This is a wonderful spirit-of-place site situated in the Mesara plain and second behind Knossos in importance in Minoan times, mythologically home of Rhadamanthys, Minos of Knossos’ brother (Sarpedon, another brother in Greek myth, was probably a later addition).
Both palace periods (first and second) are covered here, though interestingly, the new palace is slightly smaller than that of the first, with a total area of 28,000 metres. Excavated expertly by Frederico Halbherr for the Italian School of Archaeology, shortly before the turn of the 20th century, Phaistos was to reveal all manner of incredible finds, not least of which, is the ‘Phaistos Disc’. Found in “house 101”, by Luigi Pernier, in 1907, this plate sized disk, has 45 distinct glyphs, imprinted on both sides, totalling 241 impressions in all. Supposedly dating to the 16th C. BC, it was found amongst a much later Hellenistic deposit, which had presumably fallen from the floor above, and close to a Linear A tablet, from which the dating, above, is taken. There have, for a number of years, been serious doubts as to the disk’s authenticity, and there are growing calls to have it dated by process of moluminescence, which would not damage it. The site itself spectacularly situated on the east end of the Kastri hill, affording views, for those looking north west, to the Kamares cave, which can clearly be seen from here.