Conference held Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th March 2019.

Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge


Abstracts are available to view here.

Several of these papers are available as recordings on the CREWS YouTube channel, or by clicking on the direct links in their titles below.

Thursday 14th

Writing and Culture

11.05      Christopher Rollston – Scribes, Seal Makers, Bureaucrats, Masons, and the Military Brass: The Social Context of Writing in the Iron Age Southern Levant

11.50      Theo Nash – Cultures of Writing: The Invention and Re-Invention of Greek Writing in Context

Afternoon – Literacy, Learning and Writing in Society

2.00        Aurélie Névot – How to decrypt the secret writings of the Masters of psalmody (Yunnan, China)? Words beyond writings

2.45        Cécile Guillaume-Pey – A Script ‘good to drink’. Invention of an alphabet and Emergence of a Religious Movement among the Sora (central India)

3.30        Break

4.00        Piers Kelly – Writing systems invented by non-literates and what they tell us

4.45        Katherine Forsyth – Literacy beyond the limes: the social and cultural contexts of ogham and Pictish symbol writing


Friday 15th

Archaeologies of Writing

9.00        Philip Boyes – The Social Archaeology of Writing Systems

9.45        Karenleigh Overmann – A Cognitive Archaeology of Writing: Concepts, Models, Goals

10.30      Break

Materiality and Artefacts

11.00      Nancy Highcock – The Afterlives of Inscribed Commemorative Objects: the transformation of personal memory in Mesopotamian temple contexts

11.45      Marie-Lousie Nosch & Agata UlanowskaMateriality of the Cretan Hieroglyphic Script

12.30      Lunch

Writing for Display

2.00        Christian Prager – Visual-Iconographic Dimension of Maya Hieroglyphic Writing: Meanings Beyond the Surface

2.45        Sophie Heier – The visibility of runic writing and its relation to Viking Age society

3.30        Break

4.00        Alex West – Why did people in medieval Java use so many different scripts?

4.45        Claus Jurman – Towards socio-graphematics: Learning and adopting lapidary script(s) in the multilingual/multi-ethnic environment of Egypt during the 8th century BCE


Saturday 16th

Agency and Personhood

9.00      Marcia-Anne Dobres – An Outsider’s Musings on the Meaningful and Embodied Practice, Technology, and Social Agency of (Some) Early Writing Systems

9.45      James Whitley – Why με? Personhood and agency in Greek inscriptions (800-550 BCE).

10.30      Break

Writing and elite culture

11.00        Kathryn Hudson & John S. Henderson – Script, Image, and Elite Culture in the Maya World: A Southeastern Perspective

11.45        Sarah Finlayson – Writing and elite status in the Bronze Age Aegean

12.30      Lunch

Writing and Identity

2.00        Katherine McDonald – Connectivity and competition: alphabets as identities in Italy

2.45        Natalia Elvira Astoreca – Names and authorship in the beginnings of Greek alphabetic writing

3.30        Olga Tribulato & Valentina Mignosa – A graphic sign of identity? History and meaning of an arrow-shaped alphaLogo

Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems (CREWS) is a European Research Council (ERC) funded project hosted at the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge. This project has received funding from the ERC under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 677758).