An Online Companion to the Riddle of the Labyrinth

In The Riddle of the Labyrinth (Ecco Press), author Margalit Fox gives us an inside look at the life of Alice E. Kober through first-hand sources. This was in part possible through “the newly opened archive of her papers at the University of Texas” at the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory, where her letters, manuscripts, and notes are carefully stored. In the summer of 2012, Zachary Fischer, a graduate student in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, digitized Kober’s archived correspondence and made it available on the University of Texas Digital Repository.

With the publication of the book and the publicly-accessible documents, I have compiled a selection of letters as a companion to The Riddle of the Labyrinth so that readers and visitors can experience and see for themselves Kober’s words preserved in ink from over sixty years ago. The selections below are not comprehensive and visitors are encouraged to search the collection for themselves: the PDFs have had OCR applied and so one can search for typed phrases in the original documents.

The page numbers on the left refer to the page numbers in Fox’s book.
p.92: Kober’s 1947 letter to a colleague on Hrozny:

p.93: Kober’s 1942 letter where she says she cannot tear herself from Linear B:

p.107: Kober’s 1947 letter on 78 times 77 times 15 minutes to do all the signs:

p.111: A letter from 1944 from a former student thanking Kober:

p.131: The first letter from Sundwall to Kober:

p.142: Kober’s 1947 letter to Daniel describing her success in England:

p.157: Kober’s 1947 letter describing her discovery of QE as “and”:

p.158: Forbes writes to Kober and signs off on Lepidoptera:

p.170: Kober’s 1948 letter to Daniel with her ???? for Ventris:

We hope to be able to digitize more of Kober’s files as well as other documents from the Ventris and Bennett archives here in PASP over this summer.

Please feel free to leave a comment below!

Manolis Stavrakakis and the Treasures of PASP

Report of Manolis Stavrakakis July 2012 as  Short Term Scholar in the Classics Department, University of Texas – Austin  Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory (PASP)

‘The treasures of PASP’

The title I am giving to this short report, ‘The treasures of PASP’, has a literal and a metaphorical meaning.

Its literal meaning stems from the variety, importance and number of the materials of the PASP Collection and Archives.

Its metaphorical meaning refers to the person who has created it, Professor Tom Palaima, as he is himself one of the ‘treasures’ of PASP and the ‘soul’ of the Program.

There are two themes with which I will refer in my experience as a short-term visiting scholar at the University of Texas in Austin. One is my studying at PASP and the other is the life in Austin.

As a Ph.D. student at the Architectural Association, under Mark Cousins’ supervision – to whom I am indebted for his support to work on this topic, his contribution, as well as his encouragement to go to Austin – I started exploring the connection between Michael Ventris’ architectural education and his decipherment. I received the ‘Michael Ventris Extraordinary Award in Architecture’ in July, 2011 so that I could travel for one week to Austin and work at PASP on the correspondence of Michael Ventris and Emmett Bennett.

It was there that I had the chance to meet for the first time with Professor Tom Palaima and discuss my Thesis with him. Had it not been for Tom Palaima’s enthusiasm and generosity I would not have been able to return to the PASP for a whole month, in July 2012, and I would not have been able to continue with my research. Up to today Tom Palaima’s invitation to work with him has been the most generous gift that this Ph.D. has offered to me.

My studying in PASP can be described within three different themes. Continue reading