e. the region with some of the first Neolithic communities to have been established beyond the original Levantine core, such as Çayonu, Gobekli Tepe and Hallan Çemi (Cauvin 2000: pp 78–91). While the source of J2b-M12 chromosomes in Greece/Balkans remains unclear, it is likely to reside in those regions with an early Neolithic domestic economy based upon unleavened wheat such as present day Syria and the Levant. [emphasis added]

The calculated expansion time of haplogroup E3b1a2-V13 in mainland Greece is 8,600 y BP at Nea Nikomedeia and 9,200 y BP at Lerna/Franchthi Cave and is consistent with the late Mesolithic/initial Neolithic horizon. These dates exceed those reported previously for Europe (Cruciani et al., 2007) that date to the Bronze Age. This discrepancy arises mainly because of differences in the choice of mutation rate used. Our choice of the evolutionary mutation rate is based upon its concordance with other episodes of rapid demographic growth (e.g. the Bantu Iron Age expansion in Africa and the colonization of New Zealand by Polynesians (Zhivotovsky et al., 2004). The expansion of E3b1a2-V13 in Crete provides a consistent internal control of our choice of mutation rate. Namely the Late Bronze Age expansion date of 1100 BC coincides with the alleged arrival of mainland Mycenaean Greeks that is well documented in the archaeological and epigraphic record....

In Crete, ... M319 defines a unique J2a-M410 sub-haplogroup that is rarely observed elsewhere (Martinez et al., 2007).... Previously, mutation M319 was also reported in Iraqi and Moroccan Jews at 5% and 10% respectively (Shen et al., 2004). The J2a1h-M319 expansion time in Crete dates to 3100 BC, while haplogroup J2a1b1-M92 also has an expansion time dating to approximately 3100 BC .... The latter is found at relatively high frequencies in western Anatolia ... (Cinnio˘glu et al., 2004; Semino et al., 2004). Our data are consistent with the proposal that haplogroup J2a1b1-M92 is a signature of Bronze Age expansions in Europe (Di Giacomo et al., 2004). [emphasis added]

The archaeological implications of these data are tantalizing. A date of 3100 BC is a highly significant one for Aegean prehistorians, as it marks approximately the boundary between the Neolithic and Bronze Age on Crete (Manning 1995), a period associated with a series of major changes in settlement patterns, demography, material culture, technology, iconography and burial practices. Many scholars have suggested that new influxes of population were responsible for triggering these changes, a sociocultural impetus from which emerged the island’s famed Minoan culture. The new features associated with EBA Crete have been linked variously with Egypt/Libya, Syro-Palestine, the East Aegean/NW Anatolia and the Cyclades (Betancourt 2003; Branigan 1988: pp 199–200; Evans 1924: px, pxiii; Hood 2000: p21; Nowicki 2002; Warren 1973, 1984). Regarding the purported link to Egypt/Libya, the majority of E3b1-M78 chromosomes are derived at V13, both in Crete and Greece, whereas all samples from northern Egypt lack the V13 SNP (Luis et al., 2004). This suggests that there has not been a recent genetic affinity between Egypt and Crete or Greece. Conversely, the Y-chromosome results do provide data that support population movements from both western and northwestern Anatolia... and Syro-Palestine.

One can point to another post-colonization population influx into Crete (1100 BC) this time from Greece, as represented by V13 which occurs at ca. 35% frequency in both Thessaly and the Peloponnese while its frequency on Crete is only 7%, indicating a mainland contribution to the Cretan Y chromosome inventory, albeit no more than 20%. Once again, the genetic data resonates with a major debate in Aegean prehistory; that of the processes involved in the ‘Mycenaeanisation’ of Cretan society towards the end of the Bronze Age. Sometime around the mid 15th century BC, Crete witnessed another series of major sociocultural changes, as evidenced by the adoption of the mainland proto-Greek Linear B script/language, burial practices, iconography and material culture. [emphasis added]

These cultural transformations have been interpreted by many as indicative of Crete’s invasion by its mainland Mycenaean neighbors (Popham 1994; Warren 1973: p 45).The Y chromosome data can be taken as further evidence that some of these later Bronze Age changes in Crete were indeed underwritten by an incursion of mainland populace.

