Phaistos (sometimes called Festos) is after Knossos the most famous archaeological complex on the Greek island of Crete. The site was already inhabited in the Neolothicum and early Minoan times. The Old Palace was built around 1900 BC. Just as in Knossos, the palace was destroyed by a great earthquake around 1700 BC. It was then rebuilt and finally laid waste.in 1450 BC
Phaistos was inhabited again in the Bronze Age and expanded into a flourishing Greek city, until finally being wiped out in the 2nd century BC by the Achaeans, another tribe from the Greek mainland.
The temple has been excavated by Italian archaeologists, starting with Federico Halbherr in 1900. They discovered that the ground plan of the area has many similarities to that of Knossos.
An impressive entrance on the western side leads to the central courtyard with shrines and storerooms next to each other, reception chambers to the north, and workshops in the north eastern wing together with houses.
One of the most famous discoveries from the complex is the Phaistos Disc, which was found in 1908. The disc has a diameter of approximately 16 centimetres and is about 16-19 mm thick. It is made of earthenware and both sides carry a spiral form with imprints of pictograms. These cannot be deciphered as we do not know in which language they are written. That also means that the origins of the disc are unknown. The object has been dated to between 1700 and 1600 BC and can now be seen in the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion.