The Necklace Mystery: Finding Out The Potential Origin of a Travel Souvenir

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


I had one night to spend by myself in Bangkok before my friend from home joined me. The last two weeks had been spent working my way down the coast of Vietnam with a ramshackle group of new friends and old that had been an action packed, beer soaked adventure and now that I was alone, I was feeling a bit listless. 

Not wanting to spend the evening solo in a hotel while there was so much action going on on the street below my window, I decided to head outside and spend a few hours wandering through the street stalls.

Down a cramped side alley, I came upon a small stall that was loaded down with silver pendents, and for the first time one stood out to me (stalls like this were everywhere). It was an imperfect circle, and had symbols that I had never seen before winding its way around it.

I bartered the seller down to 400 baht (approx. $12) and ended up wearing the necklace everyday for the entire month that I was in Thailand. 

Now, five years later, I still wear the pendent regularly and always have people commenting on it and asking me what it means. I have never had any idea (though I have never actually done any research into it) UNTIL I was flipping through a National Geographic magazine and found myself looking at my necklace. 

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According to the article, my necklace is a reproduction of the Phaistos Disk which is an artifact that was discovered by Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in 1908. He discovered the clay disk in the ruins of the ancient palace of Phaistos which is on the island of Crete. 

Apparently it dates to around 1700BC (during the time of the Minoan civilization) and the spiral of stamped shapes have never been translated. The original disk has 242 signs, 45 of them being unique, and though there are some recognizable shapes (arrow heads, beehive etc) no one has EVER deciphered them. No other artifact has ever been found with these types of symbols on them either.

One mystery solved... another much larger one to go...