Alphabetic Responses to Western Semitic Writing
From 1st to 3rd July 2004, an international conference on the emergence of alphabetic Greek writing was organised at St. Hilda's College by Peter Haarer as part of the Centre's Epigraphic Sources for Early Greek Writing project (http://poinikastas.csad.ox.ac.uk). The aim of the conference was to explore how the introduction of alphabetic Greek fitted in with developments in other writing systems across the Mediterranean in the Early Iron Age, from "consonantal" alphabetic systems in the Near East to the Paleo-Hispanic writings of the West.
The conference began with a key-note address by Barry Powell (Wisconsin-Madison), followed by a series of papers examining individual writing systems. Speakers included Jo Ann Hackett (Harvard), Alan Millard (Liverpool), David Hawkins (SOAS), Bonny Bazemore (South Carolina), Yves Duhoux (Université Catholique de Louvain), John Bennet (Sheffield), Alan Johnston (UCL), Nino Luraghi (Toronto), Ignacio-J. Adiego (Barcelona), Kathryn Lomas (UCL), Alessandro Naso (Univerita del Molise), Enrico Benelli (ISCIMA), Javier De Hoz (Madrid).
The conference offered a forum in which a wealth of information was exchanged, including much new material. Among the common themes stressed by speakers were the significance of the cultural context in which writing systems are embedded and their role as a means of cultural identification and differentiation.
Funding for the conference was provided by the British Academy, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Craven Committee, the Meyerstein Fund, the Pusey and Ellerton Fund, and the Classics Faculty and School of Archaeology at Oxford. It is hoped that the conference papers will be published in the Centre's Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents series.
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