History of writing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The history of writing traces the development of expressing language by letters or other marks[1] and also the
study and description of these developments.

In the history of how systems of representation of language through graphic means have evolved in different
human civilizations, more complete writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, systems of ideographic or
early mnemonic symbols. True writing, in which the content of a linguistic utterance is encoded so that another
reader can reconstruct, with a fair degree of accuracy, the exact utterance written down[A 1] is a later
development. It is distinguished from proto-writing which typically avoids encoding grammatical words and
affixes, making it more difficult or impossible to reconstruct the exact meaning intended by the writer unless a
great deal of context is already known in advance. One of the earliest forms of written expression is
cuneiform.[2]

Contents
1 Inventions of writing
2 Writing systems
3 Recorded history
4 Developmental stages
4.1 Literature and writing
5 Locations and timeframes
5.1 Proto-writing
5.2 Bronze Age writing
5.2.1 Cuneiform script
5.2.2 Egyptian hieroglyphs
5.2.3 Elamite script
5.2.4 Indus script
5.2.5 Early Semitic alphabets
5.2.6 Anatolian hieroglyphs
5.2.7 Chinese writing
5.2.8 Cretan and Greek scripts
5.2.9 Mesoamerica
5.3 Iron Age writing
5.4 Writing in the Greco-Roman civilizations
5.5 Writing during the Middle Ages
5.6 Renaissance and the modern era
6 Writing materials
7 See also
8 Notes
9 Citations
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links

Inventions of writing
Writing numbers for the purpose of record keeping began long before the writing of language. See History of
writing ancient numbers for how the writing of numbers began.

object. That is. Ancient Chinese characters are considered by many to be an independent invention. the script is still undeciphered and there is debate over whether the script is true writing at all. Independent writing systems also arose in Egypt around 3100 BC and in China around 1200 BC. and the Pahawh Hmong system for writing the Hmong language. Several Mesoamerican scripts are known. An additional possibility is the undeciphered Rongorongo script of Easter Island. and mathematics often do not require prior knowledge of a spoken language. One explanation is that the script was inspired by Spain's written annexation proclamation in 1770.[5] and because of the distinct differences between the Mesopotamian and Chinese approaches to logography and phonetic representation. However the development of writing systems.[9] Various other known cases of cultural diffusion of writing exist.It is generally agreed that true writing of language (not only numbers) was independently conceived and developed in at least two ancient civilizations and possibly more. or quantity. which "challenge the known writing. or instead some kind of proto-writing or non-linguistic sign system. Every human community possesses language. Mesopotamia. where the general concept of writing was transmitted from one culture to another but the specifics of the system were independently developed. first evolved into more complex phonetic symbols in Mesopotamia."[8] Similar debate surrounds the Indus script of the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilization in Ancient India (2600 BC). In addition. Writing systems Symbolic communication systems are distinguished from writing systems in that one must usually understand something of the associated spoken language to comprehend the text. symbolic systems such as information signs.[7] In 1999. and if it is. invented by Sequoyah.Ashmolean commonly held belief that early logographs. Recent examples are the Cherokee syllabary. may be the earliest earliest Egyptian glyphs date back to 3400 BC. The oldest example is from 1851. pictographic symbols Museum representing a specific place.[6] Egyptian script is dissimilar from Mesopotamian cuneiform. an ancient civilization of southern though not necessarily the specifics of how such a system worked. and their partial . The two places where it is most certain that the concept of writing was both conceived and developed independently are in ancient Sumer (in Mesopotamia) around 3100 BC. 3500 BC.[3] as no precursors have been found to either of these in their respective regions. it is possible that the concept of representing language using writing. maps. 139 years after their first contact with Europeans. Sumer. is believed to be the place was passed on by traders or merchants traveling between the two where written language was first invented around 3100 BC regions. It is debated whether this is true writing.[4] but historians debate whether these writing systems were developed completely independently of Sumerian writing or whether either or both were inspired by Sumerian writing via a process of cultural diffusion. painting. a feature regarded by many as an innate and defining condition of mankind (see Origin of language). but similarities in concepts and in earliest attestation suggest that the idea of writing may have come to Egypt from Limestone Kish tablet from Sumer with Mesopotamia. the oldest being from the Olmec or Zapotec of Mexico. whether it is another case of cultural diffusion of writing. and Mesoamerica by 300 BC. because there is no evidence of contact between ancient China and the literate civilizations of the Near East. Archaeology Magazine reported that the pictographic writing. In contrast.

