The First Writing

The First Writing : Script Invention as History and Process


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Ancient writing gives us our first glimpse of history, people and institutions, and yet its origins remain mysterious. This 2004 book offers a 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 subtlties about how these scripts came into existence and development during the first centuries of use. Egypt, Mesopotamia, Elamite, Mesoamerica and the Maya, Shang, and Runic are all represented.

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  • Hardback | 436 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 20mm | 557.92g
  • 13 Dec 2004
  • Cambridge
  • English
  • 25 b/w illus. 3 maps
  • 0521838614
  • 9780521838610

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Author Information

Stephen Houston is Professor of Anthropology at Brown University. A scholar of the ancient Maya in Mexico and Central America, he is the author of many books on the Maya, most recently The Memory of Bones: Body, Being and Experience among the Classic Maya.

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Review quote

'Most of the specialist scholars included here are eminent in their fields, and the whole beautifully produced volume will be of interest to all those studying early civilizations.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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