CREWS Interview in French Magazine

Those of you who read French may be interested to read a brief interview that I gave for the magazine Science et Vie:

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L’invention de l’alphabet: 3 questions à Philippa Steele, responsable du projet CREW de l’université de Cambridge

The interview is part of a longer feature on the development of alphabetic systems, which appears in full in the print version of the magazine.

In the near future there will be another blog post on this topic – watch this space.

 

~ Pippa Steele (Principal Investigator of the CREWS project)

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CREWS PhD Studentship

I am happy to announce that the advertisement for a PhD studentship on the CREWS project has now gone live:

 

PhD Studentship on the Early Greek Alphabet

 

This is a fully funded studentship, and the successful candidate will begin a PhD on the early development of the Greek alphabet in October 2016. Interested parties should read in detail the information given on the page linked to above, which explains the application process.

 

Please note that due to restrictions of funding, the studentship is open to UK/EU nationals only.

CREWS in the Press

The CREWS Project has been running for a couple of weeks now, and I was very pleased to see all the enthusiastic responses to the press release that went live during the first week. You can read the original release here (arranged kindly by my colleague Ryan Cronin):

Easy as Alep, Bet, Gimel

I hope that the anecdote concerning alphabetical order in the press release was interesting to read about. The sheer longevity of this idea, and its relationship with not only writing but also the social context of writing, is very striking – and this will be just one aspect of ‘contexts’ and ‘relations’ in ancient writing that the project will look at over our five year period of research.

Some websites reported the ancient origins of alphabetical order as a new discovery, but actually this is not new at all: we have known about alphabetical order in Latin, Greek, Phoenician, Ugaritic and other ancient writing systems for many years. What is new, however, is the way in which we will study it as part of the project. We know that alphabetical order as an idea was passed on from one society to another – but what we do not know is exactly how or why this happened.

 

Ugaritic alphabet
Figure 1. Ugaritic cuneiform abecedarium on a clay tablet from Ras Shamra, Syria. http://www.csah.cam.ac.uk/images/ugarit-hi-res/view

Continue reading “CREWS in the Press”

Welcome to CREWS

If you have found your way here, then you might already have an idea what the CREWS project is about. Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems – hence CREWS – is a new project that aims to shed new light on developments in the history of writing and the cultural settings in which those developments took place.

 

CREWS 8 cropped

 

The project has just started up in April 2016 and will run for five years until 2021, giving an ample span of research time that will result in several new publications, conferences, seminar series and a project website, all aimed at furthering research as well as engaging the public with the new discoveries made and methods forged by the project team. It is funded by the European Research Council, and based in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge.

At the moment, I am flying solo as the Principal Investigator of the project. Over time, however, a team will emerge: two post-doctoral researchers, a PhD student and a research assistant will be joining CREWS during its first year. You can look here for news on job vacancies when they are advertised, and more information on the team members will be added as the team grows.

Continue reading “Welcome to CREWS”