Cuneiform List

"The list" that we have featured at the following url is an assembly of cuneiform signs
spanning some two millennia and representing the progress and development
of an early complex writing system. From literal to abstract, we
see here the the increaseing complexity and utility of the signs, and,
I believe when the signs are seen side by side, explanations of this
phenomina read over and over are heard with new clarity.

I would take this moment to thank Sheshki, an enthusiast who has spent
time and effort to assemble the following signs from diverse sources, and
has compiled them here. From within the confines of the amateur world, we hope
"the list" will be of some utility for some and for others,
an explanatory presentation. Additions to come.

C.B.F. Walker, 1987:

The very Earliest pictures (sometimes called pictographs) were drawn on damp clay using a pointed tool [often a reed stylus]. But quite soon the scribes found it was quicker to produce a stylised representation of an object by making a few marks in the clay rather than attempt an artistic impression by naturalisitic drawing in straight or curving lins. These stylised representations then had to be standardised so that everyone could recognise them. Since the scribes were no longer trying to be great artists the drawing intstrument did not have to be finely pointed but could be blunt or flat. The end of the wooden or reed stylus, which struck the clay first, made a wider mark than the shaft, and so came into being the typical wedge-shaped impression after which this writing system became known - cuneiform (from the Latin word cuneus meaning wedge). Many early tablets show a mixture of signs drawn and written in cuneiform.