Origins of the Book

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The history of printed and manuscript books, but also proto-books—i.e., artifacts preceding the appearance of the codex book within the media landscapes—is well-researched. However, the period preceding the appearance of writing and its material carriers is rarely discussed in the context of academic discourse of the history of the book. This article introduces the prehistoric beginnings of book history; that is, before the appearance of writing and its carriers. Selected examples of the earliest forms of communicating information, knowledge, content, and data are presented. Examples come from the Upper Paleolithic. The purpose of this article is to justify the inclusion of these Paleolithic documents in the group of prehistoric forms of books and to place them in their earliest setting, i.e., as protoplasts of the contemporary book. For this purpose, the following methods were used: desk research, functional-bibliological, and comparative methods.