The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process
Ancient writing gives us our first glimpse of history, people and institutions, and yet its origins remain mysterious. The First Writing offers the most up-to-date treatment and examination of the origins of ancient writing. It studies often neglected writing systems, such as those of Mesoamerica. The leading scholars in the field collectively discuss new topics, and highlight new subtleties about 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 all represented.
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administrative Akkadian alphabet ancient Anyang appear archaic attested Aztec Babylonia Baines Boltz bone Bottéro bronze inscriptions century characters China Chinese writing complex consonantaries consonants context cultural cuneiform Damerow day signs decipherment derived diagram Ding's display divination Dreyer dynasty earliest early Egypt elements Englund evidence example Féjerváry-Mayer FINALM3711N1 Scheil full writing function Gelb glyphs graph graphemes graphic hieroglyphs Houston iconic ideographic inscribed interpretation invention Justeson khipu Lady Hao's later linguistic logograms logographic logophonic Maya script Mayan meaning Mesoamerica Mesopotamia millennium BC morphemes names Naqada Nissen objects Olmec oracle texts origin period phonetic pictographic pictorial plastron proto-cuneiform proto-Elamite rebus record relationship repertory represent representation runes runic Scheil scribes semantic sequence sexagesimal sexagesimal system Shang spoken language spoken sign Stela structure suggests Sumerian Susa syllabary syllabic symbolic tablets tomb U-j trecena Uruk period vessels visual volume vowels words writing system written sign Wu Ding Yinxu