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po 16. 9.


Faculty of Arts

Sign, Speech, and Society in the Ancient Near East: 100 Years of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Prague.

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Sign, Speech, and Society in the Ancient Near East: 100 Years of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Prague.
Sign, Speech, and Society in the Ancient Near East: 100 Years of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Prague.

Time & Location

16. 9. 2019 9:30 – 19. 9. 2019 16:00

Faculty of Arts, nám. J. Palacha 2, Josefov, 116 38 Prague 1, Czech Republic

About the event

The Institute of Comparative Linguistics of Charles University is pleased to announce an international conference on the occasion of three anniversaries in the history of Ancient Near Eastern studies in Prague:

- the centennial of the establishment of the Institute of Cuneiform Studies, the forerunner of today’s Institute of Comparative Linguistics;

- the 140th birthday of Bedřich Hrozný, decipherer of Hittite, founder of the Institute of Cuneiform Studies, and former rector of Charles University; and

- the 70th birthday of the late Petr Vavroušek, longtime director of the Institute of Cuneiform Studies.

These three anniversaries are reflected in three main sessions of the conference, which will be organized around a general common theme:“Talking to One Another in the Ancient Near East.” We anticipate that most papers will touch upon several aspects of this phenomenon, but preference will be given to the following three topics:

1. Communication Patterns: Talking to Each Other

This session aims to discuss various aspects of communication patterns in the Ancient Near East (second half of the 4th to the 1st millennium BC), including day-to-day communication, diplomatic and administrative correspondence, technological transmission and other forms of information transfer. Papers dealing with the concept of “communication” from a metaphorical point of view, for instance the interdisciplinary communication implied in studies combining textual sources with archaeological evidence, are also welcome.

2. Ancient Near Eastern Languages: History and Contact

Special attention will be given to two closely intertwined topics: the evolution of Hittite, Luvian, and other Anatolian languages and the reconstruction of their earlier stages (including Proto-Indo-European); and the sociolinguistics of language contact in the Ancient Near East and neighboring areas. Papers exploring how the available linguistic evidence correlates with historical and sociocultural phenomena, such as the diffusion of cultural innovations (e.g. agriculture or metallurgy), trade, pre- and protohistoric migrations, (proto)state formation, early political expansions, etc., are particularly welcome.

3. Digitizing the Past: Digitization and Digital Humanities in Ancient Near Eastern Studies

This session will explore how the field of digital humanities has opened fresh new ways to explore and valorize the data provided by ancient sources (textual corpora, archaeological material, etc.) and to integrate then within a new constructive dialogue with our present and future. Papers discussing research projects in digitization of collections, digital paleography and epigraphy, digital and computational approaches, etc. are especially welcome.

The conference will run from the morning of Monday, 16 September until the afternoon of Thursday, 19 September 2019. All sessions will be held at the main building of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, in the heart of historic Prague. Papers will be 25 minutes, plus 5 minutes for questions. The languages of the conference are English, German, and French.

The conference fee will be 90 EUR (60 EUR for students).

The Organizing Committee invites proposals for papers and posters relating to any and all aspects of the above topics. Abstracts should be no longer than 1000 words in length and be submitted no later than 15 March 2019. We expect to send out notifications by the first week of April 2019, to allow all participants ample time for

travel plans. Please send abstracts and any questions to

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