Cuneiform Writing in Ancient Mesopotamia
Warm Up • Think back to what you learned about ancient Sumerian society last week. • What do you think the artifact on the next slide shows?
Standard of Ur What is going on on the top row? Why are some figures larger than others? What do you think is going on on the second row? What is going on on the third row?
Standard of Ur Just a Joke
Cuneiform • The ancient Sumerians developed the first writing system. • Sumerian writing is called cuneiform which means wedged-shaped. • Ancient Sumerian words are literally made up of a series of wedge shapes.
Writing Tools • Sumerians used mud from the river valley to create tablets. • They used reeds cut from the marsh to make a stylus. The stylus was used to push the shapes that formed ancient Sumerian words. • Scribes were people whose job it was to write records in ancient Mesopotamia.
Writing Technology Comes Full Circle Then Now
Artifacts • There have been thousands of ancient Sumerian clay tablets and cylinder seals found throughout Mesopotamia. • How were they developed & how did they help create order in ancient Mesopotamia?
How? • How did the ancient Sumerians develop their writing? • Working with your shoulder partner and the pair either directly in front or behind you, come up with symbols for the following words: • Water • Bird • Day • Bread • Barley (similar to wheat)
Development of Writing • Ancient Sumerians started with pictographs—or pictures that resembled words. • Over time the pictographs changed to abstract symbols.
What did they write down? • What do you think the earliest writing is about? • Write down a theory for what the ancient Sumerians first wrote. • Why do you think this was the first thing people wrote?
Writing! • Sumerians first used clay tokens as a way to keep track of goods, agricultural farming and animals. • Writing developed as a way to record large numbers of these tokens and record how many animals were bought or sold. • In other words… the earliest writing is about economics!
Mesopotamian Math • The Sumerians created math to help them record: • All the goods the priests collected and distributed • All the goods that were traded to other city states • All the offerings they made to the gods • Wealth in general • Without math, the Mesopotamians could not plan for the future and make sure everyone got all the resources they needed. • Writing and math helped create order!
Write a Math Problem • Use the numbers to create a math problem (basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division). The answer must be below 60. • Use Sumerian numbers. See if your shoulder partner can solve your problem.
Writing Brings Order • Exit ticket out of class: • How did math and writing create order in ancient Mesopotamian cities? • Order = organization of society