A History of the World in 100 Objects
There’s an very interesting series of programmes on BBC Radio 4 at the moment called “A History of the World in 100 Objects“. The objects come from the British Museum and one of recent programmes discussed an ancient Mesopotamian writing tablet, like the one on the right, from about 3,000 BC.
They talk about the invention of writing, and how it was used almost exclusively for record keeping and accounting at first, and that written literature only developed later.
The tablet in question is a record of workers’ daily beer rations – workers were paid in beer as this was before the invention of money.
By the way I’m planing to add a page or two to Omniglot about the history and development of writing, and maybe a chronology as well.