Codebreakers and groundbreakers

From 24th October to 4th February, the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Museum of Classical Archaeology are putting on a joint exhibition called Codebreakers and groundbreakersThe exhibition was inspired by the links between linguistics and codebreaking, and the links between Classical linguistics and Bletchley Park. As the Fitz puts it:

A pioneering and interdisciplinary exhibition, Codebreakers and Groundbreakers will bring together, for the first time, the remarkable intellectual achievements and parallel narratives of two groups of ‘codebreakers’ working at the same time, but independently: those involved in breaking the Second World War codes and those who deciphered the ancient script of Linear B – Europe’s earliest comprehensible writing system.

Part of the exhibition highlights the work of current linguistics projects in Cambridge, and our role as “codebreakers” who “crack” the secrets of ancient languages. Both CREWS and Greek in Italy have been featured, as well as the Greek Lexicon Project and the Mycenaean Epigraphy Group (founded by John Chadwick who, in a different life, worked as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park).

You can read a lovely and detailed review on my colleague Anna’s blog here. I’m also very pleased to have had my photos and drawings featured on the Greek in Italy section of the exhibit! Here’s our panel, based on one of our recent publications, which “decoded” an ancient multilingual curse tablet from Petelia.

Both exhibits are completely free, and well worth a visit if you’re in Cambridge any time soon.

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