Principal Investigator: Dr Philippa M. Steele
As Principal Invesitigator, Pippa Steele is working primarily on the writing systems of Middle-Late Bronze Age Crete and Greece for her project research. This involves studying the Cretan Hieroglyphic, Linear A and Linear B scripts, looking at the contexts in which they were used and aiming to reconstruct the ways in which they are related to each other. Another aspect of this research involves studying the adaptation of writing systems for a new language from a theoretical point of view, and to aid this research she is also working on the development of the Greek alphabet from Phoenician and the spread of alphabetic systems around the Mediterranean. Linear B and the Greek alphabet provide a particularly useful point of comparison because they are both scripts that were borrowed and adapted to write the same language, Greek.
Following a doctorate focusing on the non-Greek languages of ancient Cyprus, Pippa has held a Henry Lumley Junior Research Fellowship (Magdalene College) and a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, both at Cambridge. Her books include A Linguistic History of Ancient Cyprus (CUP 2013) and Society and Writing in Ancient Cyprus (CUP – coming out later this year), the latter a publication of her Evans Pritchard Lectures series given at All Souls College, Oxford, in 2014. She has also edited conference volumes and written numerous articles and book chapters on languages and writing systems. Her other research interests include ancient multilingualism and language contact (a field of study that is very much relevant to the propagation of ancient writing because writing systems were often adapted in multilingual situations) as well as the development of the Greek language over time in the eastern Mediterranean. She is a Senior Research Fellow at Magdalene College.
Two postdoctoral researchers and a PhD student will be joining the CREWS project during its first year. More information will be added here as the team grows.