Carvings in Stone: Ancient Storytelling

When we search for what started the original library of all collective stories today, we look back to the past, from the creation of superhero comics in the 1900s to the first Grimm fairy tales from the early 1800s. Cultures form all around the world started making and circulating stories long before that with Norse, Christian, and even the Alaska Native cultures that are featured in the UAF museum to this day. I propose to show the true depth and history of storytelling, both collective and in general, through the examination of some of the oldest stories we can look back to, such as Gilgamesh, Egyptian mythos, and Greek literature.


The remaining tablet of a translated Gilgamesh tale from ancient times.

By examining how these texts, said to be some of the earliest in recorded history, we as modern readers and writers can understand why storytelling was and still is so important to society and culture. This can also be used to show the interest in retelling collective stories, how society has changed over time, and how readers themselves have evolved in their tastes and needs. As a writer myself, I find it important to understand my predecessors, no matter how far back in the history books they are, as the stories that captivated entire civilizations in the past had to have something great about them, right?

Those who enjoy history as well as literature will take interest in the subject of ancient storytelling, and that it will generate thought about what exactly life was like for the Alaska Natives, their customary mythos and tales from years past, and even the ones they still hold today in their communities. This will also help explain the importance of the petroglyphs and hieroglyphs in the museum today, with the Seal Stone and the many interesting drawings and designs that decorate it, hopefully giving some sort of inferred meaning and interest to their shape and a new respect for their culture and where it came from.


2 thoughts on “Carvings in Stone: Ancient Storytelling

  1. This is very well-written and interesting. I think that for our purposes, you might need to focus in a little bit more. Gilgamesh, Egyptian and Greek stories are all very fascinating and whole books have been written about each of them. Given the time and space we have for this project, it will be easiest to pick one of these as an early example and hone in on the ways that it is representative of the human impulse to tell stories. Let’s talk more about this. I am looking forward to the possibilities!


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