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We are recruiting for a PhD student to join the VIEWS project, Visual Interactions in Early Writing Systems (UKRI Frontier Research Grant no. EP/X028240/1), in October 2023. The student will work on a predetermined topic, namely visual aspects of the linear scripts of the Bronze Age Aegean (Cretan Hieroglyphic, Linear A and Linear B), although there will be significant scope for the successful applicant to design their own approach to the research problems under focus.

For more information about the VIEWS project, please visit the project website: https://viewsproject.wordpress.com/

 

PhD studentship

Applicants are sought to work on a three-year PhD topic on visual aspects of the Bronze Age Aegean scripts.

Writing emerged in Crete around the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE, with the system we call Cretan Hieroglyphic growing out of seal usage, before being transferred to the medium of clay. Linear A soon followed and co-existed with Cretan Hieroglyphic for a significant period, although it is Linear A that eventually had the greater longevity and success. Later, Linear B was developed to write the Greek language across the Mycenaean world, while in Cyprus related writing systems were used throughout the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age. Previous studies have largely worked on the assumption that all members of this group are typologically more-or-less identical: each one is a syllabic system whose signs exclusively represent open syllables, and most feature logographic signs as well (the Cypriot scripts being the main apparent exception). Visual differences between the systems have typically been studied as effects of material and social context, but there remain many areas that are still poorly understood.

The VIEWS PhD student will work on visual aspects of the Aegean scripts, including for example:

  • The development of what is usually understood as formal writing from earlier systems of visual meaning making
  • The development of logographic signs and their different usages in each script tradition
  • Links between the iconicity of signs and wider visual culture in Minoan and Mycenaean society
  • Changes over time in the way information was laid out, particularly in administrative documents
  • Evidence for the ways writers, readers and observers interacted visually with administrative documents and other inscriptions

The student will develop their own approaches to these issues, using interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g. visual, linguistic, material, contextual) to make a significant contribution to the field of study of the Aegean scripts.

 

Eligibility and level of funding

Applicants should have a good first degree, and a Master’s level or equivalent degree (either complete or nearing completion), in a relevant discipline. There is scope to learn the relevant writing systems and their corpora during study, but prior experience will be an advantage.

The funding for this project is provided by the UKRI and covers three years of fees and maintenance payments (i.e. fully funded) for a home (i.e. UK) student.

Unfortunately there is not sufficient budget to cover international fees, but applications will be considered from international candidates who can show that they have another source of funding. Such candidates are welcome to contact us at views@classics.cam.ac.uk for further information.

 

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 16th May 2023.

Candidates should apply for the PhD through the University of Cambridge central system. More information can be found here: https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/application-process/how-do-i-apply

At the same time, candidates must send us a research proposal of no more than 750 words detailing their relevant experience and the approach they would take to the research topic outlined above. The proposal should be sent to: views@classics.cam.ac.uk.

Interviews are expected to take place in early June, by zoom. The successful candidate will take up the studentship on 1st October 2023.

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