|Publication Date||June 27, 1995|
In 1908, on the hill of Phaistos in Crete, Luigi Pernier, a member of the Italian Archaeological Mission to the island, found in excavation what was to become known as the Phaistos Disc. A medium-size, round, clay tablet, both its faces are covered with signs, the unique and mysterious traces of a syllabic script dating back to the late second millennium BC, the meaning of which has been lost. Since the day the disc was discovered, its decipherment has been one of the most complex and intriguing riddles in the history of archaeology. Professionals and amateurs alike have grappled with it, proposing any number of eccentric or erudite solutions. Drawing on serious experience, Godart tries to sort out this pell-mell of proposals, laying the foundation for true knowledge of this mysterious object. Each individual sign is analyzed and reproduced, and the system of writing thus revealed is compared with the signs of other known scripts in Minoan-Mycenaean Crete, as well as with archaeological data from regions with related cultures. The study of this disc proves to be an opportunity for a journey into the world of ancient scripts and for a tour of the civilizations of the first Mediterranean peoples.