Phaistos Disc

Our replica of the Phaistos Disc is part of our classics centre collection.

The Phaistos Disc consists of fired clay and is about 15 centimeters in diameter. It was found on 3 July, 1908 during excavation of the Minoan palace of Phaistos, near the south coast of Crete. The disc is one of the most famous Bronze Age finds and one of the great mysteries of Mediterranean archaeology. It contains over 240 spirally arranged human, animal and plant motifs that were printed with individual stamps. Its sophisticated manufacturing technology with movable type is in direct contrast to the uniqueness of the find. The use of reusable stamps only makes sense if used several times or even frequently. Practically everything that concerns the disc is controversial; this even includes the orientation of the writing and the language used.

The Minoan Civilisation flourished from about 2600 to 1100 BC on the island of Crete and surrounding islands. The civilisation was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Arthur Evans. It has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe.

The term "Minoan" refers to the mythical King Minos. Minos was associated in Greek mythology with the labyrinth and the Minotaur, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos (the largest Minoan site). According to Homer, Crete once had 90 cities.