I’m still messing around with the question of why half of the abecedaries found at Ugarit were found in the Royal Palace. Part of the project involves plotting the find locations. I’ve plotted find spots over Yon’s map of the Royal Palace.
Some of you will note that I have not included KTU 1.79 and KTU 1.80 on this plot. While some may see these two texts as school texts, I don’t. I see them as the work of a literate professional who lacked (full?) scribal training. Others may question the appropriateness of a few of the other tablets I do plot (KTU 193 for example). So do I.
The locations plotted on this map are at best approximate. Room location is reasonably accurate but exact locations within a room are not. One thing to notice is that there are two tablet clusters on this plot. The most obvious cluster of Ugaritic school texts in coincident with the Southwest Archives. It is in this area that archaeologists uncovered the tablet with equates alphabetic letters and syllabic equivalents (KTU 5.14). This archive is dominated by Ugaritic texts that are clearly not school texts but the work of professional scribes working as scribes rather than master teachers. Another cluster is the area just east of the Royal Plaza in the vicinity of the West Archives. Remember, in both cases, it is likely that tablets came from upstairs locations when the Palace collapsed. The other three school tablets, all abecedaries, are scattered around without clear association with each other or either of the two clusters. KTU 5.9 may be associated with the Annex Archives but the other two do not appear to be associated with any well-defined archive.
Below is a plot of the Location of the Royal Palace archives.
What can we learn from this? I’m not sure as yet. My views on this are in flux. My current working hypothesis is that two classes of students were taught to read and write Ugaritic in alphabetic script within the Royal Palace. I now imagine that those who studied Ugaritic in the vicinity of the Southwest archives were apprentice scribes well advanced in Akkadian but just learning Ugaritic. I tend to associate the other locations with a different class of student, possibly members of the royal family and/or palace officials other than scribes. I won’t recite my arguments for these opinions now. Suffice to say that my agreements are rather weak – barely strong enough to trigger self-confirming bias. I’m working to see how my arguments will develop as I look at other evidence. I will plot the find locations of the Akkadian scholarly texts found in the Royal Palace for a future post.