The Social and Cultural Contexts of Historic Writing Practices [Hardback]

Philip J. Boyes (Editor); Philippa M. Steele (Editor); Natalia Elvira Astoreca (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789254785 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Contexts of and Relations Between Early Writing Systems | Volume: 2 | Year of Publication: 2021 | Language: English 384p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w

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The Social and Cultural Contexts of Historic Writing Practices


Writing is not just a set of systems for transcribing language and communicating meaning, but an important element of human practice, deeply embedded in the cultures where it is present and fundamentally interconnected with all other aspects of human life. The Social and Cultural Contexts of Historic Writing Practices explores these relationships in a number of different cultural contexts and from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including archaeological, anthropological and linguistic. It offers new ways of approaching the study of writing and integrating it into wider debates and discussions about culture, history and archaeology.

Table of Contents

List of contributors
1. Introduction: writing practices in socio-cultural context
Philip J. Boyes, Philippa M. Steele and Natalia Elvira Astoreca  
2. Towards a social archaeology of writing practices
Philip J. Boyes
3. The lives of inscribed commemorative objects: the transformation of private personal memory in Mesopotamian temple contexts
Nancy Highcock  
4. A cognitive archaeology of writing: concepts, models, goals
Karenleigh A. Overmann  
5. The materiality of the Cretan Hieroglyphic script: textile production-related referents to hieroglyphic signs on seals and sealings from Middle Bronze Age Crete
Marie-Louise Nosch and Agata Ulanowska   
6. Visual dimensions of Maya hieroglyphic writing: meanings beyond the surface
Christian M. Prager  
7. Visibility of runic writing and its relation to Viking Age Society
Sophie Heier  
8. Words beyond writings: how to decrypt the secret writings of the masters of psalmody (Yunnan, China)?
Aurélie NévotContents
9. A script ‘good to drink’. The invention of writing systems among the Sora and other tribes of India
Cécile Guillaume-Pey
10. Why did people in medieval Java use so many different script variants?
A.J. West
11. Cultures of writing: rethinking the ‘spread’ and ‘development’ of writing systems in the Bronze Age Mediterranean
Theodore Nash
12. Script, image and culture in the Maya world: a southeastern perspective
Kathryn M. Hudson and John S. Henderson
13. Writing and elite status in the Bronze Age Aegean
Sarah Finlayson
14. Why με? Personhood and agency in the earliest Greek inscriptions (800–550 BCE)
James Whitley
15.  Names and authorship in the beginnings of Greek alphabetic writing
Natalia Elvira Astoreca
16. Marking identity through graphemes? A new look at the Sikel arrow-shaped alpha
Olga Tribulato and Valentina Mignosa

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