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Session 1

Is Iconography a Springboard for Writing?

Tuesday 12 January 2021, 13:30 (GMT+1) - 17:00 (GMT+1)

In this first session, archaeology and anthropology will approach images as points of departure for inventions of scripts. Taking us back to engraved patterns from before the arrival of modern humans, Derek Hodgson will explore precursors to first writing and how this emerged from the perspective of both archaeology and neurology. Olivier Morin will address the question of why ideographic codes made up of stable images are limited in their scope in contrast to full writing systems, including Chinese. Gwenola Graff will examine early Egypt and the relationship between iconography, art and the hieroglyphs. Jennifer Ross will bring us back to the roots of the cuneiform script, namely seal images and sealing practices from Mesopotamia and surrounding areas, all the way to the Neolithic period.

13:30 - Welcome by the INSCRIBE Team

14:00 - The Deep Foundations of Writing Systems: Neuroarchaeology, Neurorecycling, and Pattern Perception
Derek Hodgson Independent scholar

14:40 - Solving the Puzzle of Ideography
Olivier Morin Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena

Discussion (10’)

15:30 - Egyptian Predynastic Iconography and Early Hieroglyphic Writing: What Kind of Relationship?
Gwenola Graff Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Marseille

16:10 - On the Periphery: Communicative Practices and Signs at the Dawn of Writing in Mesopotamia
Jennifer Ross Hood College, Frederick, Maryland

Discussion (10’)