The Development of Writing and Social Hierarchies

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There are numerous traits found in the world that are said to give us our humanity; These traits can be as simple as compassion for others, or as complex as a desire to rule and conquer. There are two crucial developments, however, that have contributed greatly to the development of human civilization - the development of writing and the creation of a hierarchical social structure. These two developments in human history have become the building blocks for the way that we live our day-to-day lives. Both writing and social hierarchies have evolved along with our society, spreading throughout the world and becoming key factors in the future of our civilization. Writing is perhaps the most important building block of communication - after verbal speech, of course. Writing, like most of human civilization, has its roots in ancient Mesopotamia. The first writing systems began in a style known as cuneiform (Cuneiform, 2013). These wedge-shaped markings have their roots in Sumerian culture and were used predominantly for record keeping and accounting. At the archaeological site of Uruk in what is modern day Iraq, a great wealth of knowledge has been gained from the artifacts located there. Uruk was a ceremonial site and is home to the world’s oldest known documented written documents (Price and Feinman, 2013). The documents discovered list quantities of goods that may have been stored at Uruk, leading archaeologists to believe that writing in this part of the world was developed primarily to keep lists of transactions and stockpiled quantities of goods located at the site. The need for writing in Uruk was drastically different than that of the Egyptians, however. As evidenced at the archaeological site of Hierakonpolis, the Egyptian sy... ... middle of paper ... ...(2004). Independent origins of indian caste and tribal paternal lineages. Current Biology, 14(3), 231. Retrieved from Cuneiform.. (2013, January 1). Retrieved April 20, 2014 Hieroglyphic . (2013, January 1). Retrieved April 20, 2014 Price, T. D., & Feinman, G. (2013). Images of the Past. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

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