Three thousand years after the the spatial representations in Çatalhöyük, different approaches to the systematic representation of language became widespread. The Hittites who had founded Ankara covered walls and monuments with a hieroglyphic writing that used pictures to represent sounds, syllables or words (something like a rebus). As the Hittites and neighboring civilizations increased their interaction, it was in everyone's interest to make communication easier. The solution was to settle on one writing system that would work for any language.
The system most practical and adaptable to a wide variety of languages at that time was cuneiform writing, a system of marks made by a thin, wedge shaped pen. Although cuneiform also started out as a simple pictographic system, as it spread to other languages the picture-word associations were lost. So, for the first time, marks represented sounds without the intermediate step of associating a sound to a word to a picture. After that giant leap, movable type and keyboards were just tweaks.
In the slides you see: the great temple at Hattusa, as seen from Google Earth (1); scenes of the Hittite cities of Hattusa (2), Yazılıkaya (3-4) and Aslantaş (5-6). Examples of the Hittites' hieroglyphic writing system are in slides (7-8). Examples of cuneiform are on slides (9-11). Slide (12) shows part of an important inscription at Aslantaş that was written in both hieroglyphs and in the Phoenician alphabet. The discovery of these bilingual texts enabled archaeologists to decipher the hieroglyphs and unlock the richly documented history of the Hittites.
Next: The Babylonian backup