Ο περίφημος δίσκος της Φαιστού κατασκευάστηκε στο Βαθύ της Καλύμνου;

Ο Δίσκος της Φαιστού είναι ένα αρχαιολογικό εύρημα από την Μινωική πόλη της Φαιστού στη νότια Κρήτη και χρονολογείται πιθανώς στον 17ο αιώνα π.Χ.. Αποτελεί ένα από τα γνωστότερα μυστήρια της αρχαιολογίας, αφού ο σκοπός της κατασκευής του και το νόημα των όσων αναγράφονται σε αυτόν παραμένουν άγνωστα. Ο δίσκος ανακαλύφθηκε στις 3 Ιουνίου 1908 από τον Ιταλό αρχαιολόγο Λουΐτζι Περνιέ και φυλάσσεται σήμερα στο Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Ηρακλείου.  Παραθέτουμε μια μάλλον άγνωστη θεωρία που ανέπτυξε ένας Γάλλος ερευνητής για την προέλευσή του (Λέρος ή Κάλυμνος). Ο κ. J. Faucounau, ούτε λίγο ούτε πολύ, εκτιμά αργότερα, ότι ο περίφημος δίσκος ίσως κατασκευάστηκε στο Βαθύ της Καλύμνου !! Διαβάστε το paper...

IN SEARCH OF THE "DISK'S ISLAND"

Introduction

In the frame of the "proto-Ionian Theory", the Phaistos Disk is supposed to originate from an island located in the "Chios- Thera-Rhodes Triangle". Trying to determine the exact location of this island is important, because it would allow a better knowledge of the "Disk's Culture" which gave birth to the Disk itself, and it would also probably lead to the discovery of other similar items. The best way to achieve this would be to search for the origin of the Disk's clay, but for that, a scientific examination is needed. In anticipation of such a research, we found useful to issue the following remarks.

1)- The "historical frame"

In the frame of the "Pro-Ionian Theory", the history of the "Disk's Culture" which developed in the "Disk's Island" may be reconstructed as follows :

  • - The Keros-Syros Phase : During the Early Cycladic II, there has been no real difference between the "Chios-Thera-Rhodes Triangle" and the rest of the Cycladic Islands. In both areas has florished the well-known "Keros-Syros Culture", of which the "frying pans" are announcing the Disk's script, with their mixture of stamping and tracing.
  • - The 2300/2200 event : In the 2300/2200 BC, a natural catastrophe of unknown origin occurred, bringing sudden changes in all countries on Earth (See for instance M.M. Mandelkehr, 'The 2300 BC Event") and marking the end of the Early Cycladic II period. In the Mediterranean area, the catastrophe brought important changes, with a dryer and cooler climate, coming with many unusually powerful Earthquakes. Most of the Cycladic islands suffered site destructions, with abandonment in many cases. Such has been the case at several sites in Crete (Vasiliki, Myrtos, Fournou Korifi, Mallia), on the Melos island, in Lemnos, on Paros (site of Pyrgos), on Syros (Kastri), etc.
  • The important point is that, if on a large scale the disaster seems universal, on a smaller scale, it appears that some areas have suffered less than others, although being not very far from each other. In his book "The Emergence of Civilization'' (1972), Colin Renfrew studied the impact of the catastrophe on the Cyclades and the neighbouring countries. He noticed for instance, that if Laconia lost, at the end of the E.C.II, almost half of its population, such was not the case for Messenia. He noticed also that the Early Bronze Age lasted longer in Amorgos than in Melos, Thera and Paros. He went as far as writing in Krit.Khron. 1964 (p.107-141) that "to apply to the Keros-Syros Culture the term of Early Cycladic II would be to obscure its duration in Amorgos to the end of the Early Bronze Age, while it is replaced in Melos, Thera and Paros by the Phylakopi I Culture".

    The consequence of this remark is that there is a good chance that there has been in the "Disk's Island", during the 2300-2000 BC period, no cultural break comparable with the important one, that happened in Melos for instance. So, the Disk's island seems to have known, first a "Transitional Phase" during which the bearers of the Disk's Culture were able to quickly recover, then a "Mature Phase" corresponding to the time of the fabrication of the Disk.

