Science: The Roots of Writing

Archaeologists generally agree that writing first appeared in Mesopotamia around 3100 B.C. in the form of an elaborate system of symbols that were probably used for keeping temple records. But where did the ancients get the idea for their epochal invention? A University of Texas archaeologist may have at last provided the answer. Denise Schmandt-Besserat has found evidence that writing evolved from a much older record-keeping system that is still used in the Middle East. If her theory is correct, it pushes the roots of writing back at least 5,000 years.

Schmandt-Besserat, 43,...

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