N.inv. Pigorini/ Serie W

72460/ HT Wa 1110

The flat-based nodule 72460/ HT Wa 1110 bears a seal impression representing “A boar’s tusk helmet” (Alberti et alii 2013,11).

The nodule bears one Linear A sign on face C.

AB 02/RO

The sign recurs just on a few of examples (besides on the nodule 72460, it recurs on 71969), evidence that doesn’t allow to understand if it was used as acrophonic abbreviation for the name of a product or for a place.

This single hole hanging nodule was discovered in the North-West Quarter, between the Room 13, also known as “Stanza dei Sigilli”, and the Portico 11, like most of the cretulae, probably fallen from the upper floor, which collapsed in the fire that destroyed the Villa (Halbherr 1903, 30; Levi 1925, 73; for the provenance of administrative documents See Militello 1988, 1992, 2001, 2011).

Measures 2.0 cm x 1.5 cm x 1.2 cm.

Scribe –

The seal impression HT 6 recurs 3 times, one time at the Pigorini Museum Corpus (Del Freo 2002-2003,69-70).

The motif represents a boar’s tusk helmet with cheek pieces and nape protection, decorated on the top by a hackle or a horn, at the beginning Misinterpreted as the tail of a scorpion (Del Freo 2002-2003, 69). The motif is completed by a semi-circle of palmettes that runs from the left to the right of it.

The boar’s tusk helmet has been considered a typical feature of the Mycenaean culture, but, even though it was more widespread on the Continent, from MM II to LM III it recurs also in the Cretan iconography. It WAS made by a skull cap on which were sewn tusks half-moon shaped. The tusks were not simply decorations, but they were direct proof of the courage and skills of the warrior. As a matter of fact, it has been esteemed that at least the tusks of 30 boars were necessary to decorate three lines of the helmet, and of 75 boars in order to decorate fully the helmet, the cheekpieces, and the nape protection (Morgan 1988,112-114). The boar’s hunt was probably linked to a rite of passage, involving young aristocrats entering adulthood, and proof of the success of the enterprise was the display of the boars’ tusk on their helmets (Cultraro 2004, 127-128).

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