Writing Round-Up

Sorry it’s still been slim pickings on this blog lately. I am still working on something, but it’s slow going. I’m getting married next month and between the arrangements for that and my other extra-curricular writing, I’ve not had as much chance as I’d like to write things for Ancient Worlds.

Anyway, if you want to catch up on what I’ve been writing in other places, here’s some of my recent output:

From Final Fantasy 12 to Uncharted 3: exploring gaming’s Orientalist fantasies (Eurogamer)


In-depth with the objects in the CREWS Exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum:


A Babylonian Tablet

A Replica Ugaritic Tablet

A Phoenician Arrowhead

I hope I’ll be able to get a proper Ancient Worlds article up soon!


In Praise of Video Game Castles

I’m aware that recently this blog has slightly devolved into a set of links to things I’ve written elsewhere. Unfortunately things continue to be busy and writing that’s either my job or I get paid for has to take priority. I promise I am working on a couple of substantial posts specially for Ancient Worlds, though. They might take a while, but I hope they’ll be worth it.

In the meantime, I’m on Eurogamer again, thinking about Video Game castles and how they differ from their real-world counterparts.

I do love me some castles…



Imagining and Deciphering Writing Systems for Games

The lovely people at Eurogamer have let me get my archaeology and linguistics all over their website again. Here’s an article on invented writing-systems in video games and the window-dressing vs puzzle approaches:



Also, if you enjoyed this, a reminder that I did an in-depth thing on the writing-systems of Zelda right here on Ancient Worlds.

New (Old) Posts!

UntitledAround the end of my PhD I wrote several articles for the Cambridge Classics Faculty’s postgraduate blog, Res Gerendae. I’ve now imported these into Ancient Worlds so all my stuff is available in one place.

Please check out the archives from before 2016 to read about everything from sea-monsters and mummies to making bronze swords.

Please note, I’ll be working through these to fix tags and categories and make sure they fit the Ancient Worlds template, but for now some things may be a little messy. Please bear with me.

Cambridge Festival of Ideas: the Ancient Worlds Highlights

ideasfestThe Cambridge Festival of Ideas runs from 17th to the 30th October. It’s one of the University’s biggest outreach events and has a wide range of talks, workshops and events open to everybody. A lot of them are specifically design to be family- or child friendly. If you’re in or around Cambridge, I highly recommend checking it out.

The full events list is available on the website, but here are a few things that might be of particular interest to this blog’s readers:

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Making Ugaritic tablets 1

I’m about to start a research project into the context of the emergence and use of the Ugaritic writing system in the Late Bronze Age city of Ugarit, on the coast of what’s now Syria. This will be a very interdisciplinary undertaking, blending linguistics, epigraphy, ancient history and archaeology, and is something I’m very excited about. The Ugaritic language and script, though, is not one I currently know (though I do have some experience with Phoenician, which is a related language, but uses a different writing system). What this means is that I have the happy task of learning Ugaritic and its alphabetic cuneiform script (and a bit of Akkadian, just for a bonus).

It quickly became apparent as I practised writing out the cuneiform that it’s slow and cumbersome to have to keep drawing the little triangles on paper and that it would be much more efficient – and authentic – to use a stylus and clay. For my first attempt I used plasticine and a makeshift stylus made out of Lego.


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