Department of Classics

Brent Davis, University of Melbourne, Australia: "The Phaistos Disk: A New Way of Viewing the Language behind the Script"

Mon, January 14, 2019 | WAG 116

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Brent Davis, University of Melbourne, Australia:

This talk outlines a new linguistics-based method of investigating the languages behind the undeciphered members of the Bronze Age Aegean family of syllabic scripts. Using this new method to compare the script on the Phaistos Disk against Linear A reveals a statistically significant similarity in the behavior of the homomorphs in the two scripts, strongly suggesting that both scripts encode the same language.


Brent Davis is a Lecturer (US: Asst. Prof.) in archaeology at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He received his undergraduate degree in Linguistics from Stanford, and in 2011 completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne on Minoan ritual vessels and Linear A.

Brent's superb monograph Minoan Stone Vessels with Linear A Inscriptions. Aegaeum (Annales d'archéologie égéenne de l'Université de Liège et UT-PASP) 36 Leuven; Liège: Peeters, 2014. Pp. xxiv, 421. ISBN 9789042930971 was reviewed comprehensively by UT's own Aren Wilson-Wright and Tom Palaima in Bryn Mawr Classical Review: .

With a background in both archaeology and linguistics, his interests include not only the cultures of the ancient eastern Mediterranean, but their languages and scripts as well, particularly their undeciphered scripts. He has published numerous articles and chapters on ancient cultures and scripts, as well as on archaeological theory, and has undertaken more than a decade of archaeological fieldwork in Israel at Tell-es Safi/Gath, the site of a major Philistine city.

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