Thursday, November 13, 2003


The Phaistos Disc.

This strange object was unearthed in the ruins of the ancient city of Phaistos, in Crete, in 1908. Numerous mysteries surround the Disc's origin and meaning, which has apparently not yet been conclusively deciphered. (Claims of deciphering have been advanced, with some claiming the Disc's writing is a prayer, while others maintain that it is a mathematical proof. Details here and here.) The Disc's nature is mysterious partly because no other similar artifacts have ever been found, and because the nature of the characters inscribed on the Disc -- showing little, if any, variation -- imply that the Disc may actually have been "struck" as an example of ancient typography. The Disc dates to 1700 BC.

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