We’ve been doing a bit more outreach this week on the CREWS Project as Queen Elizabeth School, Barnet came to visit the Faculty of Classics. After a morning looking round the Museum of Classical Archaeology they joined us for a talk about writing in the ancient world.

I kicked things off with a look at some of the different types of writing systems that exist and an introduction to Mesopotamian and Ugaritic varieties of cuneiform and the early history of the alphabet.

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Then Natalia took over and moved things into the Mediterranean as she looked at some of the different ways the Greeks used writing and the different things they wrote on, and how the Greek alphabet developed into the Latin one we use today.

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The pupils had lots of interesting questions for us to answer, on everything from how the Latin alphabet was adapted to a Germanic language in English to our thoughts on the future of writing.

We were also able to show them an inscribed sherd of Greek pottery from the Museum’s collections and casts of Linear B tablets.

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It’s lovely to be able to talk to young people about the ancient world and to share our enthusiasm for ancient writing systems. We hope we’ll be able to do much more of this sort of thing in the future (and if you are interested in arranging a school visit, please get in touch with us at crews@classics.cam.ac.uk any time). In the short term, look out for us on Saturday 18 March at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in central Cambridge – we’ll be there as part of the University’s Science Festival.

~ Philip Boyes, Research Associate, CREWS Project

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