Developmental Literacy
Etruscan Literacy




























Room 612, Institute of Archaeology
University College London

10th November 2004


The development of writing systems and modes of literacy have frequently been identified as having important roles in the development of states and complex societies.  However, this is still not fully understood and many aspects of this theme in the development of ancient societies remains to be clarified.  It is a theme which has relevance to many different ancient societies and forms of writing, ranging from ancient Egypt and the Near East to the prehistoric and classical Mediterranean, and from early American cultures to the Roman empire and beyond.  However, these regions are all too often studied in isolation. 

The Social and Cultural Dynamics Research Group and the Complex and Literate Societies Research Group at the Institute of Archaeology are organising this one-day seminar on this theme, taking place on 10th November 2004.  The purpose of this seminar is to bring together speakers working on aspects of the development of writing and literacy in any ancient society, and it seeks particularly to explore the linkage (if any) between the development of writing systems and literacy and evolution of complex state societies.


11.00-11.30 coffee

11.30-1.00 Egyptian and Near Eastern Literacy

11.30-12.00 John Tait ‘Writing in Egypt’
12.00-12.30 José-R. Pérez-Accino ‘The political concept of Egypt and the invention of writing as reflected in the Shabaka stone’
12.30-1.00 Yvette Balbaligo ‘Egyptology beyond philology’

1.00-2.30 Lunch

2.30-3.30 Egyptian and Near Eastern Literacy (continued)

2.30-3.00 Kathryn Piquette ‘ Inscribed objects of the Late Predynastic and 1st Dynasty of Egypt’
3.00-3.30 Robert Hoyland ‘Writing among the pre-Islamic Arabs’

3.30-4.00 Literacy in Central and southern America

3.30-4.00 Bill Sillar ‘The use of kipus as non-written record-keeping in Inca society’

4.00-4.30 tea

4.30-5.00 Literacy in the ancient Mediterranean

4.30-5.00 Kathryn Lomas and Ruth Whitehouse ‘Writing and state development in early Italy’

5.00-7.00 closing discussion followed by reception

Practical Details

The conference will take place in Room 612, Institute of Archaeology, Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY.  Because of limitations on space, anyone wishing to attend the conference should contact Kathryn Lomas in advance.  The seminar itself is free, but there will be a charge of £5.00 for lunch.  Anyone who wishes to book lunch must do so before 8th November 2004.

If you wish to attend the conference, please download our booking form (Word Document) and return it by post (with appropriate payment), or as an email attachment to:  Dr Kathryn Lomas, Insitute of Archaeology, UCL, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY.  Email:

Organised by the Social and Cultural Dynamics and Complex and Literate Societies research groups.