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Writing as Technology and Cultural Ecology

Explorations of the Human Mind at the Dawn of History


Harald Haarmann

Contents: Elementary parameters in the study of ancient writing systems · Sign systems as constructs of the abstract mind – Conditions for the transition to literacy – deconstructing a Euro-American myth – Writing technology emerging in the absence of statehood (Danube civilization, the ancient Indus civilization, ancient China, Olmec civilization) – Writing technology and cultural ecology in societies of the state model (pre-dynastic Egypt, the early Sumerian city states, Teotihuacán in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica) – Ancient scripts and their principles of writing – The composition and systematic structuring of sign inventories – The dissemination and proliferation of ancient scripts.