Shiyanthi Thavapalan and David A. Warburton (eds.), The Value of Colour. Material and Economic Aspects in the Ancient World (Berlin Studies of the Ancient World, Volume 70). Pages: 341, ISBN: 978-3-9820670-1-8. Ebook available for download at: <>

In the Value of Colour, an interdisciplinary group of scholars
come together to examine economically relevant questions concerning
a narrow slice of social and cognitive history: namely, colours.
Traditionally, the study of colours has been approached from a
cultural or linguistic perspective. The essays collected in this
volume highlight the fact that in earliest human history, colours
appear in contexts of prestige (value) and commerce. Acquisition,
production, labour, circulation and consumption are among the issues
discussed by individual authors to show how colourful materials
acquired meaning in the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean
worlds. Spanning the Palaeolithic to the early Imperial Rome,
the contributions also demonstrate the many questions asked
and approaches used by historians in the growing field of
Colour Studies.

About the Authors

Shiyanthi Thavapalan is Visiting Assistant Professor of Assyriology
and Archaeology at Brown University (2019–2020). Her research is at
the crossroads of philology and the history of technology and the
senses. She has published several studies on the semantics of Akkadian
colour terminology, ancient chemical recipes and the history of
Mesopotamian craft techniques and technologies.

David A. Warburton is currently teaching the ancient Egyptian language
at the Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations in Northeast
China. Within Topoi he was responsible for the Key Topic Economy from
2013 to 2017. His research interests are in understanding the emergence
and development of economics, warfare, religion, cognition,
architecture, science, and methodological issues such as mastering
chronology, archaeological stratigraphy and language. The world of
ancient colours is an encounter of mind and matter.