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When Did People Begin To Write?

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enotes | Valedictorian

Posted October 9, 2011 at 4:00 PM via web

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When Did People Begin To Write?

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fact-finder | Valedictorian

Posted October 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM (Answer #1)

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Historians estimate that writing (the visible recording of language peculiar to the human species) began around 6,000 B.C. It is believed that writing developed independently in areas of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, and among the Mayans of South America. The most ancient form of writing was cuneiform, wedge-shaped marks made on clay tablets. It was developed around 4000 B.C. by the Sumerians, a non-Semitic (non-Hebrew) people of unknown origins. A limestone tablet with cuneiform writing was found in the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (a region of present-day Iraq where the Sumerians lived) and has helped historians trace back the origins of writing. Cuneiform pictographs closely resemble Egyptian hieroglyphics, which was an extensive writing system using pictures developed by Egyptian priests around 3110 B.C. Both cuneiform and hieroglyphics were predecessors to the modern alphabet.

Further Information: uneiform. [Online] Available www.cc.emory.edu/CARLOS/ODYSSEY/NEAREAST/cunef.html, October 23, 2000; Harris, Roy. The Origin of Writing. LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court, 1986; Ober, J. H. Writing: Man's Greatest Invention. Baltimore, Md.: Peabody Institute, 1965; "Prehistoric writing found in Egypt." UFO Roundup. [Online] Available http://ufoinfo.com/roundup/V03/rnd03_52.html, October 23, 2000.

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