Just to break up the monotony of far too many Unknown Man posts in a row , here’s Anthony Svoronos’ great long list of Phaistos Disk speculative theories and wobbly decipherment attempts, together with his own notes on what he suspects it is. Peter Aleff [#47 on Svoronos' list] recently left a comment here asserting:
There is plenty of evidence that it recorded the path of a board game similar to the Egyptian Snake Game and Senet, and surviving in today’s children’s Game of the Goose. See http://www.phaistosgame.com/volume1.htm. Enjoy that surprising story, as well as the almost self-explanatory title page of the combined volumes 1 and 2 at phaistosgame.com/phaistos1booktitlepage.htm that shows the reconstructed gameboard and will be published next Spring.
The Phaistos Disk as board game, eh? Well, Fernand Crombette suggested this some decades ago, so that is not in itself a new idea. But we shall see next Spring, I guess!
But that’s by the by: I actually wanted to post about another Phaistos Disk-related story entirely. When I was recently looking for sources on other ancient artefacts with similar symbols (e.g. the Arkalochori axe, seal fragment HM 992, etc), I found the following proper cipher mystery story in a greek ceramic website selling repro Phaistos Disks:
A very peculiar find was made in 1992 in a basement in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia: A fragment of an apparent copy of, or draft for the Phaistos disc, with the symbols incised with a stylus rather than imprinted. It is uncertain whether this artifact is genuinely ancient, a good faith modern copy of the Phaistos disc, or a bad faith attempt at forgery. The house in the basement of which the fragment was found was built in 1880. Allegedly, the object was recognized as a fake and returned to its private owner.
There’s a picture of this “Vladikavkaz Disk” on p.16 of Il disco di Festo: Un calcolatore vecchio di 4.000 anni by Rosario Vieni on Antikitera.net, a site whose description even non-Italians can read: “Il portale Italiano dell’Archeologia Misteriosa“. Vieni’s theory (that the Disk is some kind of ancient calculator) at #60 on Svoronos’ list.
Or, you might prefer Jerome Eisenberg’s THE PHAISTOS DISK: A ONE HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD HOAX? paper, which also has a picture on p.6 of the PDF. Like Svoronos, Eisenberg includes a multi-page appendix of decipherment attempts. Having said that, I’m a bit suspicious of Eisenberg’s readiness to classify the Vladikavkaz Disk fragment as a hoax simply on the basis that it resembles a handmade version of a disk he also thinks is a hoax. Though it is true that people do occasionally use hoaxes & fakes to make fools of us all, I suspect history usually does an even better job, by helping us make fools of ourselves. Caveat decryptor!
Finally, Word Geek’s Diana Gainer concludes her own Phaistos disk roundup by saying: “You know, some of the proposals that people have come up with are so far out, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these days somebody claimed that Bigfoot wrote it as a love letter to the Loch Ness Monster!” Such nonsense! Everyone knows that Loch Ness Monsters can’t read, tcha…