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No. 1: September 1977

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First writing may have been three-dimensional

Archeologists have long been puzzled by large numbers of small, fired-clay objects found in the Middle East. Denise Schmandt-Besserat, University of Texas at Austin, believes that these small geometrical shapes (cones, spheres, disks, etc.) were actually symbols used in commerce to indicate numbers and types of commodities (sheep, oil, etc.). Generally less than an inch in size, the clay objects were apparently sealed in hollow clay spheres to make bills of lading as early as 8,500 B.C. This is 5,000 years before two-dimensional clay tablets were introduced for writing.

(Anonymous; "From Reckoning to Writing," Scientific American, p. 58, August 1977.)

Comment. These clay symbols might be related to the painted pebbles and small carved stone balls found in Europe.

Three dimensional writing made of clay

From Science Frontiers #1, September 1977. 1977-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987