(C) communications. (G) historical. (F) customs.[10] but have disagreed concerning when prehistory becomes history and when proto-writing became "true writing". have been sporadic. and (H) biographical. something that could not be achieved as well previously by spoken word. Alphabetic: grapheme represents an elementary sound. possibly first for cultic purposes. but a gradual process initiated by the appearance of symbols. In connection with this the following substages may be distinguished: Mnemonic: glyphs primarily a reminder. titles. Transitional system: graphemes refer not only to the object or idea which it represents but to its name as well. carved on tortoise shells in Jiahu. (E) religious. writing systems on the whole change more slowly than their spoken counterparts. which may in turn be composed of glyphs. both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400–3100 BC with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BC. Ideographic: graphemes are abstract symbols which directly represent an idea or concept. (D) totems. c. The best known picture writing system of ideographic or early mnemonic symbols are: Jiahu symbols. Writing allows societies to transmit information and share knowledge. The definition is largely subjective. is a method of recording information and is composed of graphemes. This resolves itself into the following substages: Verbal: grapheme (logogram) represents a whole word. and the form of the grapheme is not related to its meanings. The greatest benefit of writing is that it provides the tool by which society can record information consistently and in greater detail. 5300 BC[13] Early Indus script. and names. Recorded history Scholars make a reasonable distinction between prehistory and history of early writing. Developmental stages A conventional "proto-writing to true writing" system follows a general series of developmental stages: Picture writing system: glyphs (simplified pictures) directly represent objects and concepts. 6600 BC Vinča signs (Tărtăria tablets).supplantation of traditional oral systems of communication. uneven and slow.[10] The invention of writing was not a one-time event. 3100 BC In the Old World. The Sumerian archaic (pre-cuneiform) writing and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the earliest true writing systems. c. in its most general terms. Phonetic system: graphemes refer to sounds or spoken symbols. Syllabic: grapheme represents a syllable.[12] The emergence of writing in a given area is usually followed by several centuries of fragmentary inscriptions. Once established. (B) notices. Literature and writing . Historians mark the "historicity" of a culture by the presence of coherent texts in the culture's writing system(s). Pictographic: glyphs directly represent an object or a concept such as (A) chronological. and often preserve features and expressions that no longer exist in the spoken language. true writing systems developed from neolithic writing in the Early Bronze Age (4th millennium BC).[11] Writing. c.

Bronze Age writing . but "literature" can have several meanings. In 2003. These systems emerged in the early Neolithic period. evoking the impression of a text. tortoise shells were found in 24 Neolithic graves excavated at Jiahu. respectively. Another example is the pictographs invented by Uyaquk before the development of the Yugtun syllabary (c. sometimes called "talking knots". they were a development based on earlier traditions of symbol systems that cannot be classified as proper writing. Further. The earliest literary authors known by name are Ptahhotep (who wrote in Egyptian) and Enheduanna (who wrote in Sumerian). Even after the Neolithic. may have been of a similar nature. though obviously connected.[16] The Vinča signs show an evolution of simple symbols beginning in the 7th millennium BC. Sumerian proto-Cuneiform and Cretan) seamlessly emerge from such symbol systems. According to some archaeologists. The term could be applied broadly to mean any symbolic record. as much as 600 years passed from the first inscriptions to the first coherent textual sources: i. The "Slavic Example of the Jiahu symbols. Locations and timeframes Proto-writing The first writing systems of the Early Bronze Age were not a sudden invention. 1900). mentioned by a few medieval like markings found ontortoise shells. authors. The very first writings from ancient Sumer by any reasonable definition do not constitute literature. the symbols carved on the shells had similarities to the late 2nd millennium BC oracle bone script.[15] Others have dismissed this claim as insufficiently substantiated. claiming that simple geometric designs such as those found on the Jiahu shells cannot be linked to early writing. from around 3100 to 2600 BC. but probably directly contained no natural language. very little is known about the symbols' meanings. to the late 3rd millennium BC.e. northern China. The hieroglyphic scripts of the Ancient Near East (Egyptian. Henan province. so that it is difficult to say at what exact time writing developed from proto-writing. several cultures went through an intermediate stage of proto-writing before they used proper writing. but have many of the characteristics of writing.Literature and writing. Scholars have disagreed concerning when written record-keeping became more like literature than anything else. The history of literature begins with the history of writing. writing- runes" from the 7th and 8th centuries AD.