The two sides of the Phaistos disk, photos of a replica. Credit: Randal Nelson, University of Rochester.
The Phaistos disk is a circular, terra-cotta tablet, some six to seven inches in diameter, found in Crete in July 1908 and dating from about 1700 BC. The Phaistos disk bears 45 different symbols or characters and 242 symbols in all. These symbols are stamped on the two sides along spiral lines that divide the face into five coils. The characters are pictorial but have no association with Cretan pictographs. There is no trace outside Crete of a similar script, and its origin is obscure.