Phaistos Disk Musings

Interesting item in the Examiner in regards to the Phaistos Disk and questions of its authenticity. Here’s a bit in medias res:

Since there’s only one disk, the scholar Jerome Eisenberg suggests it’s nothing but a fake. He published a long article spelling out why he thought this, concluding that the thing ought to be tested via thermoluminescence, to see how old it is. If it turns out to be only 100 years old, dating to the time of its own excavation, it’s definitely a fake. If it turns out to be about 3,200 years old, maybe it’s authentic, since it would go back to the Bronze Age. It seems pretty cut and dried.
 
But there happens to be a certain bronze wolf, a she-wolf to be precise, who was always proclaimed to be Etruscan by a certain museum in Italy, and this wolf was recently tested and found to be medieval and so not Etruscan at all. How embarrassing! After this fiasco, the Heraklion Museum, the one showing off the famous disk, isn’t taking any chances. They’re not letting anybody test their disk!
 
But it may not be a fake, just because of a few other facts wandering out there, seldom noted. There’s supposedly an axe (possibly from an island next door to Turkey unless I have that confused with Etruscan) that has two or three symbols on it that are reminiscent of some that are on this here disk, so maybe it’s not entirely unique and therefore authentic after all. This is the so-called axe of Arkhalokouri, which I have yet to see, so I can’t really vouch for its similarity to the disk. I’ve only heard about it.
 
More exciting is another disk that showed up in, of all places, the Caucasus. It’s known as the Disk of Vladikavkaz because it turned up in Vladikavkaz. Yes, I figured you would have figured that out! You’re very clever.  Unfortunately, this “new” disk is incomplete, but what there is of it resembles the Phaistos Disk quite closely in the signs on its surface. Well, that is, the newly found disk looks like an untalented amateur drew its signs, whereas the old Greek one has very neat and tidy and clever stamped signs. But the signs are recognizable anyhow. The disk of Vladikavkaz has the little pagoda-like building that some say is a beehive, the little jogging man, and the circle with dots that some call a warrior’s shield but that looks more like a chocolate chip cookie to me. It has the Mohawk that’s probably the head of a warrior with a feathered helmet. Plus, there’s the flying bird, although apparently without those little eggs falling under her. Maybe those were her feet and weren’t considered important in Ossetia, where this was found. There is a symbol that looks like the hide of some animal on the Phaistos Disk, a hide that I always figured was a bull’s hide for some reason that I no longer recall. On the Vladikavkaz fragment, it looks much less like a hide and more like a cartoon of a stuffed toy or a doll with an eensy-weensy head. But I suppose it’s meant to be the same symbol. Then there are those two bunny ears and the wiggly horn as well. I have no earthly idea what any of this really represents and I suspect that no one else actually does either. But it’s fun to speculate.

FWIW, I’m still not convinced about the dating of the Capioline She-Wolf; I’m also skeptical of most anything ‘controversial’ found in the USSR.

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2 thoughts on “Phaistos Disk Musings

  1. You can find Eisenberg’s original article with good photos of the Arkhalokouri axe and the Vladikavkaz disk [which has ‘since disappeared’; hmm) at <a href= "http://www.utexas.edu/research/pasp/publications/pdf/disk.pdf&quot; at the U. Texas PASP site. I made a general summary of arguments for it being genuine on the <a href= "http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/imperialrome2/message/26006"Imperial Rome(sic) list last year, following a long thread on the subject (on AegeaNet). Warning: too much Musing about the Phaistos Disk can be dangerous to your health 🙂

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