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The Writing’s on the Wall: Open Access Tutorials for Epigraphic Studies
Lisa Tweten, Kat Solberg, Chelsea Gardner

Last modified: 2015-05-07


Undergraduate courses in classical history and archaeology often fail to fully impart to students exactly how knowledge of the ancient world has been reconstructed, and few courses at that level deal with the evidence of inscriptions even though these are a major source of information. There are famous inscriptions like Draco’s homicide law, but there are also records about much more mundane facets of the ancient world; the Parthenon accounts list materials, sculptures, builders and their wages, for example. Details like this give a glimpse of the tiny details that historians, poets, and playwrights tend to leave out. While the study of inscriptions, or epigraphy,  is a highly specialized field, we believe that everyone should have access to the process by which our shared human history is constructed by scholars.

To facilitate this, graduate students in the Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies Department at the University of British Columbia have begun to create a series of open access teaching modules that make use of the epigraphic material owned by our department, which covers the period of early Athenian democracy. The materials provided will include short introductory videos for background as well as hands-on exercises that allow users to develop an appreciation for the historical importance of primary sources.Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate how ancient material can be studied, examined, and developed from stone to screen. For more information on our project, visit us at


open access; tutorials; teaching modules;

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