Life on Crete - Phaistos Disc, c.1458 BC

Dr. Reinoud M. de Jonge

Teh Phaistos Disc possesses 45 different symbols, and a total of 242 signs. Each sign has a meaning and a passage number, which is situated at the start of one or two series of passages, finishing with the powerful King, or Queen. This encodes for almost each sign a total number, because the length of the series of passages determines the number of figures of it. However, each symbol may have different meanings, dependent on its position on the disc, on front or back side, and on inner part or edge. The signs may represent the yearly production of goods, and the number of people (men and women) making these, but also valuable objects. In this way we discovered, that c.6,000 people made c.30 ships per year for a Fleet of c.150 ships, maintained by c.7,400 men and women. The total number of people encoded in this way, equals the population of Crete, c.140,000 men. The disc turns out to give a very accurate discription of daily life on Crete at the end of the New Palace Culture, c.1458 BC.