Scribal and Artistic Spaces in Early Egypt and the Ancient Near east (Topoi COFUND-1)
Between 5200–5000 years ago the world’s first writing emerged in three main regions: Proto-Cuneiform in southern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), Proto-Elamite in Elam (southwest Iran), and Egyptian hieroglyphic in the lower Nile Valley. Past research on this material and contemporary artistic evidence commonly prioritises institutional-level explanations, and focusses on the economic, political and ideological requirements of an increasingly centralised administration. Philological interpretations are often retrospectively derived and chronological relationships discerned on palaeographical bases, to the neglect of archaeological context, including methods of physical expression and the implications of spatial contexts. Past studies also tend to neglect technological qualities of writing and other forms of image-making, including influences of materials, tools and technology.