One final field of research that our data affects is that of the archaeology of languages. While correlations between genes and languages must be interpreted cautiously, their co-analysis may provide useful insights. The differential phylogenetic pattern of J2a-M410 and J2b-M12 lineages to Crete and southern European respectively are broadly consistent with the model of Renfrew (1998), and with the linguistic analysis of Gray & Atkinson (2003), that claim an early split of the Anatolian languages from the rest of Indo-European languages around 7000 BC. In this model the J2a-M410 speakers in Anatolia and Crete may have been speaking Anatolian related languages that may be reflected in the un-deciphered scripts of the 2nd millennium BC: Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A (Finkelberg 1997, 2001). Alternatively, the J2a-M410 populations may have been speaking a non-Indo-European language with affinities to the Hattic language of central Anatolia (Nichols 2007)." [emphasis added]


Which Y-DNA Haplogroup best defines the connection between Crete, Mycenae, Greece and Elam in Iran?

It is "J2 - The Phoenician Gene" -- in a dispersion most likely be sea (maritime).

J2 (Y-DNA) - "The Phoenician Gene"

From Wikipedia at (here excerpted)

Time of origin: 18500 (+/- 3500) thousand years ago.
Place of origin: Mesopotamia (Iraq, Syria, Turkey & Iran), or the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Israel & Jordan) or Anatolia (Turkey) or Zagros mountains (Iran)
Ancestor: J, Defining mutations: M172
Typical members: Iraqis 29.7%, Lebanese 29.5%, Syrians 29%, Sephardic Jews 29%, Kurds 28.4%, Turks 27.9%, Georgians 26.7%, Iranians 23.3%, Ashkenazi Jews 23.2%, Greeks 22.8%, Tajiks 18.4%, Italians 19.3%, North Indians 7.8% viz. 19.8%, Pakistanis 14.7%, South Arabia (Oman, Yemen, UAE) 9.7%.

"Haplogroup J2 (M172) is a Y-chromosome haplogroup subdivision of haplogroup J and is further divided into the two complementary clades, J2a-M410 and J2b-M12.

Haplogroup J2 is widely believed to be associated with the spread of agriculture from Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Anatolia. The age of J2 has been estimated as 18,500 (+/- 3,500) thousand years ago. Its distribution, centered in West Asia and Southeastern Europe, its association with the presence of Neolithic archaeological artifacts, such as figurines and painted pottery, and its association with annual precipitation have been interpreted as evidence that J2, and in particular its J2a-M410 subclade belonged to the agricultural innovators who followed the rainfall.

Haplogroup J2 is found mainly in the Fertile Crescent, the Mediterranean (including Southern Europe and North Africa), the Iranian plateau and Central Asia. More specifically it is found in Greece, Italy and the eastern coasts of the Iberian Peninsula, and more frequently in Iraqis 29.7%, Lebanese 29.7%, Syrians 29%, Sephardic Jews 29%, Kurds 28.4%, Province of Kurdistan (28.4%), Saudi Arabia (18.9% of the northern and central-north region), South Arabia (Oman, Yemen, UAE) 9.7%, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, and in the southern Caucasus region. According to Semino et al and the National Geographic Genographic Project, the frequency of haplogroup J2 generally declines as one moves away from the Northern fertile crescent. Haplogroup J2 is carried by 6% of Europeans and its frequency drops dramatically as one moves northward away from the Mediterranean.

Another important fact about the distribution of Haplogroup J2 is that it appears to have dispersed from a Middle Eastern homeland to the west through a primarily maritime or littoral route, as it is found in high concentrations among the populations of the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea in both Eurasia and Africa, and particularly along the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean in Europe. This distribution may be more consonant with a Neolithic or post-Neolithic maritime dispersal from the Middle East, such as through Greek colonization or even Phoenician commercial and colonial activities. [emphasis added]

In Italy, J2 is found in about 19.3% of Italians. Turkey is one of the countries with a major J2 population. 24% of Turkish men are J2 according to a recent study, with regional frequencies ranging between 10% and 31%. Combined with J1, one third of the total population of Turkish people belongs to Haplogroup J. Haplogroup J2 is also common in neighboring Greece, with regional frequencies ranging between 11% and 46%.

It has been proposed that haplogroup J2a-M410 was linked to populations on ancient Crete by examining the relationship between Anatolian, Cretan, and Greek populations from around early Neolithic sites. Haplogroup J2b-M12 was associated with Neolithic Greece (ca. 8500 - 4300 BCE) and was reported to be found in modern Crete (3.1%) and mainland Greece (Macedonia 7.0%, Thessaly 8.8%, Argolis 1.8%).

