The Phaistos Disc, most probably dating back to the 17th century B.C. is gradually revealing its secrets. Linguist Dr. Gareth Owens, who for the past 30 years has been living in Crete, has so far been able, in partnership with Oxford Phonetics Professor John Coleman, to “read” 99% of the disc.
On the occasion of his February 7 lecture at the National Hellenic Research Foundation, titled “The voice of the Phaistos Disc”, Dr. Owens commented: “We are reading the Phaistos Disc according to Linear B’s phonetic values, assisted further by comparative linguistics, which is to say, comparing it to other related languages in the Indo-European family of languages. However, reading something does not mean understanding it.”
At what stage, though, is the disc’s deciphering, which remains an unresolved mystery? Is it as unresolved as commonly thought of? “After 10 years of research, I believe that the interpretation of the Phaistos Disk has cleared the 50% ‘bar’ I set. I had told myself that I would only present my work when I could offer an experimental interpretation of more than half the words on the Disc. And this is a new element of research,” said Owens, who is not afraid of revisions.