4.1 Early Writing

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MS in archaic Sumerian on clay, Sumer, Uruk IV, 32nd c. BC, 1 tablet, 5,9x6,5x2,4 cm, 2 columns, 5 compartments of pictographic script, rollsealed on all 6 surfaces with a seal depicting 3 men and a boy herding goats.

MS in Old Sumerian on clay, Sumer, Uruk IV, 32nd c. BC, 1 tablet, 5,0x5,7x2,1 cm, 17+14 compartments of pictographic script

MS in archaic Sumerian on clay, Sumer, ca. 3200 BC, 1 tablet, 3,9x5,5x2,0 cm, 5+1 compartments of pictographic script

MS in Old Sumerian on clay, Sumer, ca. 3300-3200 BC, nearly cubic tablet, 5 compartments in primitive pictographic script, fine cylinder seal impressions on all sides made prior to writing of 2 men walking left, carrying goods.

MS in Aranda on schist-like stone, Central Desert area, Australia, before 1800, 1 circular churinga, aboriginal patterns incised with a incisor tooth of an opossum, and rubbed with grease and red ochre during the ceremonies.

MS in Aranda on green chist stone, Mount Zeil, Central Australia, before 1800, 1 oval churinga, aboriginal symbols incised with an incisor tooth of an opossum, rubbed with grease and ochre during the ceremonies.

MS in Aranda on pinky weathered and worn chalk stone, Central Desert area, Australia, before 500, 1 oval churinga of 2 joining parts, 33x14x2 cm, aboriginal patterns incised with an incisor tooth of an opossum.

MS on chalk-like stone, Urella Downs station, New South Wales, Australia, ca. 20000-3000 BC, cylindrical cylcon with rounded apex and base, band of irregular lines around circumference near base, longitudinal grooves from base to apex, deliberate chipping around base.

MS on yellow soft sandstone, Western New South Wales, Australia, ca. 20000-3000 BC, 1 oval-conical cylcon with slanting flat base, 1 large arrow pointing towards apex, 4 arrows pointing towards base.

MS on weathered white desert sandstone with lichen growth, High Delalan, Western New South Wales, Australia, ca. 20000-3000 BC, 1 cylindro-conical and cornute form cylcon with concave base, 22x8x8 cm, incised with 11 parallel longitudinal lines running from apex to base.

While continuous writing conveying a message started in Syria, Sumer or Highland Iran ca. 3500 BC, single symbols, glyphs, marks representing names, places, tracks, gods, etc. are much older. Apart from Australia, where it possibly all started, the four earliest major river valley civilisations, represent the earliest symbols and writing from 4th millennium BC onwards, as mentioned in the introduction.

Some examples of each of these are listed, supplied with the earliest examples from Europe and the Americas.