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THE ENIGMA OF THE ‘PHAISTOS DISC’ It was on July 3, 1908 – exactly one hundred years ago – that an Italian archaeologist, excavating a Minoan site in southern Crete called…




It was on July 3, 1908 – exactly one hundred years ago – that an Italian archaeologist, excavating a Minoan site in southern Crete called Phaestos, discovered in its ruins a clay disc bearing unknown symbols on both sides.

The discovered object, a disc about 4.5 inches in diameter, has since come to be known as The Phaestos Disc; and for a century now has baffled all who tried to unravel its mystery:  For there has been found no other object like it, no writing as its pictographs, no inkling regarding its language, or to what people it owes its existence. Yet there it is, for anyone interested to see, in Crete’s Iraklion Museum.

On one of my Earth Chronicles Expeditions tours, we went to Crete.  A must see are the ruins of Knossos, the Minoan capital excavated by Sir Arthur Evans. We also went to the Museum to see the disc; and I told the guide: I want to visit Phaestos.  No one goes there, she said; there is nothing there to see, she said – just ruins of some buildings.  But I insisted: There’s something on the disc that intrigues me!

We intended to spend a quick one hour there; we ended up being there the whole day. It was a day of thrilling discoveries.  These were not just “some buildings”.  We found merchants’ stalls, each identified with stone blocks inscribed with product symbols.  We found evidence that the place was a copper processing facility, that it had a connecting slideway to the seashore below.  This was a commercial and industrial center, next to sea lanes!

What was it about the disc that made me want to come here? Our guide asked.  Contrary to accepted wisdom that the disc’s pictographs are unique, I said, I have seen some of them before: Ships and men with a plumed headdress – in Egypt and in Mayan Chichen Itza in Mexico!

You can read more about my guess that they were the mysterious “People of the Sea” and might have reached the Mediterranean from the Americas, in my book The Earth Chronicles Expeditions.  It’s an appropriate centennial anniversary thriller.


Mail I receive from readers often contains a press clipping or an internet printout with some news item, accompanied by the comment “But this is exactly what you’ve said in your book…!  “As often as not, I nod my head in a ‘I know, I know’ gesture and file the item away; as I thank my fan I sometimes add the admonition: Why do you tell it just to me? Tell it to the newspaper (or to the archaeologist or scientist) who made the announcement!

Let me share with you two recent examples:

The Case of the Golden Necklace

Some media outlets picked up a sensational discovery made in Peru that was announced on March 31, 2008 by a group of U.S. archaeologists: In a crude burial site high in the Andean mountains, they found next to a crumbling skull a beautiful golden necklace consisting of nine golden cylindrical ‘beads’ separated by green colored rings made of semi-precious stone.

The sensation: C-14 dating dated the burial to 2155 B.C. – a time when the primitive “hunters-gatherers in the Andes” could not  possibly have the metallurgical and other ability to make the necklace!  Voicing their amazement, the archaeologists suggested that the find may have to alter current perceptions of the abilities of “primitive people” etc, etc. 

“Ken” from Missouri City, Texas, who has sent a printout to me, added his notation: “Why don’t they do the math?  2 + 2 = Sitchin + Anunnaki.” Why? Because the find was made at a site near Lake Titicaca – and in my books I wrote that after the Deluge the Anunnaki transferred their gold-obtaining operation to that region, bringing over by 3000 B.C. expert miners and metallurgists from the ancient Near East.  (See especially The Lost Realms).

The Case of the Oldest Temple

A letter from a Mr. Oswald in Austria and faxes from readers in Turkey alerted me the same week to headline news regarding discoveries at a mound called Goebekli Tepe near the town of Urfa in southeastern Turkey.  There, stone columns, some with carved animal images, appear to have been erected in a manner suggesting a worship site;  dated by the excavators to earlier than 4000 B.C., it would be the oldest ‘temple’ in the world!

I was in Urfa several years ago; there are many mounds needing excavation all around (the local legends associate the place with Abraham).  So why the headlines now if it’s maybe that old, maybe a worship place? Well, it’s because the lead archaeologist, Klaus Shmidt, at a press conference, linked the place to the beginning of agriculture and to “the Sumerian Du.Ku and the Anunna, very ancient gods without individual names”!

“If he is not a Sumerologist, did he pick it up from your books?” my readers asked me.

He must have – from the The Wars of Gods and Men.  There, of course, I not only quote the Sumerian clay-tablet texts, but also give the names of the Anunnaki leaders involved:  Enki and Enlil…


© Z. Sitchin
Reprinted with permission.


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    Helen Elizabeth Williams is the owner of, where she is a staff writer. Her passions are: spirituality, meditation and polo. She adores all animals, but horses have a special place in her heart. She loves the diversity of our cultures, the beauty of simple people and the harmony of Mother Nature. ♥

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