Sephardic Jews have about 29% of haplogroup J2 and Ashkenazi Jews have 23% viz. 19%. It has been reported that a sample of Italian Cohens belong to Network 1.2, a group of Y chromosomes characterized by a value of the DYS413 marker less or equal to 18. This deletion has been placed in the J2a-M410 clade. However, other Jewish Cohens belong to haplogroup J1 (see Cohen modal haplotype).

J2 subclades are also found in the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), Iran, Central Asia, and South Asia.

Typically, modern populations of the southern Middle East (especially Arabic-speaking ones) have a higher frequency of the related haplogroup J1, whereas the great majority of Haplogroup J representatives among the populations of the Northern Middle East, Europe, and India belong to the subclade J2. Haplogroup J2 has been shown to have a more northerly distribution in the Middle East, although it exists in significant amounts in the southern middle-east regions; a lesser amount of it was found when compared to its brother haplogroup, J1, which has a more southerly distribution. This suggests that, if the occurrence of Haplogroup J among modern populations of Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia does reflect Neolithic demic diffusion from the Middle East, the source population is more likely to have originated from Anatolia, the Levant or northern Mesopotamia than from regions further south.

Haplogroup J2a-M410 in India is largely confined to the upper castes with little occurrence in the middle and lower castes and is completely absent from south Indian tribes and middle and lower castes."


[1] J.D. (Doctor of Jurisprudence) Stanford University. Former Lecturer in Anglo-American Law, Legal Research and Legal Writing, University of Trier Law School. Co-author of the Routledge & Langenscheidt German-English, English-German Dictionary of Business, Commerce and Finance (3rd ed. 2007). Author of the following: The Phaistos Disc: Hieroglyphic Greek with Euclidean Dimensions (Darmstadt, 1980), Stars Stones and Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths, Trafford, 2003 & 2006; Waren die Pharaonen Legastheniker? (Were the Pharaohs Dyslexic?), Dyslexia Journal, 1998; Zum Ursprung des Horus-Glaubens im vordynastischen Ägypten (The Origin of the Cult of Horus in Predynastic Egypt), Efodon Synesis, 2005; Sternensteine - Darstellungen frühgeschichtlicher Astronomie am Beispiel der Externsteine (Star Stones -Prehistoric Astronomy and the Extern Stones), Forschungskreis Walther Machalett für Vor und Frühgeschichte, 2005; Die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra: Beweisführung und Deutung (The Sky Disk of Nebra: Evidence and Interpretation), Efodon Synesis, 2005; Der Bodenhimmel der Oesterholzer Mark um die Spitze der "Externsteinpyramide" (A Megalithic Sky Map at Oesterholz), Efodon Synesis, 2006; Das Tanum System - ein alteuropäisches Vermessungssystem? (The Tanum System – Ancient Land Survey in Europe), Forschungskreis Externsteine, 2007; Der Osnabrücker Bodenhimmel (The Hermetic Planisphere at Osnabrück), Forschungskreis Externsteine, 2008.

[2] Andis Kaulins, The Phaistos Disc: Hieroglyphic Greek with Euclidean Dimensions: The 'Lost Proof' of Parallel Lines, Darmstadt, 1980, p. 18.

[3] Ibid., p. 19.

[4] Ibid., p. 14.

[5] Ibid., p. 22.

[6] Ibid., pp. 36-37.

[7] Ibid., pp. 26-28.

[8] Ibid., pp. 25-28.

[9] Ibid., pp. 30-33.

[10] Ibid., p. 38.

[11] The Phaistos Disk In Ancient Greek, Syllabic Script,,

[12] The Phaistos Disc Decipherment,,

[13] Ibid.

