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What is indisputable is that human cultures have created modes of recording their histories and values in symbolic forms for millennia, and that the independent emergence of such systems in widely disparate geographical regions and chronological moments demonstrates the universality of such practices as a fundamental aspect of human cognition and social organization. Not all of these forms are written or inscribed, and performance, ritual, behaviors, and oral expressions are an equally substantive aspect of literacy and the continuity of the cultural record. Prehistory and proto-writing are not part of the history of the book in a direct sense.

They do not give rise directly to the codex form or the manuscript precursors of contemporary books. But they are the part of the crucial development of human systems of symbolic representation in image and language and without them the forms of books that evolved in Asia, the Near East, North Africa, and Europe, and spread to other parts of the world, would not exist. Science, , — Download PDF.

Figure 1. Dentu E P6 D7 Human sign-making takes many forms and is considered writing when it has a strong correlation to language.

History of writing

Figure 2. A85 17 th and 18 th century scholars were fascinated by Chinese characters and speculated on the metaphoric and figurative forms of their origins. Figure 3. He The association of Chinese characters and hieroglyphics has no grounding in historical or linguistic fact, but reflects a common feature of speculations on each of these writing systems as fundamentally pictorial.

Figure 4. K63t The Biblical account of the confusion of human tongues after the fall of the Tower of Babel was used to as an explanation for the multiplicity of human languages well into the Renaissance. Attempts to find a single, pre-Babel, original language and writing led to considerable speculation. In the table shown here, Athanasius Kircher attempted to show the correlation of various early versions of the alphabet. Figure 5. Bentley, TR Fs Nineteenth century archaeologists and travelers made detailed observations of inscriptions in the ancient Near East.

Searching for proof of biblical history, they often identified the translations with passages of old testament texts. Here a drawing of an inscription, a motif, and a set of translations reflects a scientific approach to systematic study, with each component clearly presented and connected. Figure 6. Figure 7. H86o Facsimile reproduction made an enormous improvement in the 19 th century with the use of chromolithography.

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This reproduction of a page of the Egyptian Book of the Dead is still vivid, and its brilliant color and careful drawing present a faithful copy. Figure 8.


A3 This authoritative study by a premier Egyptologist was accompanied by even richer illustrations than those of Humphreys. Figure 9. K63o Obleisci aegyptiaci The 17 th century Jesuit polymath mentioned above, Athanasius Kircher, was also an avid scholar of hieroglyphics and believed they communicated meaning directly to the eye through figurative imagery. This misconception prevailed until the decipherment of hieroglyphics in the early 19 th century. Figure Thor Heyerdahl and Edwin N. N83 v. The writing seems to have no known connection with other scripts and continues to resist translation.

Agostino Aglio, responsible for the drawings, must have labored long and hard on these exquisite reproductions. Facsimile reproduction made these rare codices available for scholarly study or appreciation. F35c This book makes a famous case for the pictographic immediacy of Chinese characters. A85 The discovery of cuneiform did not lead immediately to its decipherment, but careful study of the curious wedge-shaped signs is evident in the skillful copy made of an ancient tablet.

L56 Z5s The detailed study of quipu knotting shows the elaborate methods by which strings of various colors were used to keep records of historical events and other matters.

The History of Writing

The sophistication of the quipu was recognized by a handful of Europeans in the colonial period, but not by all. All images are from book in the Charles E. The History of the Book is a networked resource focused on the production and reception of materials related to the history of the book and literacy technologies, broadly conceived.

This ongoing project is being developed by Professor Johanna Drucker , working with staff and students based at UCLA to provide an online environment for research and learning.

Chapters Introduction Preliminary 1. Histories of the Book and Literacy Technologies Preliminary 2. Bibliographical Alterities 1. Prehistory 2.

Writing 3. Literacy in the Ancient World 4. The Middle Ages in the West and East 5. The Invention and Spread of Printing 6. Controversies and Controls 7. Rationalization of Print 8. Politics and the Public Sphere 9. Industrialization of Print While there remains no commonly accepted exact date of origin, most researchers agree that use of the symbols date back well before BC. Nsibidi is used for the Ekoid and Igboid languages , and the Aro people are known to write Nsibidi messages on the bodies of their messengers.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Prewriting. Age of the human race Recorded history.

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Earliest records Protohistory Proto-writing. Bronze age Iron age. Early antiquity Axial antiquity Late antiquity. Africa North America South America. Oceania East Asia South Asia. Southeast Asia West Asia. Africa Americas.

The Sumerians

Oceania East Asia. South Asia. Early modern Late modern. Modernity Futurology. Further information: Neolithic signs in China. Main article: Indus script. Pilcher 'Earliest handwriting found?

The birth of writing! - History of Writing Systems #2 (Pictographs in a cave)

Chinese relics hint at Neolithic rituals', Nature 30 April , doi This section lists alphabets used to transcribe phonetic or phonemic sound; not to be confused with spelling alphabets like the NATO phonetic alphabet. Alphabets may exist in forms other than visible symbols on a surface. Some of these are:. Published - December Submit your article! Read more articles - free! In neolithic, Vinca-Turdas culture developed toward writing slowly , step by step. On its own independently or influenced, by pressure of incoming migrating people waves.

Pity, despite the fact that the social life was well, quite-high developed, the stage of organisation was not so high, at the level of those sumerian, egyptian or proto-elamite ones. Vinca culture become highly developed, but even in later Cucuteni-Tyripilia culture writing not reached the proto-writing stage.

Not known or found exemples of writing from this later than Vinca cultures my recollecction, not even of proto-writing. Vincans missed another more years to reach proto writing and maybe later writing. Tartaria tablets shows evidence of proto-writing, as using proto-cuneiform signs symilar or the same as proto-cuneiform sumerian. So they are isolates. They are coming from somewhere outside area. There is a gap between Vinca-Turdas signs and organised Tartaria tablets signs. Or finaly none of above, coming by some kind of economic-cultural exchange from Aegean area.

Bringed by a? The round tablet shows evidence and signs of a syllabary, even alphabetic writing in upper half. Suspect connexion of Aegean writings to those of Near-East. Clues,hipothesys, arguments:. The inscribed clay tablets PL. It seems unlikely however that the tablets were drafted by a Sumerian hand or in the Sumerian language of early Mesopotamia.