Visible Language Series Lecture
The Preservation and Importance of Inscriptions: 21st-Century Challenges
Listen to the lecture. (mp3)
Scholars value inscriptions for their aesthetic, linguistic, and scientific information, and, for centuries, artists and archaeologists have recorded inscriptions in an effort to awaken the past for modern audiences.
On Thursday, April 28, 2011, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology presents "The Preservation and Importance of Inscriptions: 21st-Century Challenges” at Harvard’s Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge) at 5:30 PM, with a reception to follow at the Peabody Museum (11 Divinity Avenue).
The origins of this antiquarian tradition included toiling in the field to produce copies of monuments often quite foreign to the artist. Line drawings, photographs, and casts remain today as important museum objects, preserving what has been lost by the ravages of time and sad cases of looting.
Technology continues to play an essential role in the quest to ensure preservation of earlier forms of writing, as it did in the 19th and 20th centuries, requiring artists to adapt new methods rapidly into their repertoires. Today’s revolutionary three-dimensional technology allows ancient inscriptions to be studied in minute detail as never before, promising great benefits to archaeologists, epigraphers, and historians who study them. The amazing new visualization also brings inscribed monuments, their narratives, and their preservation plights to a much wider audience.
The speaker is Barbara Fash, Director of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions program (CMHI) at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. She is an artist and museum professional (M.A., Harvard University, Museums Studies 2007) who has worked at the Maya site of Copan, Honduras recording, studying and conserving the sculpture carvings, with a special focus on the Hieroglyphic Stairway, since 1977.