Challenges arise when looking at the history of societies that did not leave written records. In these instances, researchers must rely on material remains to try to understand the cultures and their beliefs. Without written (or deciphered) records, scholars are still able to develop a decent understanding of life in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific Islands, using archaeological remains and later evidence. Each of these areas shares some similarities and similarities to Eurasian literate societies, but they also vary greatly based on climate, ecology, and the availability of resources. Regardless of the number of written records, these societies all pave the way for those to come later, and as examined in the Counterpoint of this chapter, it is important not to allow the inequality of access to literacy to distort the picture of the past.

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