One of the worlds unsolved encryptions.

Linear A

In 1900 the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941) discovered a large number of clay tablets inscribed with mysterious symbols at Knossos on Crete. Believing he had discovered the palace of King Minos, together with the Minotaur’s labyrinth, Evans dubed the inscriptions and the language they represented as ‘Minoan’.

Evans spent the rest of his life trying to decipher the inscriptions, with only limited success. He realised that the inscriptions represented three different writing systems: a ‘hieroglyphic’ script, Linear A and Linear B The hieroglphic script appears only on seal stones and has yet to be deciphered. Linear A, also undeciphered, is thought to have evolved from the hieroglyphic script, and Linear B probably evolved from Linear A, though the relationship between the two scripts is unclear.

Notable features

  • Linear A was used between about 1800 and 1450 BC.
  • Linear A is mixed script consisting of 60 phonetic symbols representing syllables and 60 sematographic symbols representing sounds and concrete objects or abstract ideas.
  • Many of the symbols resemble those used in Linear B and have been assigned the same pronunciation.
  • Linear A was written in horizontal lines running from left to right on clay tablets which were probably used for keeping records of transactions.

Linear A

There is no concensus on how to transliterate the Linear A symbols – the method shown below is one possible transliteration.

Linear A


3 thoughts on “One of the worlds unsolved encryptions.

  1. It hasn’t been cracked yet because there isn’t any incentive (Reason to hack = “MEECES” – for money, ego, entertainment, cause, entrance to social groups and status).

    How long do you think it would be before someone cracked it if involved MEECES? Maybe if it was a treasure map or ancient communications from aliens.

  2. It isn’t the only unsolved encryption take Beale Ciphers for instance, according to the pamphlet, around 1820 a man named Beale buried two wagons-full of treasure at a secret location in Bedford County, Virginia. I would call that enough incentive but till this day it remains unsolved.
    I would also think just the challenge of trying to crack a code is enough incentive after all that is how a lot of hackers start out.

  3. Challenge? Math homework is a challenge. But it probably isn’t the kind of challenge I personally would stay home and work on, on Friday and Saturday nights. But that is just my personal preference.

    From what I’ve read, plenty of people have tried to find the Beale treasure. It would be a full-time job and is probably a lot less glamorous than the treasure hunters we see on TV.

    Now that I think about it, the hackers are kind of “treasure hunters”. They take little bits of data and try to find ways to obtain treasure (information that is protected).

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