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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