Phaistos East Court

Phaistos Disc

Northeast of the Palace of Phaistos is a separate building complex dated to the period of the first palace. This is where the famous Phaistos Disc was found. The Disc has not yet been deciphered and remains an enigma puzzling scientists.

Phaistos Disc

The Phaistos Disc was made of clay in circa 1600 BC and bears symbols in relief on both sides, arranged in a spiral. These are characters of the earliest writing in Europe, the Minoan ideograms. Each word-idea is represented by a picture.

The ideograms on the Phaistos Disc are not carved or engraved but stamped, using metal punches which were pressed into the wet clay. One could almost call it a kind of primitive typography.

The East Wing of the Palace

Phaistos East Wing

The East Wing of the Palace includes independent rooms resembling the residence of a prince or princess, although this is uncertain.

South and east is an L-shaped porch with a peristyle. The main room is particularly elaborate, with a polythyron (a row of doors shutting the rooms off from each other when closed and offering access when open). There is also a lightwell, cisterns and an area that may have been a lavatory, as there is a drain cut into the rock.

The Kiln

East court in Phaistos

In the East Court stands a horseshoe-shaped kiln (1), which was used for smelting metals. The Minoan civilisation flourished in the Bronze Age, so it is no surprise to find evidence of advanced metallurgy.

In the same area are the workshops (2), near the east façade of the North Wing.

map of Phaistos archaeological site

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