She studies how processing an increasing volume of data over thousands of years brought people to think in greater abstraction. The five tokens in the top row represent some of the commonest shapes: The invention of numerals meant a considerable economy of signs since 33 jars of oil could be written with 7 rather then 33 markings.
The invention of numerals, which separated the notion of numerosity from that of the item counted, was a crucial fourth step in abstraction. The significance of the markings on the outside of the envelopes was identical to that of the tokens held inside.
Because Sumerian was mostly a monosyllabic language, the logograms had a syllabic value. As a result the letter Greek alphabet improved the transcription of the spoken word, since all sounds were indicated. Here is the evidence taken from Schmandt—Besserat 39;s work: Nevertheless, that is what happened.
When a name required several phonetic units, they were assembled in a rebus fashion.
For example, an owner nbsp; visual analysis. Perhaps it was during the Chalcolithic period that the agricultural surpluses of individual community members came to be pooled by means of taxes in kind, with the supervision of the surplus put into the hands of public officials such as temple attendants.
The earliest writing — Archimedes Project the cuneiform writing that developed later as a vehicle for the expression of Abstraction and Representation: Of these three writing systems, therefore, only the earliest, the Mesopotamian cuneiform script, invented in Sumer, present-day Iraq, c.
The more elaborate tokens in the next row have been marked with incisions or impressions. A Re-Evaluation of the So. Schmandt—Besserat, Before Writing, Austinid. The second part is more interesting as the theory is developed.
Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization. For example, a cone and a sphere stood respectively for a small and a large measure of grain, and ovoids represented jars of oil. Phonetic signs allowed writing to break away from accounting. For example, cones have been described as schematic female figurines, as phallic symbols, as gaming pieces and as nails, and spheres were mostly interpreted as marbles or as sling missiles.
Some of the tokens had additional features. Clustering of sites in the drainage of the upper and lower Tigris and the lower Euphrates and in the Zagros region of Iran is more a reflection of the availability of study collections than a measure of the actual extent and frequency of token use in the area.
The impressed tablets continued to be used exclusively to record quantities of goods received or disbursed. At the same time I found that some site reports failed to take note of the tokens that had been collected, or mentioned them only casually.
This earliest alphabet was a complete departure from the previous syllabaries. There is no doubt in my mind that such bullae were invented to provide the parties to a transaction with the kind of smooth clay surface that according to Sumerian custom could be marked by the personal seals of the individuals concerned as a validation of the event.
The alphabet followed the Roman armies. Technology and Society — Communication Studies presents you with one side of this first question in the Denise Schmandt—Besserat contends that, prior to the emergence of writing, nbsp; Clay Tokens and the Origin of Writing — SlideShare Before writing is only accounting.
A new type of token, the biconoid, appears, and among some of the subtypes painted black lines and dots have taken the place of incisions and punch marks.
Often the ball showed on the outside the signed description of what it held inside. On flat tokens such as disks, triangles and rectangles the incisions appear only on one face.
The perforated tokens run the gamut of types and include subtypes of the unmarked, incised and punched variety. However, the eminent French archaeologist shows us, as a surprising result of her excavations, a picture pushing back the origin of rudimentary writing as far as the years B.
The printing press invented in dramatically multiplied the dissemination of texts, introducing a new regularity in lettering and layout.Before Writing gives a new perspective on the evolution of communication. It points out that when writing began in Mesopotamia it was not, as previously thought, a sudden and spontaneous invention.
Instead, it was the outgrowth of many thousands of years' worth of experience at manipulating symbols. In her essay on the token system, Record Keeping Before Writing, Denise Schmandt–Besserat says, nbsp; The Sumerian Account of the Invention of Writing – ResearchGate A New Interpretation. Schmandt – Besserat D.
Schmandt – Besserat, Before Writing, University of Texas Press, Austin Professor Emerita Denise Schmandt-Besserat with a falcon in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia, In When Writing Met Art (), Denise Schmandt-Besserat investigated the impact of literacy on visual art.
She showed that, before writing, art in the ancient Near East mostly consisted of repetitive motifs. Foreword The Earliest Precursor of Writing See also Links. Foreword. Denise Schmandt-Besserat, a bold French archaeologist, was awarded a generous scholarship by a famous and well-endowed American university on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
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 writing-derived from an archaic counting device. Denise Schmandt-Besserat («The Earliest Precursor of Writing») is assistant professor of art at the University of Texas at Austin and assistant director of the university's Center for Middle Eastem Studies.
Bom in France, she studied at the École du Louvre in Paris and came to the U.S. in to do research on the Near Eastem archaeological collections at Harvard University's Peabody Museum.Download