[14] century AD). The same is true of some of the early Egyptian hieroglyphics and the thousands of ancient Chinese government records. In the early literate societies. These systems may be described as "proto-writing". The quipu of the Incas (15th dated around 6000 BC. They used ideographic or early mnemonic symbols to convey information. from images and sculptures to letters. gradually increasing in complexity throughout the 6th millennium and culminating in the Tărtăria tablets of c. The Dispilio Tablet of the late 6th millennium is similar. Rather. The oldest surviving literary texts date from a full millennium after the invention of writing. are not synonymous. may have been such a system. dating to around the 24th and 23rd centuries BC. 5300 BC[13] with their rows of symbols carefully aligned. as early as the 7th millennium BC evidenced by the Jiahu symbols in China. with radiocarbon dates from the 7th millennium BC.

Indus script. however. therefore. from the first Elder Futhark inscriptions to early texts like the Abrogans (c. around 1600 BC. Finally. The pre-Columbian Mesoamerican writing systems (including Olmec and Maya scripts) are also generally believed to have had independent origins.. Chinese logographs. at first only for logograms. 3250 BC and demonstrates that such writing (on bone and ivory labels) is a more advanced form of writing than was evident in Sumer at that date. Egyptian hieroglyphs Middle Babylonian legal tablet from Writing was very important in maintaining the Egyptian empire. It is thought that the first true alphabetic writing was developed around 2000 BC for Semitic workers in the Sinai by giving mostly Egyptian hieratic glyphs Semitic values (see History of the alphabet and Proto-Sinaitic alphabet). The Chinese script likely developed independently of the Middle Eastern scripts. syllables.[17] Most other alphabets in the world today either descended from this one innovation. that the Egyptian writing system. The tomb is dated to c. It is likely to be of semi-independent origin. and military authorities. could not have been the result of influence from a less developed system existing at that date in Sumer. In Italy. many via the Phoenician alphabet. The Ge'ez writing system of Ethiopia is considered Semitic. Geoffrey Sampson believes that most scholars hold that Egyptian hieroglyphs "came into existence a little after Sumerian script.. but developed to include phonetic elements by the 29th century BC. cuneiform writing became a general purpose writing system for logograms. It is believed to have evolved into Linear Elamite by the later 3rd millennium. By the end of the 4th millennium BC. probably [were] invented under the influence of the latter . this had evolved into a method of keeping accounts. and the Olmec script of Mesoamerica. and then replaced by Elamite Cuneiform adopted from Akkadian.. Egyptian hieroglyphs. . the corresponding time span is again similar. and . and from there to others such as Hurrian and Hittite. and Alalah in its envelope literacy was concentrated among an educated elite of scribes. This was gradually augmented with pictographic writing using a sharp stylus to indicate what was being counted.[19] Elamite script The undeciphered Proto-Elamite script emerges from as early as 3100 BC. Cretan hieroglyphs. using a round- shaped stylus impressed into soft clay at different angles for recording numbers. and in the case of the Germanic peoples. Cuneiform script The original Sumerian writing system derives from a system of clay tokens used to represent commodities."[18] This view. and numbers. Dreyer's findings at Tomb UJ at Abydos in Upper Egypt clearly show place names written in hieroglyphs (up to four in number) recognizable as signs which persisted and were employed during later periods and which are written and read phonetically. It is argued.. or were directly inspired by its design. Round-stylus and sharp-stylus writing were gradually replaced around 2700–2500 BC by writing using a wedge-shaped stylus (hence the term cuneiform).Writing emerged in many different cultures in the Bronze Age. Examples are the cuneiform writing of the Sumerians. About 2600 BC cuneiform began to represent syllables of the Sumerian language. which is in any case very different from the Mesopotamian. Scripts similar in appearance to this writing system include those for Ugaritic and Old Persian. From the 26th century BC. about 500 years passed from the early Old Italic alphabet to Plautus (750 to 250 BC). this script was adapted to the Akkadian language. royal (pharaonic). AD 200 to 750). in the service of temple. Only people from certain backgrounds were allowed to train as scribes. is strongly contested by other scholars. having roots in the Meroitic Sudanese ideogram system.

