The beginnings of writing on Crete: theory and context
Silvia Ferrara The Annual of the British School at Athens 110 (2015): 27-49
This article examines the inception of writing on Crete in the second millennium BC from a fresh methodological perspective. It aims to develop a synoptic understanding of the origin, purpose, experience, and significance of the earliest attestations of writing on the island, to investigate the context of its creation, and to explore the cultural triggers that underlie the application of writing in the context of Middle Minoan Crete. Three key points are considered: the problematic definition of early writing on Crete, the possible identification of the subject matter of the Cretan hieroglyphic inscriptions on sealstones, and the script’s level of indebtedness to pre-existing models. These paths of investigation are also crucial points of departure for understanding the phenomenon of early writing in more general terms, from a multidisciplinary perspective that seeks to advocate a synergic collaboration between anthropology, archaeology, epigraphy and sociolinguistics.