For Immediate Release

Visible Language Series Begins

(Cambridge, August 25, 2010) How did ancient cultures develop writing? What do they write about, and what does their writing method reveal about them?

On Thursday, September 16, the Peabody Museum launches Visible Language, a year-long series of lectures about writing systems. Scholars and researchers will illustrate how ancient cultures from China and Egypt to Mesoamerica and the Middle East developed writing systems and used them for trade, taxes, prophecies, and more.

The first lecture, "Visible Language: On the Origins and Development of Writing," will offer an overview by Peabody Museum Research Associate Dr. Marc Zender. He is an epigrapher, specializing in deciphering ancient Maya hieroglyphs.

Later talks will focus on cuneiform, (the earliest known writing system), Chinese or Han characters, the Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the Alphabet.

Visible Language Lecture Series (Fall)

September

16 Visible Language: On the Origins and Development of Writing
Marc Zender, Peabody Museum Research Associate

October

6 Diviners and Scribes: The Origins and Development of Writing in China
Adam Smith, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University

13 The Origins and Development of the Cuneiform Script
Benjamin John Studevent-Hickman, Lecturer on Assyriology, Near Eastern Languages
and Civilizations, Harvard University

November

18 Art as Writing: The Magic of Egyptian Hieroglyphs
Peter Der Manuelian, Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology, Lecturer on Assyriology, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Yenching Institute
2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge

December

2 The Alphabet: Its Origins and Early History
Peter Machinist, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages, Divinity School, Harvard University

All lectures begin at 5:30 pm, and are located at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge, unless otherwise indicated. All lectures are free.

About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: www.peabody.harvard.edu. The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Media Contact:

Faith Sutter
Communications Coordinator
Peabody Museum
Tel: 617-495-3397
sutter@fas.harvard.edu 

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Visible Language Lecture Series

All lectures begin at 5:30 pm, and are located at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge, unless otherwise indicated.

All lectures are free, with a public reception following each one at the Peabody Museum, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge.

 

 

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