172 cliff carvings dating to 6000–5000 BC have been discovered. The Proto-Canaanite was probably somehow influenced by the undeciphered Byblos syllabary.[15] At Damaidi in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Linear B. "abjads". or if it is actual writing of the logographic-syllabic type of the other Bronze Age Sequence of ten Indus signs discovered writing systems. but whether or not the carvings are complex enough to qualify as writing is under debate. 3. but distinct.[21][21][22] Historians have found that the type of medium chosen depended on the subject of the writing.[20] It is unclear whether it should be considered an example of proto-writing. used to record the Hieroglyphic Luwian language. Banpo Script. The sequence and the geographical spread of the three overlapping. mapping single symbols to single phonemes. 1300 BC). like Jiahu Script. have been carbon-dated to around 1500 BC. Dholavira Early Semitic alphabets The first pure alphabets (properly. and it is only towards the end of the Bronze Age that the Proto-Sinaitic script splits into the Proto-Canaanite alphabet (c. writing in China will predate Mesopotamian cuneiform. If it is deemed to be a written language. moon. however it is more likely that the inscriptions are rather a form of proto-writing. long acknowledged as the first appearance of writing. similar to the contemporary European Vinca script. Cretan and Greek scripts Cretan hieroglyphs are found on artifacts of Crete (early-to-mid-2nd millennium BC. 6000 BC. MM I to MM III. featuring 8. 1200 BC). 1200–1050 BC). but by then alphabetic principles had a slight possibility of being inculcated into Egyptian hieroglyphs for upwards of a millennium. the writing system of the Mycenaean Greeks. gods and scenes of hunting or grazing. where "this stability suggests a precarious maturity". These pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese. by some 2. writing systems can be summarized as follows:[23] .453 individual characters such as the sun. Anatolian hieroglyphs Anatolian hieroglyphs are an indigenous hieroglyphic script native to western Anatolia. It first appeared on Luwian royal seals from the 14th century BC. Chinese writing The earliest confirmed evidence of the Chinese script yet discovered is the body of inscriptions on oracle bones from the late Shang dynasty (c.[23] has been deciphered while Linear A has yet to be deciphered. and in turn inspired the Ugaritic alphabet (c. or jiaguwen. overlapping with Linear A from MM IIA at the earliest).000 years. has not yet been deciphered. stars. but not necessarily each phoneme to a symbol) emerged around 1800 BC in Ancient Egypt. Mortimer Wheeler recognises the style of writing as near the northern gate of the Indus site boustrophedon. 1400 BC) Byblos syllabary and the South Arabian alphabet (c. as a representation of language developed by Semitic workers in Egypt. From the Shang Dynasty most of this writing has survived on bones or bronze implements (bronze script). These early abjads remained of marginal importance for several centuries.Indus script The Middle Bronze Age Indus script which dates back to the early Harappan phase of around 3000 BC in ancient north western India and what is now Pakistan. There have recently been discoveries of tortoise-shell carvings dating back to c. Markings on turtle shells.

