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The Archaeology of Verbal and Nonverbal Meaning:: Mesopotamian domestic architecture and its textual dimensionPaolo Brusasco 2007 © BAR Publishing
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A major argument of this book is that nonverbal meaning plays a fundamental role in the functioning of human societies, thus rejecting the predominance of textual meaning and ethnocentric/Eurocentric models currently employed in the interpretation of past behaviour and architecture. By using the unique evidence from Mesopotamian domestic space where both house layouts and family archives were recovered, as well as ethnographies from modern Near Eastern societies, Paolo Brusasco investigates how verbal and nonverbal meaning interrelate in the archaeological past. In line with Peirce, Wittgenstein and Derrida, as well as recent research in corporeal semantics and social psychology, the book claims that nonverbal, spatial signs have a profound bearing on ancient textual meanings. Moreover, through the evidence of house clay models, house projects, actual houses and archives, the author shows how different semiotic systems may produce alternative perspectives of the world, while the linguistic elaborative power of processing nonverbal signs is also explored. This book contributes to understanding how we should critically use social techniques and ethnographic analogy to interpret the archaeological past, and it will be a vital resource for all those interested in the interaction between language and the material world.
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