March 15, 2016 – Tom Palaima – Scribes, doodles, punning and cartooning in a Bronze Age bureaucracy
Room M 101 (Bark room), 66 Fifth Ave., lobby level
Tom Palaima, a MacArthur fellow (1985-90) for his work in Aegean prehistory and early Greek language and culture, is director of the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory and Robert M. Armstrong professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. He has lectured, written and taught extensively on the subjects of ancient writing systems, the reconstruction of ancient culture, decipherment theory, Greek language, war and violence studies, ancient religion, ethnicity, feasting ritual and kingship ideology, song as an important means of communicating social criticism, and the music of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Woody Guthrie. Tonight he will discuss the doodles and distractions of the human beings who wrote in the Linear B script on clay tablets in the late Greek Bronze Age (1400-1200 BCE) and the tradition of picture-writing out of which their writing system and their craft developed.