Plan of the archaeological site


General view of Phaistos
(photo by Olaf Tausch, Wikipedia, s. v. ‘Phaistos Disc’)


  • mentioned by Homer as a “well-peopled” city

  • site first inhabited ca. 4000 B. C.

  • first palace dates to ca. 1900 B. C.
    • it was destroyed by an earthquake ca. 1700 B. C.

  • a second palace was built
    • it was destroyed ca. 1450 B. C., as were most other Minoan sites in Crete

  • the nearby city of Gortys finally destroyed the place in the 2nd century B. C.

  • located and identified in 1853 by Thomas Abel Brimage Spratt
    • an English hydrographer and geologist
    • author of Travels and Researches in Crete (2 vols., 1865)

  • excavation was begun in 1900 by the Italian archaeologist Frederico Halbherr

  • discovered in 1908, in a small room in the northeast part of the original palace

  • 6.3 inches in diameter

  • inscribed on both sides with pictorial symbols

  • no attempt at deciphering the writing has won widespread support

  • the disk is now in the archaeological museum in Iraklio

Phaistos Disk, Side A

Phaistos Disk, Side B

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