I like when ancient things reappear in modern contexts. At an airport, you can see dozens of people tapping away at their tablets. Simply a new manifestation, with a couple of clever techno-tricks, of a very old writing tool. Here Adam Nicolson describes a tablet found in a shipwreck. Incredible how it worked, how effective it was, and that it survived a couple of millennia under water.

‘A writing tablet made out of two boxwood leaves, with ivory hinges at one side, and hollowed-out panels on the inside of each leaf into which wax could be poured to make the writing surface. The bed of each panel is roughly cross-hatched to make a good, binding key for the wax. The closed tablet could be held shut with fixings on its outer edge, and this is probably how it was when the merchant ship went down: the outer surface of the tablet is far more worn than the inside. It would have had stylus and spatula for writing and revision.’

Source: Adam Nicolson, Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters, p. 103

Image source: by Pottery Fan: photo of Greek art created about 500 BC by Douris (own work)

[CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons


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