From intricate and beautiful Egyptian hieroglyphs, to wedge-shaped cuneiform imprints from ancient Mesopotamia - our ancestors developed many ways of recording their thoughts and information.
We might see them as primitive, but these early written languages were instrumental to shaping and forming the alphabets used across the world today.
Dr James Clackson, senior lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge, explains about some of the people and places where writing was born.
Dr Clackson is talking at the Cambridge University Festival of Ideas - Adventures of a Palaeolinguist on 24 October.
Go to the website to view the slide show.
2011. "The story of how we got our alphabets ". BBC News. Posted: August 18, 2011. Available online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14544388