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The First Writing
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Details

  • 25 b/w illus. 3 maps
  • Page extent: 436 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.89 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 411.09
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: P211 .F62 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Writing--History

Library of Congress Record

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Hardback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521838610 | ISBN-10: 0521838614)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published December 2004

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$131.00 (P)

Although ancient writing offers our first glimpse of history, people and institutions, its origins remain mysterious. This book presents the most up-to-date analysis of the origins of ancient writing. Studying often neglected writing systems, such as those of Mesoamerica, leading scholars collectively discuss how these scripts came into existence and developed during their first centuries of use. Egypt, Mesopotamia, Elamite, Mesoamerica and the Maya, Shang and Runic are represented.

Contents

Part I. Orientation and Theory: 1. Overture of the first writing Stephen D. Houston; 2. The possibility and actuality of writing John S. Robertson; 3. Writing systems: a case study in cultural evolution Bruce G. Trigger; Part II. Case Studies of Primary and Secondary Script Formation: 4. Babylonian beginnings: the origin of the cuneiform writing system in comparative perspective Jerrold Cooper; 5. The state of decipherment of Proto-Elamite Robert Englund; 6. The earliest Egyptian writing: development, context, purpose John Baines; 7. Anyang writing and the origin of the Chinese writing system Robert Bagley; 8. Writing on shell and bone in Shang China Françoise Bottéro; 9. Reasons for runes Henrik Williams; 10. Writing in early Mesopotamia Stephen D. Houston; Part III. Epilogue: 11. Beyond writing Elizabeth Hill Boone; 12. Final thoughts on writing Stephen D. Houston.

Contributors

Stephen D. Houston, John S. Robertson, Bruce G. Trigger, Jerrold Cooper, Robert Englund, John Baines, Robert Bagley, Françoise Bottéro, Henrik Williams, Elizabeth Hill Boone

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