The Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory (PASP) was founded in 1986 by Thomas G. Palaima as a research center pertaining to the use of writing in Minoan Crete (Cretan Hieroglyphic and Linear A ca. 1850-1450 BCE), Mycenaean Greece and Mycenaeanized Crete (Linear B ca. 1450-1200 BCE) and the island of Cyprus (Cypro-Minoan in the Bronze Age and Cypriote Syllabic script in the historical period ca. 1500-1200 BCE and 750-225 BCE respectivley). PASP was supported by the Comité International pour les Études Myceniennes, the governing international body for work on these writing systems, their texts and their cultures.
A strength of PASP is that it is part of a graduate research program in the Department of Classics at University of Texas at Austin, the largest Classics program in the United States. PASP does not grant its own degrees, but provides graduate students in the UT program who are receiving broad training in all areas of Classical civilization with the opportunity to do specialized research at a high level in areas of Aegean and eastern Mediterranean prehistory and archaeology pertaining to inscribed or marked materials. It also facilitates work by visiting scholars, junior and senior, American and foreign.
(1) A full, but not complete, archives of 1:1 scale photographs of Linear B and Linear A (and Cretan Hieroglyphic) inscriptions (and some Cypro-Minoan and Cypriote Syllabic). The collection also includes color slides of selected Knossos and Pylos tablets and of the Khania stirrup jars.
(2) Offprint collections from distinguished Mycenaean scholars at the University of Wisconsin (E.L. Bennett, Jr.) and Cambridge University (Frank Stubbings), as well as other sources (e.g., T.B.L. Webster). These have been cataloged and cross-referenced via computer. They contain materials going back to the turn of the century and are a wonderful research tool. The collection has been kept fairly current 1985-present via contributions of offprints to PASP by scholars worldwide, especially connected with the analytical bibliographical journal Studies in Mycenaean Inscriptions and Dialect, which PASP revived in the early 1990’s.
(3) Microfilms of important excavations (Pylos, Knossos) and of the original work notes of Michael Ventris, the scholar credited with the decipherment of Linear B in June 1952.
(4) The letters from Michael Ventris to Emmett L. Bennett, Jr.; letters to Alice E. Kober (a senior contemporary of Ventris and arguably the leading scholar in this field until her death on September 16, 1950) from Sir John Myres, Michael Ventris, Emmett L. Bennett, Jr., and John Franklin Daniel, among others; the papers and indices of Alice Kober; the early papers and tablet photographs of E.L. Bennett, Jr.; annotated books from the library of Leonard Palmer. See Archives for more information.
All these scholars were in the forefront of work on and subsequent to the decipherment of Linear B. We also have xeroxed copies of the correspondence of Arne Furumark, and other primary or photocopied original research papers. Among special treasures that have been exhibited periodically are the letter of Michael Ventris of June 18, 1952 announcing to Emmett L. Bennett, Jr., his decipherment of Linear B and showing how it worked; the 186,000 hand-cut note cards of Alice E. Kober and a copy of her dissertation; the ms. Version of unpublished Scripta Minoa III; a copy of the famous Ventris Mid-Century report; a copy of the autopsy report on the death of Michael Ventris on September 7, 1956.
PASP wishes to acknowledge the great help of Sue Trombley in systematizing and preserving the Kober archival material.
(5) Some casts of Linear B and Cypro-Minoan texts.
(6) Primary reference works on Aegean prehistoric inscriptions and Cypriote archaeology.
In 1993, PASP, with the help of John Killen of Cambridge University, worked out an arrangement to revive Studies in Mycenaean Inscriptions and Dialect (SMID). With the help of regular yearly report from the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, on UT graduate students, PASP’s offprint collection, UT’s strong library, and similar facilities in Cambridge. Volumes of SMID for 1979, 1980-81, 1982-83 and 1994-95, 1996-97, 1998-99 have now been published. An on-line searchable version of SMID is now workable. SMID is now receiving help from young scholars in Europe.
PASP also cooperates in the production of the monograph series Aegaeum. And Tom Palaima has served as an editor of Minos for the last decade.
PASP organized and hosted the 11th International Mycenological Colloquium in May, 2000. The proceedings of the conference will appear. Earlier conferences at PASP looked at kingship and the organization of power, Aegean trade, and Aegean Seals, Sealings and Administration.
PASP also helped organized and lent materials to the exhibition Technologies of Writing at the UT Humanities Research Center, January 31-August 6, 2006.
For recent publications by students and scholars affiliated with PASP see: Publications.
PASP welcomes queries and visitors. See Visitor Reports under People for more information.
Longer-term research visitors to PASP over the years have included Vassilis Aravantinos, Pierre Carlier, Alison Fell, José Luis Garcia-Ramon, John T. Killen, José Melena, Ruth Palmer, Dimitra Rousioti, Carlos Varia Garcia, and others. Some assistance is available for travel to and staying at PASP.
PASP may be visited and used by non-Mycenological experts, and the training of graduate students and select undergraduates in this area is designed to fit into a broader appreciation of ancient cultures and the full array of modern humanistic and scientific studies.
Visit KoMIKALiA on the PASP web page for a good sense that the spirit infused into res Mycenaeas by one of its founding fathers, Emmett L. Bennett, Jr., has not passed totally from this world.
For further information write to:
Thomas G. Palaima, Director
Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory
2210 Speedway, Stop C3400
Austin, TX 78712-1738
Telephone: (512) 471-5742, Fax: (512) 471-4111