Preliminary Notes (Dn series)

The tablet Dn 1094 + belongs to the series Dn and was discovered in the deposit of the East-West Corridor (J1), in an area just to the east of the great central court of the Palace of Knossos. It is dated approximately LM IIIA2-LM IIIB (14th-13rd cent. BC).

The series Dn comprises seventeen ‘palm-leaf’ tablets, compiled by scribe H 117. It includes an exhaustive calculation of all the sheep registered by scribe H 117, ordered by toponym, for an estimated total of ca. 70,000 animals. For this reason, the Dn tablets present a slightly different formulary structure with respect to the other tablets of the same class. These, in fact, typically present inscriptions on two lines, where the toponym information is recorded first and is followed by the total number of sheep.

Probably, these totalling tablets were originally meant to record all the sheep, both those directly managed by the Palace and those managed by the intermediary figure of the collectors. However, most of the tablets indicating the collectors have probably been definitively lost.

Due to their recapitulative nature, contrary to texts belonging to other series, the Dn tablets record animals which are not differentiated by age, but are homogeneously represented by the common logogram for sheep OVISm, that is to say adult rams, with the sole exception of Dn 1319 +, which shows the abbreviation ne, standing for ne-wo /newos/, that is to say ‘young animals’.


Dn 1094 +

The tablet Dn 1094 + attests 1,509 rams at Phaistos and 2,440 at da-wo, and there is no mention as to whether they were managed by collectors. Although da-wo has not yet been localized geographically, it seems reasonable to suppose that it could be in the Mesara plain, close to Phaistos, given the frequent recurrence of the two toponyms in the same documents.

.1        pa-i-to          OVISm 1509

.2        da-wo          OVISm  2440


.1 (At) Phaistos         sheep 1,509

.2 (At) da-wo            sheep 2,440


Pa-i-to: toponym, in the locative (/ nominative of rubric). This is a place name of pre-Greek origin, generally interpreted as /Phaistos/ (: Φαιστόϛ). The geographical localization in the plain of the Mesara, to the south of river Ieropotamos, is unanimously accepted.

Da-wo: this toponym, in the locative singular (/ nominative of rubric), frequently recurs together with pa-i-to, and this has led to the hypothesis that the two places were located in the same geographical area. It is thus likely that da-wo was localized in the Mesara plain. In Mycenaean texts, this word often occurs in records of grains, textiles and other agricultural products, such as cyperus or saffron, and also in records of large numbers of sheep (OVISm); this suggests that da-wo was probably a very important centre in the Mesara plain.

Analogously to the other documents compiled by scribe H 117, this ‘palm-leaf’ tablet measures ca. 10-14 x 2-2.5 x 1 cm (Olivier 1967).

It is interesting to note that in line 1, in the last digits forming the number 1,509, the last hundred and nine units are written over another numeral, of which at least 6 tens and 2 units are still just visible.

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