Book Launch: Writing as Material Practice: Substance, surface and medium

Start: Mar 27, 2014 05:00 PM
End: Mar 27, 2014 07:00 PM

Location: 6th floor, Staff Common Room (Room 609)

Writing as Material Practice: Substance, surface and medium book cover

The launch of the new volume Writing as Material Practice: Substance, surface and medium, edited by Kathryn Piquette and Ruth Whitehouse and published by Ubiquity Press, will take place at the Institute on 27 March.

Writing as Material Practice grapples with the issue of writing as a form of material culture in its ancient and more recent manifestations, and in the contexts of production and consumption. Fifteen case studies explore the artefactual nature of writing - the ways in which materials, techniques, colour, scale, orientation and visibility inform the creation of inscribed objects, spaces and landscapes, as well as structure subsequent engagement, perception and meaning making.

This volume grew out of a conference of the same title, held at the Institute of Archaeology in May 2009. Please join us at the book launch from 5pm for a glass of wine and a chance to purchase a hardback copy of the book at the discounted rate of £25 (RRP £40).


  • Introduction: Developing an approach to writing as material practice (Kathryn E. Piquette and Ruth D. Whitehouse)
  • The Twisting Paths of Recall: Khipu (Andean cord notation) as artifact (Frank Salomon)
  • Writing as Material Technology: Orientation within landscapes of the Classic Maya world (Sarah E. Jackson)
  • Writing (and Reading) as Material Practice: The world of cuneiform culture as an arena for investigation (Roger Matthews)
  • Re-writing the Script: Decoding the textual experience in the Bronze Age Levant (c.2000–1150bc) (Rachael Thyrza Sparks)
  • The Function and Meaning of Writing in the Prehistoric Aegean: Some reflections on the social and symbolic significance of writing from a material perspective (Helène Whittaker)
  • Form Follows Function: Writing and its supports in the Aegean Bronze Age (Sarah Finlayson)
  • Materiality of Minoan Writing: Modes of display and perception (Georgia Flouda)
  • Saving on Clay: The Linear B practice of cutting tablets (Helena Tomas)
  • Straight, Crooked and Joined-up Writing: An early Mediterranean view (Alan Johnston)
  • “It Is Written”?: Making, remaking and unmaking early ‘writing’ in the lower Nile Valley (Kathryn E. Piquette)
  • Written Greek but Drawn Egyptian: Script changes in a bilingual dream papyrus (Stephen Kidd)
  • The Other Writing: Iconic literacy and Situla Art in pre-Roman Veneto (Italy) (Elisa Perego)
  • ‘Tombstones’ in the North Italian Iron Age: Careless writers or athletic readers? (Ruth D. Whitehouse)
  • Different Times, Different Materials and Different Purposes: Writing on objects at the Grand Arcade site in Cambridge (Craig Cessford)
  • Writing Conservation: The impact of text on conservation decisions and practice (Elizabeth Pye)
  • Epilogue (John Bennet)