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Session 3

More Recent Inventions

Thursday 14 January 2021, 14:00 (GMT+1) - 17:30 (GMT+1)

In the third session, the role of iconicity is seen in connection with inventions of writing in the new era. Piers Kelly will kick off the session with the Vai and Bamum from West Africa and the Caroline Islands script, three writing systems invented in the late 19th and early 20th century. Davide Domenici will present on the undeciphered script from the Classic Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan and argue that it was perceived as ‘emblematic’ by Maya scribes. Scholars find that the Teotihuacan script has some principles in common with the later script of the Aztecs, or Nahua, whose close interface with icons will be the subject of Gordon Whittaker’s talk. The session closes with a double-bill on the Rongorongo script of Easter Island: Konstantin Pozdniakov will propose a revised repertoire of signs and their iconographic nature, and Miguel Valério will discuss possible mechanisms through which Rongorongo may have registered Rapanui, the local Polynesian language.

14:00 - The Dynamics of Iconicity in Emergent Scripts
Piers Kelly University of New England

14:40 - Texts as Images: Observations on Teotihuacan ‘Emblematic Writing’ and its Reception in the Maya Area
Davide Domenici University of Bologna

15:20 - The Controversial Relationship between Aztec Iconography and Writing
Gordon Whittaker University of Göttingen

Discussion (10’)

16:10 - The Rongorongo Script
Konstantin Pozdniakov Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris

16:50 - Evidence for Language Notation in the Rongorongo Script
Miguel Valério University of Bologna

Discussion (10’)