On the uses of writing in ancient Arabia and the role of palaeography in studying them

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On the uses of writing in ancient Arabia and the role of palaeography in studying them

Type: Article / Letter to editor
Title: On the uses of writing in ancient Arabia and the role of palaeography in studying them
Author: Macdonald, Michael C.A.
Start Page: 1
End Page: 50
Pages: 50
Publisher: Leiden Center for the Study of Ancient Arabia (LeiCenSAA)
Issue Date: 2015
Keywords: Literacy
Writing
Palaeography
Semitic epigraphy
Inscriptions
Graffiti
Chronology
Arabia
Abstract: Literacy was widespread in large areas of ancient Arabia, as shown by the huge numbers of graffiti by both settled people and nomads. But, it is still extremely difficult to establish a reliable chronology for the literate periods of pre-Islamic Arabian history. This has led to a misuse of palaeography in an attempt to create chronological sequences based on letter forms from undated inscriptions and documents, on widely different kinds of surface, with different purposes, and often separated by large distances. This practice is not confined to Arabian inscriptions but is widespread in Semitic epigraphy. This article offers a new taxonomy for inscriptions and graffiti, examines the misuse of palaeography in Semitic epigraphy and suggests some more useful ways in which palaeography could be used in this field.
Series/Report no.: Arabian Epigraphic Notes;2015-1
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/32745
 

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