You're on this website so you obviously know how to read.  And some regard the digital revolution as a monumental one but there was one even greater; the invention of writing itself.

If you are in the Chicago area this weekend and keen to learn about how and where writing originated - in not just one place but at four distinct times and places - a panel of  scholars will explore how writing developed in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and Mesoamerica.  

The seminar is Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm at the Oriental Institute, Breasted Hall
1155 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL.   A reception will follow the symposium at 5 PM.

You can also discover why each of these societies invented writing, how their uses of writing differed, how their written symbols encoded language and thought, and how the presence of new ways to communicate changed life and culture in each society, a process that still continues throughout the world today. 

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibit “Visible Language: Inventions of Writing in the Ancient Middle East and Beyond,” speakers from the University of Chicago include:

- Janet H. Johnson, Professor of Egyptology
- Joseph Lam, Ph.D. candidate in Semitic Languages
- Edward Shaughnessy, Professor in Early Chinese Studies and Civilizations
- Christopher Woods, Associate Professor of Sumerology

Guest speaker: - Joel Palka, Associate Professor, Anthropology&Latin American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

Admission to the symposium is free but pre-registration is required. Contact Public Education at 773-702-9507 or email