[14] Gay Robins & Charles Shute, The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus: an ancient Egyptian text, British Museum Press, London, 1987, reprinted 1990, 1998. A. Henry Rhind was a Scottish lawyer who first acquired the papyrus in the 1850's. See See also

[15] D. E. Joyce, Euclid's Elements,

[16] Nikolai Lobachevsky, Wikipedia

[17] Edward Kasner and James Roy Newman, Mathematics and the Imagination (with drawings by Rufus Isaacs), New York, Simon & Schuster, 1940/1967, pp. 136-137 (this drawing is our adaptation)

[18] The Steve Burdic Phaistos Page, LexiLine

[19] See D. E. Joyce, Euclid's Elements

[20] Andis Kaulins, LawPundit

[21] Criminal case 482/04, the State of Israel v. Oded Golan and of the biggest forgery scandals ever in the history of archaeology. [MSN] Israel

[22] Michael D. Coe, Breaking the Maya Code, London, Thames &Hudson, 1992, ISBN 0500050619

[23] J. J. Gelb (assisted by R. M. Whiting), Methods of Decipherment, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1975, No. 2, pp. 97-104, quoted in Andis Kaulins, The Phaistos Disc: Hieroglyphic Greek with Euclidean Dimensions: The 'Lost Proof' of Parallel Lines, Darmstadt, 1980, pp. 8-11.

[24] Elamite, Omniglot

[25] Elamite, Omniglot

[26] Harald Haarmann, Universalgeschichte der Schrift, Campus Verlag: Frankfurt and New York, 1991, Sonderausgabe 1998, Parkland Verlag, Cologne, p. 374, providing the reading (in German): "Seinem Herrn Inshushinak, dem Menschenbildner (?), 2. habe ich Shilhak-Inshushinak, 3. der Statthalter von Susa, 4. der König des Landes Elam, 5. der Shempishhukische, 6. eine Säule (?) aus Kupfer (und) Zedernholz geweiht."

[27] Ibid.

[28] Troy, Wikipedia

[29] Troja-Debatte, Wikipedia

[30] Hisarlik, Wikipedia

[31] Richard Critchfield, How Lonely Sits the City .

[32] Jacques de Morgan, Encyclopaedia Iranica

[33] Code of Hammurabi, Louvre Museum, France

[34] Jacques de Morgan, Recherches sur les origines des peuples du Caucase, p. 16, 1912. See

[35] See e.g. D. T. Potts, The Archaeology of Elam: Formation and Transformation of an Ancient Iranian State, Cambridge World Archaeology, Cambridge University Press, 1999

[36] Iliou Persis, Wikipedia

[37] Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica, The Sack of Ilium (fragments), Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #8 .

[38] Helen, Wikipedia

[39] Tyndareus, Wikipedia

[40] Alena Trckova-Flamee, Catreus, Encyclopedia Mythica

[41] Robert Graves (Robert von Ranke Graves), Greek Myths and Legends (Griechische Mythologie), here citing to the German version, Vol. II, Section 159 (Paris und Helena), pp. 258-268

[42] Sais Egypt, Wikipedia,_Egypt.

[43] Sais (Sa el-Hagar), Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson, British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, British Museum Press, London, 1995, p. 250

[44] Sais Egypt, Wikipedia,_Egypt.

[45] Robert Graves (Robert von Ranke Graves), Greek Myths and Legends (Griechische Mythologie), citing to the German version, Vol. II, Section 159 (Paris und Helena), pp. 258-268

[46] Herodotus, History of the Trojan War, see

[47] Catreus, Greek Mythology Link

[48] Clymene, Asia (mythology), Wikipedia

[49] Palamedes (Greek mythology), Wikipedia

[50] Gaius Julius Hyginus, Wikipedia

[51] Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae, 277, Theoi E-Texts Library (Aaron Atsma)
HyginusFabulae5.html+ .

[52] Cadmus: 1.3.6: Selection of Mythological Variants in Isidore of Seville's Etymologies, Greek Mythology Link

[53] The reason that the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for "neith" is formed by a symbol composed of arrows -this is our opinion only - is because of the Indo-European substratum in Old Kingdom Pharaonic language. In ancient Indo-European (e.g. Latvian) a meta is something thrown, or shot (like an arrow) so that the symbol meta (arrows) represented the nearly same-sounding word meita "girl, woman". In Elam the arrows thus also represented the term for woman, in our opinion, but in Greek this term is gynê or what might be a sibilant female comparable.

[54] Napirasu of Elam, Iran Photo Album

[55] Statue of Queen Napirasu, wife of King Untash-Napirisha, Louvre
&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=9852723696500803&baseIndex=12&bmLocale=en .

[56] Statue of Queen Napirasu, Louvre

[57] Khodadad Rezakhani, Elam, History of Iran

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Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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