Cuneiform and the Sumerians

Early Cuneiform (Sumerian Pictographs) :

This is the simplest and earliest of the world’s first written language. It is a series of simple designs in an easy-to-read format.

Evolved Sumerian Cuneiform:

This is the more modified version of early Sumerian cuneiform. The pictures are now much more complex, and there are many more symbols incorporated onto the slab.

Akkadian Cuneiform:

This is the adopted form of the early language. There are less pictures and more symbols in this style.


1. What is a nomadic civilization?

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

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

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

A nomadic civilization is a small group of people who move from place to place based on their needs such as food, shelter, and according to the seasons. Sumerians specifically were one of these kinds of civilizations, and as their population grew, their methods changes. They found the need to record business ideas as their civilization grew in order to keep track of everything they needed to with cuneiform. They cut clay, wrote into it, and let it dry creating tablets of information. They used pictograms to represent words or specific objects and ideograms to represent ideas.

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