Saturday, 3 July 2021

phaistos disc

Discovered on this day in 1908 by archaeologist Luigi Pernier whilst excavating the eponymous Minoan palace on Crete, the purpose and provenance of this Bronze Age artefact remain a matter of mystery and dispute among scholars. Comprising forty-five distinct glyphs, some two-hundred forty impressed signs on the obverse and reverse of the circular tablet, the script defies attempts at deciphering. Typographically significant, the characters (ideograms) are not inscribed—whatever they may signify—and rather are stamped from seals into a clay medium, subsequently fired at high temperatures and represent a sort of movable type with reusable letters. By frequency, the highest count for the representational glyphs are the plumed head ๐‡‘ , the bell-shaped Helmet ๐‡– and the Shield ๐‡› Whilst other corroborating artefacts have emerged, there is not enough context to properly decode this syllabary.