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The Phaestos Disc

The Phaestos Disc

January 12, 2012
Posted in: Totally Random | Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Phaestos Disc is a round clay disc of roughly 16 cm (6 inches) in diameter. It was discovered at Phaestos (in Crete) in 1903. It's inscribed on both sides with pictorial symbols that spiral from the circumference into the center. Spiral themes are a huge design element in Minoan art and writing, featured on everything such as sarcophagus', coins and jewelry. I knew I wanted to see this disc when touring Crete, and I have to say, we almost missed it. It's on display at the Irakleio Archeological Museum, which of course has been closed and under construction forever. One small basement floor is open to visitors however and displays its most prominent pieces, including this disc. The disc was in a case at the end of the first of only two rows of stuff. It's so small, I walked by it at least three times before finally finding it. 

Dated to 1600-1450 BC, the disk has impressions on both sides of hieroglyphic symbols including human beings, human limbs, a boat, birds, animals and various tools and vases.  Real hieroglyphics give me the goosebumps. It leaves me speechless to see a piece this ancient of a society so entirely civilized.

But here's the important thing about the Phaestos Disk: nobody has yet been able to decipher it or identify its origins. It's thought to be a sacred hymn. To Mr. Wild Dingo, however, the message is so obvious:

Party at Bob's place (the Dude with the Mohawk). Free pizza, live band!  Bring your own Booze." And then there are directions.

The Minoans were totally hip like that.

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12 comments on “The Phaestos Disc”

  1. Well...If Mr WD ever decides to quit his day job we know he'll make a great income deciphering ancient artifacts.

  2. That is incredible! We were surprised when we learned that the ancient Minoans [and their language] were actually closer in culture and genetics to the Persians than to the Mycenaean Greeks. Yet some of the symbols sure look Greek - like Bob the Hoplite's head - and some look sort of Egyptian. What a shame Crete can't get their museum finished and opened so all their treasures can be displayed to best advantage.

    Jed & Abby

  3. Mystery of the Phaistos Disk disclosed?
    Text contents of this Disk - the rulers dedication to the high-god of the moon, copied from a labels, made in the form of three bilateral poleaxes, or from inscriptions directly on poleaxes. One of these poleaxes, the largest, four-blade may be used as a lunar calendar. The Disk itself - the moon during a full moon - a sort of portable version of the dedications and calendar.
    For details, see my website: http://phaestos-disk.at.ua

  4. Hmm... That inscription would explain a lot! When my Mom was in Crete, she bought a small sterling silver replica as a necklace! Ha roo roo roo!
    Play bows,

  5. Tried leaving a comment last night, but it got eaten by the spammer again. 🙁
    I have a necklace that is a sterling silver reproduction of the disk! I bought it when we were in Crete - just love it. I think it has more meaning now that I understand the inscription. Ha ha ha!

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