Mycenae. called the "supplementals".[24][25][26] Of several pre-Columbian scripts in Mesoamerica. Melos. Maya writing used logograms complemented by a set of syllabic glyphs: a combination somewhat similar to modern Japanese writing. 1375−1200 BC Mesoamerica A stone slab with 3. 18th century−1450 BC Linear B Crete (Knossos). the Greeks eventually chose to write from left to right.[29] The adapter(s) of the Phoenician system added three letters to the end of the series. For its part the Greek alphabet introduced for the first time explicit symbols for vowel sounds. Syriac and Arabic abjads and the South Arabian alphabet gave rise to the Ge'ez abugida. The Romans learned writing in about the 5th century BC . After first writing right to left. Iron Age writing The Phoenician alphabet is simply the Proto-Canaanite alphabet as it was continued into the Iron Age (conventionally taken from a cut-off date of 1050 BC). The other variation. the Cascajal Block. named for the Latins. Early Greek alphabet on pottery in the National Archaeological Museum of Greek is in turn the source for all the modern scripts of Europe. preceding the oldest Zapotec writing dated to about 500 BC. Tiryns) c. like the Phoenicians. Italy. known as Eastern Greek. was used west of Athens and in southern Italy. One. The earliest inscriptions which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BC. The Brahmic family of India is believed by some scholars to have derived from the Aramaic alphabet as well.000-year-old writing. known as Western Greek or Chalcidian. a central Italian people who came to dominate Europe with the rise of Rome. The history of the Greek alphabet started when the Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet and adapted it to their own language.[27] The Greek and Latin alphabets in the early centuries of the Common Era gave rise to several European scripts such as the Runes and the Gothic and Cyrillic alphabets while the Aramaic alphabet evolved into the Hebrew. Several varieties of the Greek alphabet developed. The Athens most widespread descendent of Greek is the Latin script.[28] Cippus Perusinus. was used in present-day Turkey and by the Athenians. Kythera. and eventually the rest of the world that spoke Greek adopted this variation. Thebes. 1625−1500 BC Linear A Aegean islands (Kea. and in modern times both alphabets are arranged in the same order. is the Maya script. the one that appears to have been best developed. This alphabet gave rise to the Aramaic and Greek alphabets. was discovered in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The beginning of the Writing in the Greco-Roman civilizations writing with the Latin alphabet. and mainland (Pylos. and writing was in continuous use until shortly after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century AD. These in turn led to the writing systems used throughout regions ranging from Western Asia to Africa and Europe. Writing system Geographical area Time span[A 2] Cretan Hieroglyphic Crete c. Thera). and Greek mainland (Laconia) c. and is an example of the oldest script in the Western Hemisphere.[29] The letters of the Greek alphabet are more or less the same as those of the Phoenician alphabet. and has been fully deciphered. Etruscan writing near Perugia.

[31] In all ages it has been customary to engrave on stone or metal. In the latter case there is this peculiarity. The primary literary languages were Greek and Persian. and a slow revival of Latin as a significant literary language. Renaissance and the modern era By the 14th century a rebirth. with an imperceptible time delay (instant messaging). Written communication can also be delivered with minimal time delay (e-mail. had emerged in Western Europe. Particularly with the advent of digital technologies. Latin. Latin. a combination of materials which is illustrated by comparison of the practice of the Egyptian engravers.[32] brass. such as stamped coins. lime or gypsum) was used along with stone. characters can be formed by the press of a button. or renaissance. To the engraving of gems there is reference also. At the same time Arabic and Persian began a slow decline in importance as the Islamic Golden Age ended. namely the computer and the mobile phone. rapidly declined in importance (except within the Church of Rome). the other Italic scripts have not survived in any great quantity. having first carefully smoothed the stone. with the view of securing the permanency of the record. the literary development became largely confined to the Eastern Roman Empire and the Persian Empire. such as with seals or signets. it is read of the two tables of the law written in stone. Some people regard the growth of multimedia literacy as the first step toward a postliterate society. in which an everyday conversation can occur through writing rather than speaking. This script also heavily influenced the development of the cursive scripts of Greek.[31] Metals. that plaster (sic. especially in Russia. the computer and the mobile phone are all technological developments which have altered what is written. The revival of literary development in Western Europe led to many innovations in the Latin alphabet and the diversification of the alphabet to codify the phonologies of the various languages.[30] Its position as a crossroads between the Islamic and Western Christian worlds helped fuel intellectual development and written communication between both cultures. particularly due to the development of new technologies over the centuries. are mentioned as a material of writing. Due to the cultural dominance of the Roman state. Writing materials There is no very definite statement as to the material which was in most common use for the purposes of writing at the start of the early writing systems.from the Etruscan civilization. The rise of Islam in the 7th century led to the rapid rise of Arabic as a major literary language in the region.