Christina Skelton

Historical Linguist

Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows

Ph.D. Indo-European Studies, 2014
University of California, Los Angeles

B.A. Classics, with minors in Geology and Biology, 2008
University of Texas at Austin

Christina Skelton

Research Interests

  • Historical Linguistics
  • Indo-European Linguistics
  • Ancient Greek
  • Applications of Phylogenetic Systematics to Linguistics
  • Aegean Bronze Age
  • GIS

About

I am a historical linguist who mainly works on Ancient Greek, Linear B, contact between Greece and Anatolia, and computational approaches to historical linguistics, particularly phylogenetic systematics and GIS.

I did my Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles in Indo-European Studies, where I wrote my dissertation under Brent Vine on applications of phylogenetic systematics to understanding the development of the dialects of Ancient Greek. In addition to Ancient Greek, I studied the Anatolian languages, particularly Hittite, with Craig Melchert, worked with the late Peter Damerow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin on applications of phylogenetic systematics to Proto-Cuneiform, and worked with Marie-Louise Nosch at the Danish National Research Foundation's Center for Textile Research on ancient textiles and Linear B. I also spent time at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. My graduate studies were supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship, and a UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship.

I did my undergrad at UT-Austin, where I received a BA in Classics with minors in geology and biology with highest honors. There, I spent time working with Tom Palaima at the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory on Linear B and the Aegean Bronze Age, and David Hillis and Tandy Warnow on the biological and computer science sides of phylogenetics, respectively. My research project, “Methods of Using Phylogenetic Systematics to Reconstruct the History of the Linear B Script,” published in Archaeometry, won the $20,000 George H. Mitchell Award for Academic Excellence.

I am currently a third-year Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. When I'm not studying any of the above topics, I enjoy rock climbing, classical guitar, photography, gaming, and designing and sewing my own clothes.

CV

You can read my full CV here.

Papers

In Press “Greek-Anatolian Language Contact and the Settlement of Pamphylia,” Classical Antiquity.

In Press “Thoughts on the initial aspiration of HAKESANDRO,” in the proceedings of the conference “Panhellenes at Methone: Geometric and Protoarchaic Methone, Macedonia (ca 700 BCE),” Thessaloniki, Greece, June 8-10, 2012.

In Press With Richard Firth, “A study of the scribal hands of Knossos based on phylogenetic methods and find-place analysis,” Minos. Part I, “The phylogenetic analysis” Part II, “Early, middle, & late Knossian writing styles and the dating of the Knossos tablets” Part III, “Dating the Knossos tablets using phylogenetic methods”

In Press With Brent Vine, “L’interprétation, l’étymologie et la morphologie des mots mycéniens ko-u-ra et ko-u-re-ja,” in the proceedings of the colloquium “Nouveaux acquis sur la formation des noms en grec,” Rouen, France, October 17-18, 2013.

2015 “Borrowing, Character Weighting, and Preliminary Cluster Analysis in a Phylogenetic Analysis of the Ancient Greek Dialects,” Indo-European Linguistics.

2011 “A Look at Early Mycenaean Textile Administration in the Pylos Megaron Tablets,” Kadmos 50, 101-121.

2011 “Reconstructing the history of Linear B using phylogenetic systematics,” in E. Kyriakidis, ed., Proceedings of the International Colloquium “The Inner workings of Mycenaean Bureaucracy,” University of Kent, Canterbury, 19-21 September 2008, Pasiphae 5, 71-80.

2009 “Re-Examining the Pylos Megaron Tablets,” Kadmos 48, 107-123.

2008 “Methods of Using Phylogenetic Systematics to Reconstruct the History of the Linear B Script,” Archaeometry 50, 158-176.

2008 “The Value of Sign AB 53 ri for Paleographical Studies of Linear B and Linear A,” Kadmos 47, 67-72.

Phylogenetic Datasets

Please feel free to use these datasets in your own research. I only ask that you cite the datasets and the papers which first used them, let me know about any talks/papers that use them, and, most importantly, not make any changes to the dataset-- if you find any errors, please let me know and I will log the changes and update the version of the dataset given here.

Linear B dataset from Skelton 2008, “Methods of Using Phylogenetic Systematics to Reconstruct the History of the Linear B Script,” Archaeometry 50, 158-176.

Greek dialect dataset, dataset with taxa combined and additional notes thereto, and discussion of phylogenetic characters from Skelton 2015, “Borrowing, Character Weighting, and Preliminary Cluster Analysis in a Phylogenetic Analysis of the Ancient Greek Dialects,” Indo-European Linguistics.

Contact

Email:
cskelton (you know what goes here) fas.harvard.edu
Address:
Society of Fellows
Harvard University
78 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Phone: 617-495-2485 (main office)
Fax: 617-495-2645

Interested in Working With Me?

I can't formally advise students at this time, but I am interested in collaborations. Have a language family or writing system you think would benefit from phylogenetic analysis? Want to develop or test phylogenetic methods using my datasets? Get in touch!

I sometimes also hire undergraduate and graduate student research assistants. If you are interested in being my RA, please contact me.