Side B of the Phaistos Disc as seen in the Museum in Crete.

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Phaistos Disc

One hundred years after the discovery of the Phaistos Disc, only three words have been deciphered. The inscriptions on the ancient Minoan artifact are an absolute enigma as this writing system was unknown before the discovery of the disc.


The land of Greece and all its islands are a treasure hold of ancient enigmas and inspiring history. It is not a coincidence that there is an old joke that says that the Greek profit from literally every ancient stone as everything holds a piece of history in it.

More than a century ago in Crete, a mysterious artifact called the Phaistos Disc was discovered with unknown inscriptions. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to decrypt what is written on both sides, historians claim that they are getting close to understanding the mystery and origin of the wonderful artifact.


1. The Phaistos Disc was discovered in one of the basements of the palace located in the Phaistos archaeological site in Crete


2. It has been dated to somewhere between 1900 to 1700 BC


3. The Phaistos Disc is only 6 inches in diameter but holds an incredible number of symbols


4. The inscriptions are unlike any known ancient writing system


5. There are a total of 242 symbols on both sides of the Phaistos Disc, presented in spiral patterns



6. A total of 45 different symbols and picture signs make up the inscriptions on the Phaistos Disc


7. The inscription style suggests that it is written in an unknown form of the Minoan script


8. Three words were successfully identified using ancient Greek languages and all three mean mother or goddess


9. According to the latest studies from 2018 and 2019, experts now claim to be able to read 99% of the inscriptions


10. Experts believe that it is a Minoan lyrical hymn to the Minoan goddess


Let’s summarize what we learned

The ability to read an ancient text to a certain extent does not guarantee the ability to understand. This is what the current researchers of the Phaistos Disc said during the press release of their latest discoveries. What this means is that despite their success in reading the inscriptions using similar ancient Greek languages, the meaning behind the writings remains unknown.

For now, experts were able to understand a total of three symbols and all suggest an identical meaning – mother or goddess mother. This is why for now, the Phaistos disc is considered a lyrical hymn to the ancient Minoan goddess.


The possibility that it is not a Minoan creation exists to this day and will until the whole message is deciphered. However, the inclusion of symbols typical for Minoan artistry like dolphins, cattle, etc. is more than eloquent for us to believe that it is. Moreover, it was discovered at the very palace of one of the most important cities of the Minoan civilization.

The most curious characteristic of the Phaistos Disc is the way the inscriptions were made. In most cases, similar ancient artifacts were handmade if we can call it like that. Obviously, everything was handmade back then but I’m referring to the actual placement of the symbols. The ones on the Phaistos disc were not inscribed but rather pressed. This means that someone back then made a template for each symbol and used it for the inscriptions on the disc.

What this suggests is the possibility that the Phaistos Disc was not a unique item but mass-produced. This theory is supported by the size of the disc which is unusually small. Last but not least, the theory that it is a hymn perfectly fits the idea that this could have been one of many such discs.

Join the discussion and participate in awesome giveaways in our mobile Telegram group. Join Curiosmos on Telegram Today.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

Write for us

We’re always looking for new guest authors and we welcome individual bloggers to contribute high-quality guest posts.

Get In Touch