The Phaistos Disc Translation

The Phaistos Disc Translation

The Phaistos Disc was discovered in 1908 when a brave Italian archaeologist arranged an expedition into the ruins of Phaistos, an ancient Minoan palace on the south coast of Crete.

As he neared the end of his journey of discovery, he stumbled across a strange underground temple depository.

This depository was full of ancient corpses and burnt bones…and a remarkably intact golden-hued disc.

This chance discovery is now considered one of the most famous archaeology-based mysteries of all time – the Phaistos Disc translation…

The Disc

The ancient item is large disc that is umber-colored and constructed out of fired clay plate. It is no more than a centimeter thick and it has a diameter of just over 14cm.

Both sides of the disc house images and symbols that spiral inwards (in a clockwise motion) towards the center of the disc. There are 45 of these strange symbols in total.

The Archaeologist

Luigi Pernier
Luigi Pernier

The Italian archaeologist who discovered the strange disc was named Luigi Pernier. He claimed to have stumbled across the ancient item in a basement room under the palace complex during the expedition.

The whole site of the ancient Minoan palace is thought to have been brought to ruin due to a earthquake or volcanic eruption.

Strangely enough, the disc Pernier discovered is not the only ancient artifact to display the strange symbols and markings – an item known as the Arkalochori Axe was also unearthed in Crete which bears the same images.

This symbolic language is referred to as ‘Linear A’ – an undeciphered writing system that expert researchers believe was used in ancient Greece.

The Symbols

The disc’s symbols are pictograms, portraying images including a man walking, a tattooed head, a helmet, an arrow, manacles, cats, eagles, and more.

Luigi Pernier decided to team up with the discoverer of the Minoan capital Knossos, Sir Arthur Evans, in an attempt to decipher the strange image-based language of the disc. Unfortunately, even both of these great minds combined could not come up with an answer.

Since Pernier and Evans’s failed attempt at translation, there have been 26 notable further attempts at deciphering the symbol-based language – all of them are considered near enough unsuccessful.

The Symbols

Many top scholars have come forward with claims of Hittite, Homeric Greek, Indo-European or a Semitic language…but none of these claims can be successfully backed up.

There are also many mystery-based conspiracy theories linked to the mysterious disc – is this a lost document from the famous city of Atlantis?

More down-to-earth explanations include an ancient prayer sheet, some sort of game board, an astronomical document, a description of the mythical labyrinth, initiation rites for young women, or a solar calendar.

The Phaistos Disc Translation

So is this disc the real deal? Many people believe that Pernier created the disc himself to claim fame and fortune in the world of archaeology.

But Pernier made sure he kept excavation records linked to every move he made in the ruins of Phaistos, and creating a forgery that has fooled experts for over a century must be near enough impossible?

It is also worth noting that no definite manufacturing timeline has been established through forensic geochronology tests…

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here, please leave them in the comment section below.

3 comments on “The Phaistos Disc Translation

    1. Hi Matthew – that’s a very interesting article! Thanks for taking the time to add it to our post (it helps the written word evolve!).

  1. Dear Matthew,
    Some how I think the disk is a forgery. Of course I might be mistaken. I have been fascinated with this artefact for years. Could it be an ancient written language of the Etruscans or the Basques? I do not know. It would be wonderful to be able to translate it, if it were legitimate and not a fake. Any way I was very happy to see your article. Thank you.

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