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The Decipherment of Linear B: Introduction

The decipherment of Linear B was of fundamental importance for the disciplines of Aegean archaeology and Indo-European linguistics: it completely altered our understanding of the early civilisations of Greece and Crete. Moreover, it pushed the earliest known examples of written Greek back to more than 3000 years ago, making Greek the oldest known European language that is still spoken today.

     Michael Ventris            John Chadwick 

The decipherment was achieved in 1952 by a young British architect, Michael Ventris. Within weeks of his discovery he was in touch with John Chadwick, a young philologist just appointed to a lectureship at Cambridge. Chadwick was the first scholar to accept the decipherment as correct; in his first letter to Ventris he made some further suggestions helping to confirm it. Ventris gladly welcomed Chadwick’s contributions and invited him to collaborate on the first scholarly publication of the decipherment, which came out in the Journal of Hellenic Studies in 1953. The two worked closely together for the next four years, until Ventris’s tragically early death in 1956, within weeks of the publication of their monumental joint work, Documents in Mycenaean Greek.

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New Discovery

Sep 20, 2016

Professor Jack Davis and Dr Sharon Stocker (Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati), ‘Sometimes All That Glitters Is Gold: The Tomb of the Griffin Warrior at Pylos’, 5 pm on Monday 10 October. To reserve your place please reply to pylos.lecture@classics.cam.ac.uk by Monday 3 October.

Temporary University Lectureships in Classics (Ancient History)

Aug 31, 2016

Applications are welcome for two temporary lectureships in Classics (Ancient History) from 01 January 2017. Please see the Jobs & Vacancies page for further information.

Vacancy - Research Associate (Archaeology)

Aug 30, 2016

Applications are sought for a Research Associate (Archaeology) from 01 November 2016. For more information and details on how to apply, please see the Jobs & Vacancies page.

Celebrating Cambridge Classics

Aug 19, 2016

Tim Whitmarsh, A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, will deliver his Inaugural Lecture, “Oedipus the Atheist”, on Friday 14 October at 5pm in the Little Hall, Sidgwick Site. This begins a weekend of Classics celebrations including the Greek Play and a Symposium on Greek Drama at Newnham College.

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