The Invention of Writing
Sumerian Cuneiform

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Sumerian tablet
Very early Sumerian tablet c. 3100-2900 BC Jamdat Nasr, Uruk III style

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Writing was invented by the Sumerians around 3100 BC. It began as record keeping for trade and evolved into the use of symbols for writing down laws and stories. The form of writing is called cuneiform. Pictograms, or drawings representing actual things, were the basis for cuneiform writing. Early pictograms resembled the objects they represented, but through repeated use over time they began to look simpler, even abstract. These marks eventually became wedge-shaped ("cuneiform"), and could convey sounds or abstract concepts



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