Cuneiform | Around 3000 BC

16 February, 2011

Examples of Cuneiform:

Early Cuneiform (Sumerian Pictograph):








Evolved Sumerian Cuneiform:












Akkadian Cuneiform:













Compare & Contrast:

The earliest form of Cuneiform were made of pictographs, showing a picture for each image, object, person, etc. Then the tablets evolved into some symbols and many lined-shapes, and finally, the Akkadian tablet is all line-based. Each one, when viewed, shows the changes over time, and how exceedingly different each form of Cuneiform each one is.


1. What is a nomadic civilization?

A nomadic civilization does not stay in one area for extended periods of time. The civilizations travel from place to place with everything they own and use.

2.  Why did the Sumerians create a visual form of communication?

The Sumerians created a visual form of communication to keep track of business transactions. A visual form showed what was being done, since there weren’t written letters like the English language has today.

3. How did the Sumerians “write” records and documents? What medium was utilized?

The Sumerians “wrote” the records using a wet clay tablet and reeds to engrave with. The medium utilized were the clay tablets. First, the Sumerians would wet the tablet and make it a flat surface. Then, they used a wedge-shaped stylus and used the reeds to form impressions into the wet clay surface. The Sumerians then laid the tablet out to dry, creating the permanent engravings in the clay.

4. What is a pictogram? What is the difference between a pictograph/pictogram, and an ideogram?

A pictogram and a pictograph are the same thing, and they fall under the category of an ideogram. Pictographs/pictograms convey meanings to a physical object. Ideograms are graphic symbols that represent concepts or ideas.


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