Authors Name: 
Melanie Hechenberger
Monash University
Classical Studies & Archaeology
Award winner

The Origin Of Writing In Egypt: Administrative Or Ceremonial?

The Origin Of Writing In Ancient Egypt Has Been A Source Of Debate Among Scholars Centred Around Two Themes: Administration And Ceremony. The Question At The Heart Of This Debate Is Which Theme Is The More Likely Stimulus For The Creation Of Writing. The Source Material For This Is The Artefacts Found Within Tomb U-J At Abydos. These Artefacts Are The Earliest Known Examples Of Writing In Egypt; However, They Are Problematic As A Source For Several Reasons, Including The Likelihood That They Are Not The First Instance Of Writing In Egypt, Hence The Script Appears In A More Complex Form, And Our Inability To Translate Them. In This Paper, I Examine Both Branches Of Debate With The Design Of Assembling The Arguments In One Place Of Reference As Well As Determining Which Theory Is The Most Plausible Explanation For The Origin Of Writing Through A Comparative Analysis Of The Arguments With Reference To The Burial Context In Which The Source Material Is Found. This Study Synthesises The Difficulties Inherent In Attempting To Define The Origin Of Writing As Either Administrative Or Ceremonial That Arises From The Source Material Presently At Hand. It Also Clarifies What Can Be Ascertained From That Material.