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Centre for Language and Writing Systems

The Centre for Language and Writing Systems (CLAWS) was founded in 2022 as an interdisciplinary centre to foster research on Indo-European linguistics, languages and culture, alongside prehistoric and historical non-alphabetic scripts ranging from the Indian peninsula to the Near East as well as Western Europe. The centre’s vision extends beyond traditional conceptions of language study by looking at languages and scripts side by side. Our research interests include: Sanskrit and related Indian scripts, Linear B (early Greek), proto-Italic languages, Greek and Latin, Syriac and other early Semitic languages, and non-IE ancient languages such as Etruscan. We embrace a range of historical, philological and linguistic approaches to the study of early IE languages and cultures.

Syriac manuscript

Our activities

So far, we have provided support to several conferences and seminars in Durham. We also host a series of language workshops in the Easter term, led by one of our members, to provide an opportunity to learn more about a lesser known language or writing system in a casual environment.

We are also able to provide funding for our members to attend language training in ancient languages and epigraphy, particularly where this would support their research or take their work in a new direction.

We are in the process of developing an MA programme which will aim to offer postgraduate students the opportunity to learn a range of ancient languages as well as to develop competence in historical linguistics.

Close up of the Res Gestae of Augustus

Our people

Get in Touch

Enquiries about CLAWS should be sent to Dr Nathan Gilbert and Dr George Gazis.

Contact Us

Centre for Language and Writing Systems

c/o Classics and Ancient History

38 North Bailey