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Phaistos (Greek: Φαιστός, also Phaestos and Phaestus was an ancient city on the island of Crete.

Phaistos was located in the south-central portion of the island, in Heraklion prefecture, about 3 1/2 miles from the sea. It was inhabited from about 4000 BC. A palace, dating from the Middle Bronze Age, was destroyed by an earthquake during the Late Bronze Age. Knossos and other Minoan sites were also destroyed at that time. The palace was later rebuilt toward the end of the Late Bronze Age.

The area upon which Phaistos stood was the site where, in 1908, a curious clay disk, dating to about 1700 BC, and containing a sophisticated pictographic writing, was discovered.


Phaistos was first excavated by Italian archaeologist Frederico Halbherr. Further excavations in 1950-1971 were conducted by Doro Levi.

The Old Palace was built in the Protopalatial Period, then rebuilt twice due to extensive earthquake damage. When the palace was destroyed by earthquake, builders covered the damage and built a New Palace on top of the old.

Several artefacts with Linear A inscriptions were excavated at this site.

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