Institute of Archaeology


Etruscan Literacy in its Social Context

23 April 2020

A new volume on Etruscan Literacy, edited by Ruth Whitehouse, has recently been published by the Accordia Research Institute, University of London.

Etruscan Literacy in its Social Context (bookcover)

Etruscan Literacy in its Social Context arises from a conference held at the Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London in 2010. The book, which represents Volume 18 in the Accordia Specialist Studies on Italy series, includes papers by scholars of the Etruscan world who offer a wide range of approaches to understanding how writing was used by the Etruscans.

They address the issues of who produced the writing, the social situations in which it was used and the nature of the language employed. They bring together archaeological, linguistic, iconographic and historical perspectives to make new and stimulating contributions to the study of Etruscan society and its use of writing. 


  • Introduction: Ruth D. Whitehouse
  • The Social Context of Proto-Literacy in Central Italy: the case of Poggio Civitate: Anthony Tuck & Rex Wallace
  • Etruscan Inscriptions on Pottery Vessels: contexts and functions (8th–6th centuries BC): Jean Gran-Aymerich & Jean Hadas-Lebel
  • Potters’ Signatures: the relationship betweeen craftsmen and artefacts: Valentina Belfiore & Lucilla Medori
  • Etruscan Vase Painters: literate or illiterate?: Dimitris Paleothodoros
  • ‘Drawing’ Inscriptions: preliminary remarks on writing artisans in 7th century BC Faliscan territory: Maria Cristina Biella
  • Engravers and Readers of Inscribed Etruscan Gems: Laura Ambrosini
  • The Internationa Etruscan Sigla Project: an introduction: Giovanna Bagnasco Gianni & Nancy T. de Grummond
  • Traces of Orality in Writing: Daniele Maras
  • Writing Time and Space in Ancient Etruria: Massimiliano Di Fazio
  • Writing Against the Image: Larissa Bonfante
  • Between Etruscans and Phoenicians: the impiety of Thefarie: Maurizio Harari
  • Evidence for Etruscan Archives: tracking the epigraphic habit in tombs, the sacred sphere, and at home: Hilary Becker
  • Personal Names in Early Etruscan Inscriptions: an anthropological perspective: Ruth D. Whitehouse

The Accordia Research Institute was founded in 1988 to promote research into all aspects of early Italy. This new volume is dedicated to the memory of John Wilkins, scholar of language, literacy and society of ancient Italy.

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