[31] . had become one of the foremost intellectual centers of the world and contained the world's largest library at the time. and the medium through which the written word is produced. SMS). By the beginning of the second millennium the city of Cordoba in modern Spain. the printing press. and other languages. The nature of the written word has recently evolved to include an informal. and gold. in the very commencement of the national history of Israel. leading to a temporary revival of the importance of Greek. and in some cases. who used one of a number of Italic scripts derived from the western Greeks. in order to obtain a perfectly uniform surface on which to execute their engravings. The pen. colloquial written style. and the Etruscan language is mostly lost. Arabic script was adopted as the primary script of the Persian language and the Turkish language. or other durable material. never one of the primary literary languages. and accordingly. Writing during the Middle Ages With the collapse of the Roman authority in Western Europe. the Slavic languages. though other languages such as Syriac and Coptic were important too. who. Arabic and Persian quickly began to overshadow Greek's role as a language of scholarship. The Arabic language also served to spread the Hindu–Arabic numeral system throughout Europe. and of a subsequent writing of the law on stone. The nature of writing has been constantly evolving. filled up the faulty places with gypsum or cement. rather than making a physical motion with the hand. they include lead. Writing is a preservable means of communication. A similar though smaller emergence occurred in Eastern Europe.

History of art (Ancient art). Gravettian. among which is mentioned leather. or prisms of six or eight sides. Oldowan. Latin alphabet. David N.com/books?id=4-vdP2aZWhUC&pg=PA415) 6. Shorthand.html). ogham. Peter T. Boltz. 2. "The First Civilizations". ed. Busra. the assumed origins of all scripts lie further back in the past.The common materials of writing were the tablet and the roll. As the papyrus.191 5. the former probably having a Chaldean origin. the pith was taken out. other strips being placed at right angles to them. Archaeology. and thickly inscribed with cuneiform characters.com/books?id=ystMAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA762). using sheepskins left after the wool was removed for cloth.google. Bright and Daniels. and the strips glued together. The tablets of the Chaldeans are among the most remarkable of their remains. somewhat rudely shaped into a form resembling a pillow. Keightley. Oral literature. New York. The Origins of Chinese civilization Page 415-416 (https://books. Palaeography. logographic. Bright and Daniels. had various economic means for writing. Olmec. uncials. St. a few leather mills of an early period having been found in the tombs. (1996). Chinese characters (kanji. p. Charlotte Beck. was sometimes cheaper than papyrus. Oxford University Press. writing usually does not convey the tone of the utterance. "The Study of Writing Systems". By Dr Gwendolyn Leick. That this material was in use in Egypt from a very early period is evidenced by still existing papyrus of the earliest Theban dynasties. hanja). formed of fine terra cotta. History of developmental dyslexia Notes 1. . other materials were often used instead of it. sometimes glazed. With the invention of wood-pulp paper. Acheulean.[31] In Egypt the principal writing material was of quite a different sort. in The World's Writing Systems. Grakliani Hill Other History of numbers. Palaeography.24 8.[31] Parchment. and divided by a pointed instrument into the thin pieces of which it is composed. Noel Barnard. ISBN 978-0-19- 507618-9.com/books/about/Sex_and_Eroticis m_in_Mesopotamian_Litera. in The World's Writing Systems. became very costly. Tamil. Brahmi. Manuscript. p. Daniels. logograms. Vinča signs. even from very ancient times. This reed. found chiefly in Lower Egypt. Bright and Daniels.googl e. Larkin. Beginning date refers to first attestations. Retrieved 29 February 2012. in some specimens so minutely as to be capable of decipherment only with the aid of a magnifying-glass. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology (https://books. Hoabinhian. Ethnoarchaeology. Kannada.archaeology. Sex and Eroticism in Mesopotamian Literature (https://books. "Earliest Egyptian Glyphs" (http://www. Book. Pg 3. Luwian. Archaeological Institute of America. Devanagari. which had to be imported outside Egypt. 7. Aurignacian. ed. Mitchell. Zapotec. Citations 1. but the material which was in common use. "Early Chinese Writing". Asemic writing General Alphabet. 762. the latter an Egyptian. William G. There are small pieces of clay. Mixtec.org/9903/newsbriefs/egypt. Peter T. Brian M. Nabataean. Cretan hieroglyphs.goog le. Writing seems to have become more widespread with the invention of papyrus in Egypt. it was then flattened by pressure. the cost of writing material began a steady decline. ed. Ugarit. p. katakana. Wooden tablets are found pictured on the monuments. on which the characters were traced with a small stylus. Martin's Press (2003) ISBN 0-312-33002-2 3. so that a roll of any length might be manufactured. Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon. and exported to all parts of the world. See also Main Phonetics. Inscriptions. in The World's Writing Systems.3 2. Uruk. p. 4.[33] Similar use has been seen in hollow cylinders. Etruscan. Indus script. Daniels. was the papyrus. being in great demand.html?id=Fn67_Rid51EC). Fagan. ed. writing system.