  • - The "Transitional Phase" : During this phase, the bearers of the Disk's Culture, less affected by the catastrophe than the rest of the Cyclades, recovered quickly and intensified their maritime traffic, mainly along the road going to Egypt via Crete, with return via the Palestinian coast (See Chap. 6 of our book on "Les Proto-Ioniens" and enclosed map). This phase corresponds, in the Cyclades and in Crete, to the end of the Early Bronze Age (ECIII) and to the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age (MM1A). At that time, there was only turmoil in the Cyclades, situated west of Thera. It is interesting to notice that the "Stamp Seal from Tarsus" discovered by Hetty Goldman, which testifies of the contacts of the Proto-Ionians with Egypt, has been attributed to the Early Bronze III period.
  • - The "Mature Phase" : During this phase, which corresponds to the time of the fabrication of the Disk, i.e. MM1B-MMII, the "Disk's Culture" reached its zenith. Regular trips to Egypt were organized, through a whole chain of places of call. This period corresponds to the Early Second City at Phylakopi and to the beginning of Period IV at Ayia Irini. These times were peaceful and the Cyclades had recovered then from the 2300 BC disaster. But the contacts between the "Disk's island" and these "Middle Cycladic" islands have left only faint traces, like the fragments of pottery decorated by stamping, found at Ayia Irini (Cf John L. Caskey in Hesperia 1972). In Crete, some traces of the "Disk's Culture" of this period have also been found, like for instance the "Vase with stamped decoration" n*14276 from Knossos or the clay sealing of a jar HM992, found at Phaistos and bearing the "weaving comb sign" (S21).
  • e)- The end of the Disk's Culture. Thanks to the reconstruction of the Disk's history (See Annexe 1 of our book "Les Origines Grecques â l'Age de Bronze"), we know that the Disk's Culture has probably been destroyed by the Minoans during the Middle Minoan II period, at the beginning of the "Minoan Expansion". The route of this expansion is pretty well known : the conquest of Thera must have been the first step, followed by attested Minoan settlements at Iasos, Miletos and in Rhodes (Trianda, Ialysos), and probable ones in the other islands belonging to the "Chios- Thera-Rhodes Triangle" (Amorgos, Astypalaia, Ikaria, etc.).

    Let's just mention that if the "Disk's Culture" disappeared during the MMII period, some remnants of it reappeared a few centuries later in the "Proto-Philistine Culture". It seems clear, from the enclosed map concerning the Myc.III C pottery, that the origin of this culture is to be placed in the southern part of the "Chios-Thera-Rhodes Triangle", before the 1200 BC catastrophe, which see the "People of the Sea" to flee to Cyprus, before moving more south...

    2)- The search for the "Disk's island"

    In the light of the historical frame that we have described hereabove, what is the best possibility concerning the location of the "Disk's Island" ?

    The "fist step" of the Minoan expansion, Thera, comes to mind. The excavations at Akrotiri have shown that the island was certainly a properous city before the violent volcanic explosion of 1626 BC which destroyed it. But no typical object belonging to the "Disk's Culture" has been found there. Moreover, as Colin Renfrew mentioned it, the Keros-Syros Culture of the E.C.II seems to have been followed there, like in Melos, by the Phylakopi I Culture. So, we don't think that Thera may be "the Disk's Island".

    Amorgos or Astypalaia would be better candidate. But our preference goes to the "sister-islands" Kalymnos and Leros for the following reasons : a)- there are many springs there, particularly in Kalymnos, what makes easier to find water in case of strong drought, as it was the case during the 2200BC disaster b)- the Legend says that they were populated, in ancient times, by Carians and Pelasgians, i.e. by "Proto-Ionians". c)- the superficies of Kalymnos (109 km2) is great enough for this island to have been as important as Thera during the "transitional" and "mature" phases, mainly if Leros (53 km2) was also part of the kingdom. And it is small enough for the Disk's Culture to have been entirely destroyed by the Minoans (with the help or not of some Earthquake. For instance, such an Earthquake has separated the islet of Telendos from Kalymnos in 554 AD), d)- Locating the "Disk's Island" at Kalymnos and Leros would perfectly fit with the text of the Disk, e)- these islands have not been seriously explored by archaeologists.

    Let's state that our preference is obviously no more than a suggestion, based upon fragile indications. This is the motive why we believe that it would be very important to launch a scientific research about the origin of the Disk's clay.

    J. Faucounau (October 2008)

    Paper:

    Eastern Mediterranean Sites with Myc. Ill C pottery during the Xlllth and the Xllth centuries BC (After Jane C. Waldbaum : A.J.A. 70, 1966 )


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