Thursday, July 31, 2008

More on the Phaistos Disc

The New York Times picked up the story about the Phaistos Disc possibly being a hoax. (Photo from NYT article by Judith Lange

July 30, 2008, 11:30 am
A Fake Ancient Disc?
By John Tierney

Now that we’ve disposed of the bogus “pre-Columbian” crystal skulls, we can consider a potential new hoax: the Phaistos Disc, whose purportedly ancient text has long resisted scientists’ efforts to decipher it. My colleague Bina Venkataraman explains the newest twist on its inscrutability: The hundred-year-old mystery of a famous ancient artifact, according to one art history scholar, might be summed up with a single word: hubris.

In the current issue of Minerva, an art and archaeology journal, Jerome M. Eisenberg calls the famous Phaistos Disc, thought to be a story or sacred text of unknown but ancient origin, a fraud. The flat, circular clay disc is about six inches in diameter, and its purpose and stamped pictographic script have been the subject of scholarly debate over the last century.

Until now, most scholars believed that Luigi Pernier, an Italian archaeologist, excavated the Phaistos Disc in Crete in 1908. Dr. Eisenberg asserts that Mr. Pernier created the disc himself, because he was jealous of the accomplishments of archaeologists like Federico Halbherr, who discovered the “earliest legal code found in Europe” in Crete in 1884, and Arthur Evans, who excavated the palace at Knossos, also in Crete.

In the article, Dr. Eisenberg builds a case to prove the disc is forged using painstaking detail about its symbols, discovery site and composition. He says that its “cleanly cut” edges and uniformity do not match up with the period’s clay tablets, which were baked only by accident in the fires that destroyed ancient palaces. That the script remains impossible to translate, he added, bolsters the view that Mr. Pernier created it to outshine his contemporaries. At a conference this fall in London, Dr. Eisenberg and scholars who defend the disc as authentic will discuss the artifact’s origins face to face.

Dr. Eisenberg’s argument sounds strong to me, and I’m curious to hear Lab readers’ thoughts on what this little episode says about competition in archaeology. But I’m also happy to hear from anyone who wants to defend Mr. Pernier, and anyone who cares to take a stab at deciphering the symbols and finding a message — maybe something like, “I can’t believe anyone would fall for this scam.” Or just a simple excuse from Mr. Pernier: “Hey, you know what they say: publish or perish.”
*********************************************************************************** There were comments - and a rebuttal:

16. July 31st,2008 7:17 am
Dr Jerome M. Eisenberg has written this article without knowing the work of the French scholar Jean Faucounau. This scholar, author of c. 30 papers and books on the Phaistos Disk’s problem has found the answer to ALL the enigmas which have led Dr Eisenberg to his theory. The conclusion is that the Disk is NOT a forgery — it is NOT “undecipherable” — it is NOT Minoan — its hieroglyphs are NOT borrowed from diverses Civilizations, as written by Dr Eisenberg — etc.The true culprits of this mess are the Redactors-in-Chief of the A.J.A. who have refused to print the reply by J. Faucounau to a biased and erroneous paper published in 2000 in this journal, under the signature of the scholar considered as “THE” best specialist in the field.
Jean-Henriet F.
— Posted by Jean-Henriet Faucounau


Claire Grace Watson, B.A., M.S.T. said...

The hoaxologist referenced in this article has invited me to attend the conference so long as I do not present my material that disproves his theory. Therefore, my debate and posters that support a theory of Minoan astronomy can be seen on my website. The Phaistos Disk is not a hoax but his scheduled conference definately is.

K. Bouzanis said...

An interesting point of view.
An actions report of a manager of the ancient Phaistos commercial center

The famous Phaistos Disc is a printed, per paragraph, synoptic report of a manager actions from the Phaistos commercial center. The spirals, for technical reasons, are starting with guide the edge of the disc, from the periphery to the center, and the inscription, again for technical reasons, begins reversely.
The Phaistos Disk, the Column from Abydos, the Rosetta’s Stone, the plate from Egkomi, the plate from the Athena's sanctuary of the Idalion and the plate of Kortona are some written reports or publications current accounting's and regulatory acts for the king's or administration's or municipality's informing.!/view.aspx?cid=E39B50D7D9EA3235&resid=E39B50D7D9EA3235%21123&app=WordPdf

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