1.3.6- Systems of Recordkeeping

Tyler Cunningham, Nate Starnes

No form of writing developed in the Paleolithic era. In the paleolithic era there were cave paintings, but no writing system. Cave paintings were realistic representations of the topic, this later influenced the writing of objects as pictures. The first writing systems were developed at the beginning of the Bronze age, during the late Neolithic era. The development of writing was a very powerful innovator. Mesopotamian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs are most commonly seen as the first systems of writing. These systems were developed from proto-literate writing, which means a system of symbols. Literacy helped develop the First Civilizations, by allowing for defined elite statuses. It also allowed for commoners to raise their status by learning how to write. Writing allowed for the development of literature and philosophy to astronomy and mathematics, and eventually history. Once writing was established it was hard to control it in human relations, and in some cases lead to conflicts.

China: Archeologist's found in early Ancient Chinese civilizations that the Chinese first started writing on old tortoise shells. These symbols are called Jiahu symbols and are dated back to 6000BC. The Chinese used it to predict the future in the royal court of the Shang dynasty rulers. There is some bias to this writing style because some people think that they were just drawing on the tortoise shells not anything that had any purpose to it. Around 1200-1050 B.C.E Archeologist's have found different Chinese characters and symbols from the Shang Dynasty. But these characters were standardized under the Qin dynasty (221-206). The early Chinese writing were called glyphs whose components may depict objects or represent abstract notions. Occasionally a character consists of only one component; more commonly two or more components are combined to form more complex characters, using a variety of different principles.
external image 125px-Jiahu_writing.svg.png
Example of the
Chinese characters

Mesopotamia: The writing system emerged around 3500 BC, early forms were pictures or pictographs of the object. It started to become more abstract to allow for more than just simple nouns. This ended up becoming the world’s first cuneiform writing system. It was independently invented in Mesopotamia, it was not adopted from another place. The writing developed both phonetically, representing sounds, and semantically, representing a certain thing. The writing was used for recording economic transactions.

external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcScaiAotbSF7bSlVL0lLD9V0PReSeHIqHtAsHcyy4qSn2AdLkg7ZQ
The picture is an example of their
cuneiform and the clay tablets that they
wrote on

Ancient Egypt: Egyptian hieroglyphics were developed around 3200BC. It was developed through preliterate art traditions in Egypt, it was seen on pottery before it became a writing system. Hieroglyphs combined logographic and alphabetic characters. By having characters represent letters and objects. There were less formal forms of hieroglyphs known as hieratic and demonic. Hieroglyphs were developed soon after the Mesopotamian writing system was developed, many people feel that the Egyptian hieroglyphs were influenced by the Mesopotamian script. The hieroglyphs were used for business and administrative. Later it was used for religion, stories, poetry, hymns, and mathematics.

external image 200px-Papyrus_Ani_curs_hiero.jpg
The picture is an example of
hieroglyphs that would be written,
it contains both logographic and
alphabetic characters.

Inca Empire: The Incas created a record keeping system known as quipu. Quipu was a system of knotted cords, that keep record of information. There is little known about what information was stored on them because when the Spaniards invaded they destroyed thousands of them. Quipus are made up of wool and cotton strings tied together. The strings were dyed different colors and tied and knotted together in different ways to record info.
external image 350px-Inca_Quipu.jpg
An example of a quipu, it contains many different colored
strings and knots

Mohenjo Daro: In Sindh, Pakistan this city was built around 2600BC. It was one of the biggest cities in the Indus Valley Civilization. But it was abandoned in the early 19th century BC. One of the reason why this place is such a big historical achievement is because it was one of the first settlements to display engineering and urban planning for its time. It had a central marketplace, with large central well. Individual households or groups of households obtained their water from smaller wells. The city was destroyed by the flooding of the Indus river but each time they would build there beautiful city again right on top of the old one. Their writing system contained around 400 pictograph characters. They represented both sounds and words. The symbols were found on clay sealsand pottery. It is believed that they were used to mark merchandise.

An example of Mohenjo Daro's writing system

external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTTvNpxgl9oCaqIjvoR61Va5UeHQDeVA_oGYBQDMIDxa7ogvXzb2Q
The City of Mohenjo Daro

The Development of writing has allowed for the expansion of civilizations and culture. Writing contributed to society, political, religion, intellect, and economics. In society, writing made for more elite statuses and also allowed for lower people to raise their status. Writing also allowed for easier politics, now rulers could set written rules and keep track of tax collections. With writing people could become more intellectual, now the could read about subjects, also reading makes them more sophisticated people. With writing businesses could now record economics, the could record profits and payments due to a more precise point. Without writing people would have very little knowledge of the past. You would not be ready this page if there was no writing.

http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/cuneiform-writing-system-ancient-mesopotamia-emergence-and-evolution, Edsitement
__http://ourdigitalfuture.pbworks.com/w/page/11549095/Writing__, Our Digital Future, 2 years
__http://www.aldokkan.com/art/hieroglyphics.htm__, Aldokkan ancient Egypt
__http://archaeology.about.com/od/qterms/qt/quipu.htm__, About.com, archaelogy, K. Kris Hirst
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quipu, Wikipedia
__http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Written_Chinese__, Wikipedia
h____t__tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_writing__, Wikipedia