came across Rock Art and Ritual by
Brian Smith and Alan Walker, (subtitled Interpreting
the Prehistoric landscapes of the North York Moors. Stroud: History Press
2008. 38.). It tells the story: Following a wildfire of many square miles of
the North Yorkshire Moors, thought ecologically devastating, those interested
in its few decorated stones headed out to see how these antiquities had fared.
Fire had revealed many more stones carrying rock art or in organised
groups. An urgent archaeological effort would be required before the inevitable
regrowth of vegetation.
A photo of one
stone in particular attracted my attention, at a site called Stoupe Brow
(a.k.a. Brow Moor) near Fylingdales, North Yorkshire.
This paper* concerns itself with a unique fired-clay disk, found by Luigi Pernier in 1908 within the Minoan “palace” of Phaistos (aka Faistos), on the Greek island of Crete. Called the Phaistos Disk, its purpose or meaning has been interpreted many times, largely seen as either (a) a double-sided text in the repeated form of a spiral and outer circle written using an unknown pictographic language stamped in the clay or (b) as an astronomical device, record or handy reference. We provide a calendric interpretation based on the simplest lunar calendars known to apply in Minoan times, finding the Disk to be (a) an elegant solution to predicting repeated eclipses within the Saros period and (b) an observation that the Metonic is just one lunar year longer, and true to the context of the Minoan culture of that period.