Writing Has Morphed over Time
Oral Contribution to the History of Writing
I’m not an anthropologist, but I have looked into the general history of writing. But before words were written they were formulated as language and spoken. Most histories and stories were passed down generation to generation orally, though putting things in writing began much earlier than originally thought, back as far as 3200 BC. However, for the most part oral traditions of passing on history and stories continued to be the norm.
The Earliest Writing Methods
Apparently the earliest form of writing was the use of a reed stylus to incise characters into clay tablets. Later words were chiseled into stone. The earliest writing was in the form of characters of one sort or another that symbolized spoken words, but not the words themselves. The formulation of actual words developed over time.
What I find fascinating is that writing began with stylus and clay and chisel and rock. Those were the original pen and paper of the writer or author.
At various points in history in a number of cultures the etching or painting of picture figures were used as a means of writing points of their histories or as symbols of their stories. Some of these pictographs or petroglyphs go back thousands of years and some hundreds of years. I have come across numerous Native Americans pictographs that use such symbols to tell their stories. I took the petroglyph pictures accompanying this blog in nearby canyons.
The Next Big Steps in the History of Writing
From what I can tell, the next big step in the history of writing was the hollow reed pen. They were used by both the Egyptians and the Romans. Such pens were made from papyrus plants, sedge, or bamboo, whatever was available. The quill pen was a further advancement that was first used in the Dark Ages—bird feathers replacing the reed. Such pens were in use for almost 1500 years. A bit of trivia that I find interesting is that Thomas Jefferson bred special geese to keep himself in writing implements. That was a common practice.