The cuneiform script is the earliest known form of written expression. Created by the Sumerians from ca. 3000 BC, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs. Over time, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract.
Cuneiforms were written on clay tablets, on which symbols were drawn with a blunt reed for a stylus. The impressions left by the stylus were wedge shaped, thus giving rise to the name cuneiform (“wedge shaped”).