Over the summer we conducted a competition for the first round of our Visiting Fellowship Scheme, to enable a scholar working on topics relevant to the CREWS project to come and spend some time with us in Cambridge. We had a very strong field of applicants, and were very pleased to be able to make two awards this year, to our top two candidates: Cassandra Donnelly and Willemijn Waal. You can read more about them, and their research projects, below.


DSC_8806_2.jpgCassandra Donnelly (University of Texas)

Cassandra Donnelly is a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin in the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory (PASP) program established by Dr Thomas Palaima in 1986. There, she is engaged in two main projects, her dissertation, “Writing and Economy in the Late Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean,” and the Palace of Nestor 4 project. The Palace of Nestor team is in the editing stages of publishing an RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) and analog corpus of the Pylos tablets. Cassie’s job is editing the tablet drawings. Her dissertation work explores the interaction between Late Bronze Age writing systems through a close study of the Cypro-Minoan script, the Late Bronze Age script of Cyprus, which has also appeared on the Greek and Syro-Palestinian mainlands.

silver bowl
Silver bowl from Enkomi, Cyprus, with Cypro-Minoan inscription. Photo courtesy of Silvia Ferrara.

During her visit to Cambridge with the CREWS project (May-July 2019) she will look at the interaction between the Cypro-Minoan and the poorly attested Reduced Cuneiform alphabetic script of Syro-Palestine. She will do so by focusing on the medium of the inscribed metal bowls, which are found throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. She’s incredibly excited to be surrounded by the great group of scholars that make up the CREWS team and to have her scholarship enriched by them.


Waal foto.jpgWillemijn Waal (Leiden University)

Willemijn Waal is a classicist and Hittitologist. Since her PhD (2010) she has held several post-doctoral positions at the University of Leiden, the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP). She currently works as university lecturer at the Department of Classics and Ancient Civilizations at Leiden University. Her research interests include early writing systems, orality and literacy in the ancient world and the interaction between the Aegean and the Near East in the Late Bronze Age. Recently, she has been working on the introduction of the alphabet to Greece, suggesting that this may have happened much earlier than is generally assumed.

waal pics.jpg
Left: Cretan Hieroglyphic seal impression, image from CHIC. Right: Luwian Hieroglyphic stele, image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

During her CREWS visiting fellowship (in January and March 2019) she will work on early writing in Anatolia and the Aegean. In both regions, pictorial writing systems emerge in the second millennium BCE: Cretan Hieroglyphs (and later Linear A and B) in the Aegean and the Anatolian (or Luwian) Hieroglyphs in Anatolia. As has often been pointed out, these scripts share some interesting similarities. Since close contacts existed since at least the Neolithic period, it is very well possible that they did not emerge in complete isolation. The project will explore the possibility that these writing systems share a common origin. It will further investigate to what extent these writing systems may be seen as the result of independent regional developments: though they are usually considered to be secondary inventions, many of the characteristics of the Aegean and Anatolian writing systems are in fact more typical for primary inventions.


We are very excited to welcome Willemijn and Cassie to Cambridge next year, and look forward to telling you more about their contributions to the CREWS project through the blog.


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