What seems to me to be the most remarkable advancement in communication is that first huge advancement that man made as a communicator. Everything else has spawned from that. Can you imagine being a non-speaking/communicating species and developing a means of communicating from nothing? The enormity of that is mind boggling.
Prehistoric cave paintings have been discovered in many parts of the world. Africa has some of the earliest rock paintings and carvings, thought to be nearly 30000 years old and found in the late 60's. Some of the most numerous and sophiscated paintings have been found in the caves of southwest France and northern Spain.
Cave paintings were most likely done in the Paleolithic period, and there must have been designs on animal skins shortly after that. Writing came into being around 3500 BC, with the alphabet being used as a system in 1500 BC. It has been a relatively short time historically since we have had writing.
In the twentieth century we are very proud of the advancements of the Information and communication technology, and often describe the current period we are passing through as age of Information Revolution. However the greatest innovation in information technology were made many thousands of years ago. Writing ranks as one of the most important innovation in information technology, second only to speech.
The writing as we know today is most likely to have evolved out of cave drawing and paintings and simple tally marks used for numbers.
Some of the main landmarks in development of writings are described below.
- Around 20,000 B.C. people of prehistoric eras used paintings and drawings on walls of their caves to tell stories.
- 3,500 B.C. Sumerian developed a system of writing, which is considered by many historians to be the first system of writing anywhere in the world.
- 1,500 B.C.Semites developed the use of alphabets for writing.
Cave paintings were painted on rocks. In the Paleolithic period, the representation of human beings in cave paintings was reduced. In general, animals were represented: not only animals, which were a source of food, but also animals that represented strength, such as rhinos and big cats (as in the Chauvet Cave).Sometimes,they were drawn signs such points. Among human representations pictures included and prints of hands and half man / half animal images.
Chauvet Cave in the department of Ardèche, France, has the most important cave paintings of Paleolithic, dated to around 31,000 BC.
Paintings of Altamira, Spain, were created between 14,000 and 12,000 BC, and have, among others,images of bisons.