Cuneiform characters were imprinted on a wet clay tablet with a
Writing was not as we see it today. In Mesopotamia, writing began as simple counting marks, sometimes alongside a non-arbitrary sign, in the form of a simple image, pressed into clay tokens or less commonly cut into wood, stone or pots. In that way, recorded accounts of amounts of goods involved in a transaction could be made. This convention began when people developed agriculture and settled into permanent communities that were centered on increasingly large and organized trading marketplaces. These marketplaces traded sheep, grain, and bread loaves, recording the transactions with clay tokens. These initially very small clay tokens were continually used all the way from the pre-historic Mesopotamia period, 9000 BCE, to the start of the historic period around 3000 BCE, when the use of writing for recording was widely adopted.
The clay tablet was thus being used by scribes to record events happening during their time. Tools that these scribes used were styluses with sharp triangular tips, making it easy to leave markings on the clay; the clay tablets themselves came in a variety of colors such as bone white, chocolate, and charcoal.
Sumerians used what is known as