Farewell CREWS (and hello VIEWS)

Today is the last day of the CREWS project. We started in April 2016, and over the last six years it has been an absolute pleasure to work with my amazing team and all the colleagues who have taken part in the project through the visiting fellowship scheme, conferences and seminars. I’m blown away by their generosity and all that amazing intellectual stimulation – the project has developed in so many exciting ways from those initial ideas I first put down on paper seven years ago.

It may be the last formal day of the project, but this isn’t really the end of CREWS! The website will remain active, with all the resources already housed there (including the blog posts, free teaching materials and our ‘write your name’ sheets). I’ll also keep the YouTube channel active. There will even be new content occasionally, because there are some CREWS publications still in progress – and don’t forget that you can access all the already-published outcomes for free through the website too.

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A final CREWS project seminar

We are pleased to tell you that the CREWS project will be hosting one final seminar on its last day, Friday 30th September 2022 (at 3.00pm BST, by Zoom). All are welcome!

We will be joined by our long-distance Visiting Fellow Robert Martin of the University of Toronto, who is now working as archaeology co-ordinator for the Saugeen Ojibwe Nation. Sadly it turned out that Robert could not visit us in person in Cambridge, but he is nevertheless sharing his research with us and will give a paper on “A Late Bronze Age Early Alphabetic Inscription from Mycenae (Greece)”.

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New podcast with Pippa

Pippa recently recorded a podcast in Andreas Charalambous’s series on the History of Cyprus. You can listen to Pippa’s episode, “The Linguistic History of Cyprus”, here:

For the rest of the podcast series, you can see a whole range of ways to listen to all the episodes HERE.

The last round of CREWS Visiting Fellows

We were delighted to be able to welcome one last round of new CREWS Visiting Fellows this term, and very excited to hear about their work on a range of different writing systems and research questions. You can read more about their research below.

Two of our Visiting Fellows, Annarita Bonfanti and Claudia Posani, are going to be giving a zoom seminar on Friday 20th May. Download the poster below for details.

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A Cypriot art project: Guest post by Charles (Pico) Rickleton

Hello, I’m Pico and I’m very excited to be joining the CREWS project in Cambridge for Michaelmas term. I am coming to CREWS through a fairly unusual route, as my practice is primarily that of an art director and designer not an academic. I can usually be found working at Flying Object, a creative studio based in London, as their in-house art director or at Studio Forage, an experimental design collective, focussed on storytelling through critical design. My personal practice is concerned with reading experiences, language, ethnographic objects and speculative thinking. During my time with CREWS I will be working on a research project that deals with the confluence of these interests in the context of an extinct writing system.

Limestone fragment with a Cypriot syllabic inscription, c.5th C BC. Met Museum New York.
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Script and Society: The Social Context of Writing Practices in Late Bronze Age Ugarit

How does writing work as a part of society and culture? That was the question I set out to address when I joined CREWS in 2016. It’s not a complete question, though. Society and culture are specific things, particular to a given place at a given time. No two societies operate in the same way, and culture is arguably even more prone to differences, not just by time and society, but even within societies themselves. As long-term followers of this blog will know, my specific case study has been the kingdom of Ugarit, a small but important Syrian trading power in the fourteenth to twelfth centuries BC. Now, after four years of research, I’ve finally been able to offer up some answers in the form of a book, Script and Society: The Social Context of Writing Practices in Late Bronze Age Ugarit, just published by Oxbow books.

Since excavations began over 90 years ago, Ugarit has been an extremely important site in Near Eastern studies because of its large corpus of surviving clay tablets. Many of these are written in the Akkadian language and the logosyllabic cuneiform script that was used across much of the Near East and East Mediterranean in this period. However, just over half the tablets from Ugarit are written in a different script and language: an alphabetic form of cuneiform used to write the local Ugaritic language. In addition, there are relatively small collections of written material in other scripts and languages such as Egyptian hieroglyphs and Cypro-Minoan.

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