Friday, May 20, 2016


This is a printed document, from around 1700 before the current era, 
long before printing was invented!
 Detailed photographs are available here (Wiki)
My account of it is posted here: 
 The 45 characters on the Phaistos Disc (after Arthur Evans)
 The Phaistos disc was discovered in 1908 in a Bronze-Age building, 
a palace, at Phaistos in SW Crete. 
   Could the Phaistos disc be a forgery? 
That would be a very elaborate hoax to perpetrate: making 45  stamps
to imprint on clay, on both sides of the object, and printing 30 clusters 
of signs (words or phrases ?) on one side and 31 on the other.
    I know personally two different scholars (out of a host of hopefuls) 
who have published confident attempts at decipherment (both read 
it as Hellenic, but produce entirely different transcriptions and 
    My observations on it, after looking at all the other scripts of Crete 
(and Cyprus) is that it does not belong to the same family as Linear B 
(used for Mycenean Greek texts).
     There is a line of development in Crete from a set of pictographs to
stylized Linear A characters (language uncertain) and even more 
stylizedLinear B; and on Cyprus a derived syllabic script from the same 
source (through Linear A), used for a Greel dialect and other languages.
My judgement is that the Cretan pictographs and the Phaistos glyphs
(in spite of similarities and apparent correspondences) do not belong 
to the same system. 
    There were two different but related writing systems on  Crete: 
(1) the Knossos script (northern), a picto-phonetic syllabary > 
Linear A and B;
(2) the Phaistos script (southern), a picto-phonetic syllabary. 
Looking at the 30 accountancy tablets from Phaistos (as distinct from 
adjacent Hagia Triada, where the Linear A script was used, a stylized 
form of the northern picto-phonetic script), most seem to be Linear A, 
but some (PH 8, 9, 13, 15, 17, 26) have signs known from the 
Phaistos Disc, and notably PH 12: 

PhD sign 14 (fetter, Greek pedé, Linear B PE), PhD 1 (striding man),
PhD 22 (cuttlefish, Greek sépia, Linear B SA), PhD 27 ( hide, talent?).
PH 13
has a fish (Phaistos Disc sign 35), which is not found in the
northern picto-syllabary or its descendant, Linear A. 

Thus the Phaistos script has its own set of signs, but some of them are
shared with the Knossos  syllabary.

 The 45 characters on the Phaistos Disc (after Arthur Evans)
 If this is a discovery I have made, it will still not help us read the Disc!
Or perhaps it will. If enough signs are common to both systems, and we
substitute the known values from Linear B, then we are on our way
with a flying start.
I could argue for at least 20 correspondences out of
45 (the number of  separate signs on the Disc).  This was the approach of
Steven Fischer
in his attempt at decipherment.

And the Arkalokhori Ax has 15 characters, some of them duplicates, 
with apparent connections to the Phaistos Disk set of signs, and/or to 
the Knossos inventory.

 For futher developments in my research on Aegean scripts
see the  Creto-Cyprian section of
and for West Semitic presence on the island of Crete 

No comments: