Category Archives: Arqueología

The origins of writing (II). Cuneiform writing.

One of the earliest types of writing known is the cuneiform. Although Sumerian pictographs come from the late fourth millennium BC these are considered protowriting, since information conveyed by symbols without a linguistic structure. Cuneiform as such is fixed around 2800 BC.

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The term cuneiform comes from the Latin “cuneus,” meaning wedge as it was written on a clay tablet with a sharpened cane wedge shaped.
The first records were purely pictographic writing. They represented the image of what they wanted to describe by graphic imitation and usually they were economic documents for counting inventory and other ordinary or administrative tasks.

esquina2 (Large)During this time, ideograms and numbers without established rules were represented.

As it was necessary the expression of ideas, signs evolved from a direct representation of objects, combinations of symbols, and later to the syllabic representation.

Other changes, such as alignment and writing from left to right were produced over time. Also the 90 ° rotation, possibly to facilitate writing. The symbols are changing from their pictographic origins to more abstract, and easily represented by indentations made ​​with the wedge.

In the next picture of the University of Cantabria you can see examples of the evolution of some words.

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The tablet that we present is, again, our reproduction of one of the objects in the collection of the British Museum.

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It is an example of the early writing, one of the first records kept, in which more abstract symbols and pictograms are still mixed.

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Its origin is probably southern Iraq, dating between 3100 and 3000 BC

In this case it was left record the daily rationing of beer.

The symbol of beer, a jar upright with a pointed base, appears three times in the tablet. The beer was the most popular drink in Mesopotamia and rationed among workers.

As for the number symbols, we  see an archaic representation, and the interesting numbering system (for different types of objects, different systems) is also observed. I recommend you this article (spanish), if you are interested. This tablet has the distinction of having an oblique notch symbols dedicated to the numbering, which means that they are referring to malt grain.

Our replica is made of resin with wooden base and vertical support, to have it on display, as is engraved on both sides.

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Available in our store

Update:

We’ve modeled a new version, thicker, like the original. Sold without base.

If you are interested in the old version, or adding a base to the new one, please contact us.

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The origins of writing (I) The cylinder seal.

The cylinder seals appear in Mesopotamia (Uruk period, 4100-3300 BC).

They were small cylinders of stone, glass or other materials, often semi-precious stones, with a carved relief, which making them roll on a clay tablet left recording the motives, as well as record of the contents of some containers or seal documents.

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sello3 (Large)They used to have a picture accompanied by a short text, identifying its owner, so they were used as a signature to administrative title, certificate or approval of an official.

In other cases represented daily, religious and economic scenes.

The impression could be extended indefinitely, so that the result was a frieze, which gave it a decorative look.

sello2 (Large)Among the merchants began to be used to identify clay pots, and later in other tablets as a record of your transactions.

The prints were evolving from own drawings of each merchant, until a code that ended up evolving cuneiform writing.

Here we present a replica of a seal is preserved in the British Museum.

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Pink Chalcedony cylinder seal.
Mesopotamia. Kassite Dynasty, between 1400 and 1300 BCE

The seated figure is the sun-god Shamash, sitting in front of a sun disk and below a cross, the two symbols.
The seven-line cuneiform inscription is a prayer to Shamash.
You can find more information on the website of the British Museum.

Our reproduction is made ​​of resin and presented together with a clay tablet, so you can print it for the times you want.

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You can purchase one from our store

Playing to be a paleontologist. (Digging your own Ammonites)

Today things are going about paleontology.

From very tiny I knew what fossils were because in my house there is a small collection. Nothing about showcases or inaccessible sites, there, at the entrance, where you could hand touch and “study” them.

Besides, the garden walls of my house contained small “treasures”. They were merely shells (mostly), but it was fun to inspect one by one in search of a most important finding.

When I was older, my aunt (geologist) took me to a museum and  taught me about many others that I did not know.

And so we come to this.

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It may seem like a piece of sand like any other, but as they say in the movies of our childhood “beauty is on the inside”.

With a little digging work we discover our fossil:

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“Ammonites are an extinct group of marine invertebrate animals in the subclass Ammonoidea of the class Cephalopoda. These molluscsare more closely related to living coleoids (i.e. octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish) than they are to shelled nautiloids such as the living Nautilus species. The earliest ammonites appear during the Devonian, and the last species died out during the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Ammonites are excellent index fossils, and it is often possible to link the rock layer in which a particular species or genus is found to specific geological time periods”

(Wikipedia)

When our daughter grows up, she will have their own treasures to unearth, learn with brush and hand peak and imagine the history of the little bug that that was buried millions of years ago.

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A play and learning tool that will appeal to parents and children, teachers and students … and soon it will be available in our store.

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