Wednesday, January 29, 2020

In Mesopotamia, Ancient Sumerians wrote Cuneform

Cuneform began with pictures pressed into clay tablets.  Later wedge shapes replaced the pictures.  Can you see why this was nicknamed 'nail writing?' 


 'Nail writing' developed using the tip of the stylus, a wedge pointed writing instrument that could make impressions easily on the clay.  The wedge shapes replaced the pictures.  Cuneform served two very different languages in Mesopotamia, Sumerian and Akkadian.

Children who were lucky enough to be chosen to be scribes had to sit on the ground for hours practicing how to make the signs with their stylus on wet clay tablets.  It was an honorable job to be a scribe, yet it was not an easy one.  

To learn more about the history of writing and writing systems, read Dorling Kindersley's Book - an Eyewitness Book.  It is a filled with wonderful illustrations and rich in historical insights about the people who created and used scripts from ancient to our own modern times.  It's a great resource for all ages and a good conversation starter to discuss the impact writing has had on cultures over time.  Ask kids what they think about different scripts and how writing has evolved throughout different cultures and over time.

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