The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut nĂ©erlandais du Proche-Orient

17 Nov 19:00

Bookkeeping Without Writing (PIHANS 134)

Lucy Bennison-Chapman

Scheltema Leiden


Book launch “Bookkeeping Without Writing. Early administrative technologies in context”

Edited by Lucy E. Bennison-Chapman

Proceedings of the Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO) Postdoctoral Research Fellow First Annual Conference, 5th & 6th February 2021. PIHANS 134

Bookkeeping Without Writing: Early administrative technologies in context explores how non-literate systems of information storage were used in the late prehistoric and early historic periods in West Asia, before and alongside writing. Writing is seen as necessary for complex society to operate and succeed, yet is this really the case? Non-written forms of information storage and transmission are known in West Asia from the Late Neolithic (c. 6,000 BC) onwards. Crucially, they continue to be used, once writing is established and widespread.

This multidisciplinary book brings together papers from various specialists to explore how non-literate forms of information storage were used in West Asia from the Late Neolithic, and why they persisted into the first millennium BC. This is complimented by a range of comparative archaeological and historical examples of complex, non-written administrative systems from the ethnographic and historical record including ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe, Medieval West Africa and South America.

We are proud to present this latest volume in our PIHANS series – the first volume of proceedings from NINO’s annual Postdoc Fellow conference, held in 2021 – which will be available for purchase in December 2023.

The book launch is held as part of NINO’s 2023 Postdoc Fellow conference. Please join us!

Practical information


19.00 hrs | doors open
19.15 hrs | book presentation by Dr Lucy Bennison Chapman
19.30 hrs | drinks and light snacks
20.15 hrs | late night snack
21.00 hrs | end