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Mud, Media & the Metropolis

Shannon Mattern
Associate Professor | School of Media
Studies | @shannonmattern

Tablet 5, Epic of Gilgamesh

Clay cuneiform tablet showing beer rations, 3000 BCE

Malta; Uruks Stone Temple

Gbekli Tepe Dig


Walls built by Herod the Great atop Masada

Writing On Stone Cliffs And Mud

Bricks: Landscape And Architectural

Behistun Inscription, Iran

Text of the east

panel from the
temple of the
cross (glyphs
p1-u17), Maya

Ancient Greek Boustrophedon Inscription,

Crete, 5th c. BCE

Latin Epigraphy
@ Dougga,


Writing Cities Into Being: The Scripts

of Urban Planning and

Mexican Indian Land Transfers, 1602 -

ima, Annimo, 1750. Biblioteca Nacional.

Spanish Crowns Relaciones Geogrphicas, 1590

Caracas, 1775

Nixtun-Ch'ich' in Petn, Guatemala, 600 300 BCE

Teotihuacan, 100 BCE ca


Oztoticpac Lands Map, Mexico, 1540


Pachacamac, Peru

Gauman Poma de Ayala, New Chronicle & Good Government, 1613

Spiral Text; Ibb, Yemen

Old/New City, Tunis

Peter Collins, The Origins of Graph Paper as an Influence

on Architectural Design JSAH (1962)


Urban Writing Cultures:

Circulating Texts

Gauman Poma de Ayala, New Chronicle & Good Government, 1613

Brick and Concrete

Antonio Sant-Elia

Eero Saarinen, TWA Terminal

Writing on Walls:
Industrial Materials and
Indigenous Inscriptions

Thank you.