While observing the Rosetta Stone (this is a model) the children were able to see the 3 different writings on the Rosetta Stone; Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphs. Which then brought out the question, "how do we know what cuneiform says and is there something out there similar to the Rosetta stone that helps us decipher Cuneiform." While browsing the museum bookstore I a bought the book The Story of Writing by Carol Donoughue.
Cuneiform writing means "wedge shaped" and is believed to be first written around 3000BC. The book first explains that the very earliest writing was pictogram shapes and then slowly evolved into more straight lines as it was easier to do on clay or stone. The last cuneiform writing that has been found has been dated to 75 AD and then this type of writing fell out of favor as other forms of writing became more popular.
It wasn't until Sir Henry Rawlinson found a gigantic inscription in 1840 on a cliff near the town of Bisitum in Iraq that cuneiform writing began to be deciphered. Here writings were found in Old Persian, Babylonian and Cuneiform. Once Sir Rawlinson deciphered Persian and Babylonian he was able to decipher the Cuneiform writing.
The kids and I got out some clay and tried a little Cuneiform writing of our own.
|Rolling out the dough to get a smooth surface|
|Looking at the book to get some ideas|
|First we tried drawing a pictogram of a fish (top of the clay) and then tried writing it in Cuneiform form (below) to see if curve lines were really harder to do in clay than straight lines.|
|Next we found the alphabet and attempted to write out names. Now we read that of most cuneiform writing doesn't have vowels but our cuneiform alphabet did.|
|Princess did well with this type of writing.|
|Little Man's attempt. He thought this was very difficult and got easily frustrated.|