Knossos Tablet ( KN 903)


Knossos Tablet ( KN 903)


This oblong clay tablet is between 0.1 and 0.15m (4-6 inches) long and has been inscribed with Linear B. This script is a syllabic representation of ancient Greek that was used before the Phonecian alphabet arrived. Many of the tablets that have survived are ledgers of goods and animals. Clay tablets were the choice writing surface for these ledgers because the numbers on them could be erased and rewritten as often as their correlating contents circulated. These tablets were never meant to be permanent. Yet many have survived to this day because whenever there was a fire that destroyed the buildings in which these tablets were stored, the clay tablets would harden as if in a kiln and preserve what was last written. A perfect snapshot of an ancient market. This particular tablet comes from the Knossos Palace on the island of Crete. There were actually two fires at this site. This tablet was hardened during the first fire around 1500 BCE.
TRANSCRIBED: wa-to a-ko-ra-ja OVIS:m 60 OVIS:f 270 CAP:m 49 / CAP:f 130 SUS:m 17 SUS:f 41 BOS:m 2 BOS:f 4

TRANSLATION: "Wato Agora: 60 male sheep, 270 female sheep, 49 male goats, 130 female goats, 17 male pigs, 41 female pigs, 2 male cows, 4 female cows."




DĀMOS: Database of Mycenaean at Oslo, "KN Co 903 (107)",


1500 BCE


Pria Jackson


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fires; inscriptions


Ancient Greek




Knosós, Iráklion, Crete, Greece
Crete, Greece




[unknown], “Knossos Tablet ( KN 903),” Hollins University Library Digital Exhibits, accessed April 19, 2024,

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