Skip to content

How Writing Came About

Spend $50 to get a free DVD!

ISBN-10: 0292777043

ISBN-13: 9780292777040

Edition: 1996 (Abridged)

Authors: Denise Schmandt-Besserat

List price: $29.95
Blue ribbon 30 day, 100% satisfaction guarantee!
Buy eBooks
what's this?
Rush Rewards U
Members Receive:
Carrot Coin icon
XP icon
You have reached 400 XP and carrot coins. That is the daily max!

Description:

"Discoveries in the history of writing are rare, but Denise Schmandt-Besserat made one in realizing that phonetic writing in the West descends not from pictography, a view repeated everywhere, but from abstract, nonphonetic, mostly noniconographic accounting tokens used in Neolithic farming communities of the Near East beginning from about 8000 B.C. A condensation of volume I of Before Writing ...this book is a perfect production, utterly lucid, thoughtfully illustrated, and thoroughly convincing." American Journal of Archaeology In 1992, the University of Texas Press published Before Writing, Volume I: From Counting to Cuneiform and Before Writing, Volume II: A Catalog of Near Eastern Tokens. In these two volumes, Denise Schmandt-Besserat set forth her groundbreaking theory that the cuneiform script invented in the Near East in the late fourth millennium B.C.the world's oldest known system of writingderived from an archaic counting device. How Writing Came About draws material from both volumes to present Schmandt-Besserat's theory for a wide public and classroom audience. Based on the analysis and interpretation of a selection of 8,000 tokens or counters from 116 sites in Iran, Iraq, the Levant, and Turkey, it documents the immediate precursor of the cuneiform script.
Customers also bought

Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 1996
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 1/1/1997
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 207
Size: 7.25" wide x 10.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

DENISE SCHMANDT-BESSERAT is Professor Emerita of Art and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work on the origins of writing has been covered by Scientific American, Time, Life, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. She has also appeared on television programs such as Out of the Past (Discovery Channel), Discover (Disney Channel), The Nature of Things (CBC), Search for Solutions (PBS), and Tell the Truth (NBC).

Preface
Introduction: Tokens, a New Theory
The Myths
The Pictographic Theory
Tokens
The Evidence
What Are Tokens?
Types and Subtypes
Evolution from Plain to Complex Materials
Manufacture
The Token Collection under Study
Where Tokens Were Handled and Who Used Them
Types of Settlements
Distribution within Settlements
Structures
Token Clusters
Containers Holding Tokens
Associated Assemblages
Tokens as Funerary Offerings
Strings of Tokens and Envelopes
Strings of Tokens
Envelopes
Impressed Tablets
Number
Context
Chronology
Description
The Signs
Beyond the Impressed Tablets: Pictography
The Meaning of Signs and Their Corresponding Tokens
The Place of Impressed Tablets in the Evolution of Writing
The Interpretation
The Evolution of Symbols in Prehistory
Symbols and Signs
Lower and Middle Paleolithic Symbols
Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Symbols
Neolithic Symbols
A Turning Point in Communication and Data Storage
Tokens: The Socioeconomic Implications- Reckoning Technology and Economy
Reckoning Technology and Social Organization
Counting and the Emergence of Writing
The Various Modes of Counting
The Sumerian Philological Evidence
The Near Eastern Archaeological Data
Conclusions: Tokens, Their Role in Prehistory and Their Contribution to Archaeology
Economy
Political Structure
Mathematics
Communication
The Artifacts
Cones
Spheres
Disks
Cylinders
Tetrahedrons
Ovoids
Quadrangles
Triangles
Biconoids
Paraboloids
Bent Coils
Ovals/Rhomboids
Vessels
Tools
Animals
Miscellaneous
Notes
Glossary
Index