The Phaistos Disc is a disk of fired clay from the Minoan palace of Phaistos on the island of Crete, possibly dating to the middle or late Minoan Bronze Age (second millennium BC). The disk is about 15 cm in diameter and covered on both sides with a spiral of stamped symbols which has yet to be translated. It is now on display at the archaeological museum in Heraklion.
But is it a real 3 or 4000 year old artifact or a fake? Read about the disc and decide.
The arguments against it being real are that it is unique and that we only have the archeologists notes to support the claim about where it was found in the palace.
Read through this extract from an article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaistos_Disc] to see if you think, on the balance of the probabilities that the disc is a real artifact or a fake.
The Phaistos Disc (also spelled Phaistos Disk, Phaestos Disc) is a disk of fired clay from the Minoan palace of Phaistos on the island of Crete, possibly dating to the middle or late Minoan Bronze Age (second millennium BC). The disk is about 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter and covered on both sides with a spiral of stamped symbols. Its purpose and its original place of manufacture remain disputed. It is now on display at the archaeological museum of Heraklion.
The disc was discovered in 1908 by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in the Minoan palace-site of Phaistos, and features 241 tokens, comprising 45 distinct signs, which were apparently made by pressing hieroglyphic “seals” into a disc of soft clay, in a clockwise sequence spiralling toward the center of the disk.
The Phaistos Disc captured the imagination of amateur and professional archaeologists, and many attempts have been made to decipher the code behind the disc’s signs. While it is not clear that it is a script, most attempted decipherments assume that it is; most additionally assume a syllabary, others an alphabet or logography. Attempts at decipherment are generally thought to be unlikely to succeed unless more examples of the signs are found, as it is generally agreed that there is not enough context available for a meaningful analysis.
The Phaistos Disc was discovered in the Minoan palace-site of Phaistos, near Hagia Triada, on the south coast of Crete; specifically the disc was found in the basement of room 8 in building 101 of a group of buildings to the northeast of the main palace. This grouping of four rooms also served as a formal entry into the palace complex. Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier recovered the intact “dish”, about 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter and uniformly slightly more than 1 centimetre (0.39 inches) in thickness, on 3 July 1908 during his excavation of the first Minoan palace.
The disc was found in the main cell of an underground “temple depository”. These basement cells, only accessible from above, were neatly covered with a layer of fine plaster. Their content was poor in precious artifacts, but rich in black earth and ashes, mixed with burnt bovine bones. In the northern part of the main cell, in the same black layer, a few centimetres south-east of the disc and about 50 cm (20 in) above the floor, Linear A tablet ‘PH-1’ was also found. The site apparently collapsed as a result of an earthquake, possibly linked with the eruption of the Santorini volcano that affected large parts of the Mediterranean region during the mid-2nd millennium B.C.
The Phaistos Disc is generally accepted as authentic by archaeologists. The assumption of authenticity is based on the excavation records by Luigi Pernier. This assumption is supported by the later discovery of the Arkalochori Axe with similar, though not identical, glyphs.
The possibility that the disc is a 1908 forgery or hoax has been raised by two scholars. According to a report in The Times, the date of manufacture has never been established by thermoluminescence dating. In his 2008 review, Robinson does not endorse the forgery arguments, but argues that “a thermoluminescence test for the Phaistos Disc is imperative. It will either confirm that new finds are worth hunting for, or it will stop scholars from wasting their effort.”
A gold signet ring from Knossos (the Mavro Spilio ring), found in 1926, contains a Linear A inscription developed in a field defined by a spiral—similar to the Phaistos Disc. A sealing found in 1955 shows the only known parallel to sign 21 (𐇤, the “comb”) of the Phaistos disc. This is considered as evidence that the Phaistos Disc is a genuine Minoan artifact.