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Archaic Bookkeeping brings together the most currentscholarship on the earliest true writing system in humanhistory. Invented by the Babylonians at the end of thefourth millennium B.C., this script, called proto-cuneiform,survives in the form of clay tablets that have until nowposed formidable barriers to interpretation. Many tablets,excavated in...
Archaic Bookkeeping brings together the most currentscholarship on the earliest true writing system in humanhistory. Invented by the Babylonians at the end of thefourth millennium B.C., this script, called proto-cuneiform,survives in the form of clay tablets that have until nowposed formidable barriers to interpretation. Many tablets,excavated in fragments from ancient dump sites, lack a clearcontext. In addition, the purpose of the earliest tabletswas not to record language but to monitor the administrationof local economies by means of a numerical system.Using the latest philological research and new methodsof computer analysis, the authors have for the first timedeciphered much of the numerical information. Inreconstructing both the social context and the function ofthe notation, they consider how the development of ourearliest written records affected patterns of thought, theconcept of number, and the administration of householdeconomies. Complete with computer-generated graphics keyedto the discussion and reproductions of all documents referredto in the text, Archaic Bookkeeping will interestspecialists in Near Eastern civilizations, ancient history,the history of science and mathematics, and cognitivepsychology.
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