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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre


My doctoral thesis focused on the languages and scripts of ancient Cyprus, c.1600-300 BC, including their chronological and geographical distribution and issues of epigraphy, dialectology and language contact. I am now working on the history of the Greek language in the ancient eastern Mediterranean more broadly. My other research interests include the study of ancient scripts, onomastics, language contact and linguistic diversity, dialectology, island studies and the social context of script use.


Key publications: 

Steele, P.M. (forthcoming). A Linguistic History of Cyprus: The Non-Greek Languages, and their Relations with Greek, c.1600-300 BC. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Steele, P.M. (ed.) (2012 – in press). Syllabic Writing on Cyprus and its Context. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Steele, P.M. (2011). Eteocypriot: Linguistic and Archaeological Evidence, in Georgiou, A. (ed.), Cyprus: an island culture. Society and Social Relations from the Bronze Age to the Venetian Period, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, 122-32.

Steele, P.M. (2011). 'Gaps' in Literacy: Social responses to economic crisis in the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean, Archaeological Review from Cambridge 2011, 53-63.

Publications (from Symplectic)

Book chapters

2022 (Accepted for publication)

  • Steele, P., 2022 (Accepted for publication). Greece and Cyprus: Regional approaches to the development of writing systems, traditions and practices
  • 2021 (Published online)

  • Steele, P. and Parker, R., 2021 (Published online). Introduction: The Early Greek Alphabets: Origin, Diffusion, Uses
  • 2021 (No publication date)

  • Steele, P. and Boyes, P., 2021 (No publication date). A comparative approach to methods of inscribing clay tablets: interaction and innovation in Cyprus and Ugarit
  • 2019

  • Boyes, P. and Steele, P., 2019. Introduction: Issues in studying early alphabets
  • 2018 (No publication date)

  • Steele, PM., 2018 (No publication date). Script and literacy
  • 2017 (Published online)

  • Steele, PM. and Schoep, I., 2017 (Published online). The semantics of a-literate and proto-literate media N on-scribal Communication Media in the Bronze Age Aegean and Surrounding Areas
  • Steele, PM., 2017 (Published online). ‘Writing ‘systems’: Literacy and the transmission of writing in non-administrative contexts’
  • 2017 (Accepted for publication)

  • Steele, PM., 2017 (Accepted for publication). Writing «systems»: Literacy and the transmission of writing in nonadministrative contexts
  • 2017

  • Meissner, T. and Steele, PM., 2017. Linear A and Linear B: Structural and contextual concerns
  • Steele, PM. and Meißner, T., 2017. From Linear B to Linear A: The problem of the backward projection of sound values
  • Steele, PM., 2017. Other pre-alphabetic scripts of Crete and Cyprus
  • Steele, PM., 2017. Linear A and Linear B: Structural and contextual concerns
  • 2016

  • Steele, P., 2016. A linguistic approach to population movements to ancient Cyprus
  • 2012

  • Steele, PM., 2012. The Diversity of the Cypro-Minoan Corpus
  • 2011

  • Steele, PM., 2011. Eteocypriot: Linguistic and Archaeological Evidence
  • 2010

  • Steele, PM., 2010. Introduction: Syllabic writing on Cyprus and its context
  • Books


  • Steele, P. and Boyes, P., 2022. Writing Around the Ancient Mediterranean: Practices and Adaptations
  • 2021

  • 2021. The Social and Cultural Contexts of Historic Writing Practices
  • 2019

  • 2019. Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets
  • 2018

  • Steele, PM., 2018. Writing and Society in Ancient Cyprus
  • 2017

  • Steele, P., 2017. Understanding Relations Between Scripts The Aegean Writing Systems
  • 2013

  • Steele, PM., 2013. Syllabic Writing on Cyprus and its Context
  • Steele, PM., 2013. A Linguistic History of Ancient Cyprus: The Non-Greek Languages and their Relations with Greek, c.1600-300 BC
  • Journal articles


  • Steele, PM., 2020. Material entanglements of writing practices in the bronze age Aegean and Cyprus Sustainability (Switzerland), v. 12
  • 2016 (Published online)

  • Steele, PM., 2016 (Published online). The Mystery of Ancient Cypriot Clay Balls British Academy Review,
  • 2016 (Accepted for publication)

  • Steele, PM., 2016 (Accepted for publication). Aegean and Cypriot Script Reforms Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies,
  • 2014 (Accepted for publication)

  • Steele, PM., 2014 (Accepted for publication). The /d/, /t/, /l/ and /r/ series in Linear A and B, Cypro-Minoan and the Cypriot Syllabary Pasiphae, v. 6
  • 2014

  • Steele, PM., 2014. Distinguishing between Cypriot scripts: Steps towards establishing a methodology Kadmos, v. 53
  • 2009

  • Steele, PM., 2009. Methodology in Mycenaean Prosopography: The Use of Names as Evidence Kadmos: Zeitschrift fuer vor- und fruehgriechische Epigraphik, v. 48
  • 2008

  • Steele, PM., 2008. A Comparative Look at Mycenaean and Near Eastern Bureaucracies: 'Bilateral' Documentation in the Linear B Archives? Kadmos: Zeitschrift fuer vor- und fruehgriechische Epigraphik, v. 47
  • Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Classics
    Departments and institutes: 
    Dr Philippa  Steele