Let’s discover the first time that writing appeared in the history of civilization by exploring its forms and its colors, its construction and evolution, so that we can understand the importance of it in our everyday lives and the role it has played in human development.
40,000 years ago, prehistoric men practiced engraving and painting on cave walls to represent themselves and their environment. This cannot be likened to writing, because it lacks linguistically developped meaning ; instead, they used images to communicate daily events or tell stories.
Definition of writing
To fully understand the concept of writing, we need to define it, so let’s look at the different definitions offered to us in order to do so.
A definition is proposed to us by Larousse:
“Representation of speech and thought by conventional graphic signs. (Invented around 3200 BC, writing marks the beginning of human history. The cradle of writing oscillates between Mesopotamia [cuneiform writing] and the Indus valley [hieroglyphics of Mohenjo-Daro] , depending on archaeological discoveries.) “
We can consider writing as a graphic system of thought which can be transcribed onto a medium and then deciphered.
So in order to be able to say that symbols can be considered as writing, we must be able to determine their meaning by deciphering them. Until that is done, the meaning remains ambiguous, hence the importance of archeology for our understanding of the world and the development of man throughout history.
Early forms of writing
The first forms of writing were discovered 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Egypt in the form of pictograms and hieroglyphs. The first pen was therefore a reed cut into a pointed tip (the calames).
The main uses of writing were for administrative purposes, listing property, or recording business transactions.