1038/news030428-7 (https://dx. China'. 78. An Ahmanson foundation book in the humanities. pp. 20 14. and ecclesiastical literature (http s://books. Early Chinese Writing. and the Origins of Writing in China". The Cambridge Medieval History volumes 1-5 (https://books. p. upon which their contents have been again inscribed.co.H. p. 1992.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/334517. Cambridge University Press. " 'Oldest' New World writing found" (http://news.nytimes. the oldest writing in the New World.org. Guns. and many of their clay tablets still remain. & Wang.org/cgi/content/abstract/313/5793/1610). though whether to writing on lead. 2004-04-04. On Deep History and the Brain.google. They are of various sizes. Library. is not certain. Special Issue: The New Erudition. 56. Zhang. 17. pp." (https://www.com/2006/09/15/science/15writi ng. (Autumn. v. 1990. Science. Cyclopedia of Biblical. An Introduction to the History of History." 25. "A block with a hitherto unknown system of writing has been found in the Olmec heartland of Veracruz. "Ancient civilisations in Mexico developed a writing system as early as 900 BC.. sources and studies. Whitehouse. Smail. McClintock. 'The earliest writing? Sign use in the seventh millennium BC at Jiahu. Writing Systems: a Linguistic Introduction. Retrieved 2008-03-30. Boltz. 24. 3 (Sep. Richard (1996).] unearthed at a mass-burial site at Jiahu in the Henan Province of western China". New York: Columbia University Press.doi." 26. 5. Jared Diamond. "Archaeologists Rewrite History" (http://www.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5347080. some linguistic. "Writing May Be Oldest in Western Hemisphere. J.. Retrieved 2010-01-31. P. Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians. theological. 377f. Retrieved 2008-03-30. 15. Stephen D. "Oldest Writing in the New World" (http://www.. 1996). 23. J. 1215. New York: Harper. Ancestors.china. BBC. 420–436 (436). 20.. Pilcher 'Earliest handwriting found? Chinese relics hint at Neolithic rituals'. 19. China Daily. Andrews.sciencemag. Representations. New York Times. 12 June 2003. 2006-09-15. Vol. These documents have been in general enveloped. Henan Province.org/10. 1986). 31 . & Strong. G. Victoria Reifler.. or filling up the hollow of the letters with lead. 17.com/books?id=9lHeh36S 8ooC).1038%2Fnews030428-7) "Symbols carved into tortoise shells more than 8. Houston. 2008. "Meroitic Writing System" (http://www. The same material was largely used by the Assyrians. The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process. Some thousands of these have been recovered. J. and the tablet in its cover has then been baked afresh. to an inch and a half by an inch wide. (2003). No. Epigraphy. C. 1974): 54-68. J. 11. page 62. 16. 13.html). page 231 10. p.. and archaeologists say it is an example of the oldest script ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere. Mexico. p. "The Early Diffusion of the Alphabet".google. Austin: University of Texas Press. Bury. "A stone slab bearing 3. (2004). World Archaeology. 18. References . ISBN 978-0-521-83861-0. Gunther Dreyer. Geoffrey Sampson. Olivier 1986.stm) BBC 21. ISBN 0-19-507993-0. pp.bbc.htm). pp. 32.co. Daniel Lord. "Art. 3. 245–6.000-year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz.44.. (Feb. William G.cornell. so as to present externally a duplicate of the writing within.com/books?id=u-oXAAAAYAAJ): Supplement." 27. and even less. Shotwell. 2002. ISBN 3-406-47998-7. after they were baked. No. Nature (30 April 2003). doi:10. some astronomical. in a cover of moist clay. 77. 