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Sumerian writing system. Table showing the development of the oldest known writing system developed by the Sumerians of south-western Asia over 6000 years ago. The table shows (from left to right) how the outline characters used by the Sumerians were later developed by the Akkadians, Assyrians and Babylonians. The Sumerians wrote in soft, wet clay which was then baked hard. They found it was easier to impress straight lines into the clay than to inscribe curves. Consequently the pictures lost their form and became stylized symbols. These symbols came to be associated with the sound of the objects they represented, rather than the objects themselves.
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