Writing in the Ancient World: Free Teaching Materials from the CREWS Team at Cambridge

Writing in the Ancient World

By Dr Philippa Steele, Senior Research Fellow in Classics at the University of Cambridge and Principal Investigator of the ‘Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems’ project

The CREWS project at Cambridge University (Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems, based at the Faculty of Classics) is pleased to announce the release of a suite of free teaching materials focused on Writing in the Ancient World.

This resource is aimed primarily at use in the classroom at Key Stage 2 (age 7-11), but will be of interest to learners of all ages. It includes information sheets, cartoons, worksheets, maps, glossaries and more, and should give you all you need to introduce some exciting new topics. We also have a video and activity sheets showing you how to run a play session (with clay, plasticine, paint, felt tips, etc) based on different ancient writing systems.

A live online event (4pm GMT on Tuesday 17th November) will showcase Writing in the Ancient World. Visit the website to register.

Writing in the Ancient World - seated scribe

Seated scribe, Musée du Louvre

The teaching materials focus on the areas and periods that are at the centre of the CREWS project’s exciting new research on writing in the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE in the eastern Mediterranean area: Bronze Age Greece (Linear B), Iron Age Greece (Greek alphabet), Bronze Age Levant (Ugaritic cuneiform), Iron Age Levant (Phoenician alphabet) and ancient Egypt (Egyptian hieroglyphs). This brings the classical world into a much broader context by looking towards the Near East and North Africa, and emphasising the interconnections between these areas as writing spread along with other technologies and ideas.

Take the opportunity to explore the CREWS website for further inspiration, with in-depth posts on a whole range of different ancient writing-related topics (Greek, Roman and far beyond), and links to videos and worksheets about a range of writing systems.

There is an exciting opportunity for KS2 (or equivalent, e.g. Primary 4-7 in Scotland) teachers to take part in a pilot scheme testing the Writing in the Ancient World materials. Participants will be asked to teach learners using the materials at any time in the current academic year (up to summer 2021) and provide feedback on their experiences. The first ten people to sign up will be rewarded with a free Cambridge University tote bag – visit our Focus Group page to find out more!

Writing in the Ancient World