12.B. Pages 990–997. Stanford University Press.edu/africana/Writing_Systems/Meroitic. 30. Germs and Steel. 33. Records of civilization. The World's Writing Systems.68–95 (68).edu. James Thomson. 29. "Brahmi and Kharoshthi". Stylistic and other dating of the block places it in the early first millennium before the common era. Li. and Patricia A. 31. 2006-09-14. 396 28. Oxford University Press. Early Writing Systems.library. Millard 1986. Haarmann. Antiquity. McCarter. Berkeley: University of California Press. A Hundred Years at Abydos. Helen R. Harbottle.bbc. (1885).cornell. David N. 22. Beck. C. new evidence suggests. The Biblical Archaeologist 37. No. many are historical. Keightley. 1922. X.cn/english/2003/Jun/66806.html).stm). with features that firmly assign this pivotal development to the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. some geographical. David (1999) 'Earliest writing' found (http://news.000 years ago [. Salomon. Kyle. Harald: "Geschichte der Schrift". ranging from nine inches long by six and a half wide. Bricker. Retrieved 2008-03-30. 9.

Dec 9. Chisholm. Nissen. The Story of the Alphabet. New York: The Macmillan company. 1992. Literature and General Information. ISBN 0292707835 Denise Schmandt-Besserat HomePage. Chapter 4. Joachim Friedrich Quack. 1992. "Writing".C".1080/00438243. Olivier. "The Infancy of the Alphabet". Before Writing. In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language. Library of useful stories. ISBN 0-500- 28156-4 Hans J. 2004. The Reading Process. 1991. doi:10. Barry B. Edited by Alex de Voogt. 1922. World Archaeology. Reaktion Books 2005 CN136481 Hoffman. The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society. 1945. Eng: University Press. Cambridge. "Cretan Writing in the Second Millennium B. Encyclopædia Britannica. Smith. Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization.net Alphabet & protoalphabet the manifest of astrologic doctrine? The New Post-Literate Denise Schmandt-Besserat HomePage The Ethiopic Alphabet By Dr.-P. ISBN 978-1-4051-6256-2 Steven R. Damerow. Civilization Before Greece and Rome Yale University Press. A. 1993. (1986). Saggs. A Dictionary of Arts.1986. Thames & Hudson 1995 (second edition: 1999).9979978. Mathematical Cuneiform Texts. I: From Counting to Cuneiform. ISBN 0-292-77704-3. ISBN 0801873894 Late 20th century sources Andrew Robinson. Millard.1080/00438243. Archaic Bookkeeping. 2011. Vol. How Writing Came About. ISBN 0-500-01665-8 Denise Schmandt-Besserat. Joel M. 17 (3): 390–398. Abraham Joseph Sachs. P. 1911. R. University of Texas Press. The Invention of Cuneiform: Writing in Sumer. Pub. Powell. Further reading 21st century sources The Idea of Writing: Writing Across Borders. doi:10. JHU Press.. J. University of Chicago Press. jointly by the American Oriental Society and the American Schools of Oriental Research. R. Jean-Jacques Glassne. Albrecht Götze. New York University Press. External links Cuneiform cdli:wiki : Assyriological tools for specialists in cuneiform studies General History of Writing. Oxford: Blackwell.9979977. World Archaeology. 1986 Earlier 20th century sources Otto Neugebauer. Fischer A History of Writing. Aberra Molla Children of the Code: A Brief History of Writing – Online Video Broadcasts . (1986).1986. 2003. Sciences. Jack Goody. historian. 2009. Cambridge University Press. Englund. William Anton. The Story of Writing. H. Edward. Clodd. Chapter 3. 17 (3): 377– 389. University of Texas Press. Hugh. BRILL.

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