Understanding Relations Between Scripts II:

Early Alphabets


21st and 22nd March 2017

Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge


This conference, the second in the Understanding Relations Between Scripts series, focuses on the development of alphabetic writing systems in the later second and earlier first millennia BC. We are pleased to welcome a selection of international speakers, listed below with their paper titles.

Sessions will run for half a day on Tuesday 21st March (from lunchtime onwards), and will run all day on Wednesday 22nd March. (A programme will follow in the near future.)

Attendance at the conference is free of charge, but please note that places are limited and registration is therefore necessary. If you would like to book a place at the conference, please register by sending an e-mail to crews@classics.cam.ac.uk, giving details of your name and institutional affiliation. Enquiries can also be sent to the same address.

A booklet containing the abstracts for each paper can be downloaded HERE.




Tuesday 21st March


1.00pm            Registration desk open

1.30pm            Introduction and welcome


Session 1: Chaired by Torsten Meißner

1.45pm             Silvia Ferrara (Rome, La Sapienza)

“The Ugaritic Alphabet/s: A Typological Revolution?”

2.30pm            Philip Boyes (Cambridge)

“Variation in alphabetic cuneiform: Rethinking the “Phoenician” inscription from Sarepta.”

3.15pm            Tea


Session 2: Chaired by Helena Tomas

3.45pm            Ben Haring (Leiden)

“Ancient Egypt and the earliest known stages of alphabetic writing.”

4.30pm            End of papers


Wednesday 22nd March


Session 3: Chaired by Geoffrey Khan

9.30am            Reinhard G. Lehmann (Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz)

“Much ado about an implement! — How Early Alphabetic was Phoenicianised.”

10.15am          Roger Woodard (Buffalo)

“Vowel Representation in the Archaic Greek and Old Aramaic Scripts: A Comparative Orthographic and Phonological Examination.”

11.00am          Tea


Session 4: Chaired by Alan Johnston

11.30am          Willemijn Waal (Leiden)

“The journey from East to West. Rethinking the transmission and introduction of the alphabet to Greece.”

12.15pm          Pippa Steele (Cambridge)

The development of Greek alphabets: fluctuations and standardisations.”

1.00pm            Lunch (buffet lunch provided)


Session 5: Chaired by Nick Zair

2.30pm            Giorgos Bourogiannis (Medelhavsmuseet, Stockholm)

Between scripts and languages: Inscribed intricacies from archaic Greek contexts.

3.15pm            Karin Tikkanen (Uppsala)

“To <B> or not to <B>? Signs for voiced labials in Etruscan, Latin and Umbrian.”

4.00pm            Coline Ruíz Darasse (CNRS, Bordeaux)

“Writings in network? The case of Palaeohispanic scripts.”

4.45pm            End of papers