THE PHAESTOS DISC - ($30 US)
History's first "hard disk"
archaeological study replica
Stone cast terracotta tablet, 150 mm diameter (6 inch), 13 mm (half inch) thick, pictographic inscriptions on both sides, with black wood museum display stand & description.
The Phaestos Disc is one of the most curious archaeological finds of the 20th century, dating to the Minoan Bronze Age (17th century BC.) It's purpose and meaning, even its original place of manufacture are much disputed, making it one of the more famous mysteries of archaeology. This unique object is now on display at the archaeological museum of Herakleion in Crete. Nothing directly comparable to it has ever been found.
The Phaestos Disc represents the earliest known printed inscription, a few millennia before the Gutenberg printing-press was invented. The disc was discovered in the basement ruins of the Minoan palace of Phaestos on the south coast of Crete in July of 1908. It's mysterious inscription constitutes 241 symbols, 122 on one side and 119 on the reverse, in spiral order. The pictographs have clearly been made by pressing pre-formed hieroglyphic stamps into soft clay, in a clockwise sequence spiralling towards the center. It was then baked at high temperature, thus ensuring its survival.
The meaning of the inscription is one of the great archaeological mysteries of modern times and has yet to be deciphered, despite the dedicated efforts of scholars from around the world. A great deal of speculation developed around the disc in the latter part of the 20th century when it captured the imagination of amateur archaeologists. Many interesting and exotic theories have been proposed, ranging from temple prayer text and early geometric theorem, to the possibility of it being an ancient board game. More recently cryptologists and mathematicians have launched a new effort to crack the code.
Ground: $10 Australian dollars - Australia New Zealand
Air: $11 USD - Asia, India, Pacific, Japan
Air: $13 USD - USA & Canada
Air: $16 USD - Europe, Scandinavia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Mediterranean, Africa, South America & most other locations