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Ashmolean Museum
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Beaumont Street Oxford Oxfordshire OX1 2PH

Book the ticket

Sat 9 Mar, 2–3pm; Booking is essential

At the Museum and Online

The in-person event will take place in the Headley Lecture Theatre and via Zoom online

With Andrew Robinson, author of ‘The Story of Writing’

Writing is generally agreed to be among the greatest inventions in human history, perhaps the greatest invention, since it made history possible – as well as today’s digital world. Andrew Robinson, author of The Story of Writing, will investigate when and how people first began to write down ideas.

Humans have always had the desire to make marks. But how did the earliest marks, seen in ‘rock art’ tens of thousands of years old, evolve much later into writing?

The origins of writing are puzzling. Was it invented once and transmitted around the world, or independently in places such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and even Easter Island? What inspired it: accountancy, statecraft, religion? Why are some ancient writing systems simple in appearance, such as the Greek alphabet, while others are bewilderingly complex, like the Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese characters? These questions will all be explored.