Who was the First Person in History?

WORLD

The first name in recorded history isn’t a king. Or a warrior. Or a poet. He was an accountant, Kushim. (National Geographic Phenomena)

Use our resources to learn more about ancient civilizations.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s simple MapMaker Interactive map.

According to the good folks at the Met, this tablet most likely documents grain distributed by a large temple, although the absence of verbs in early texts makes them difficult to interpret with certainty. The seal impression depicts a male figure guiding two dogs on a leash and hunting or herding boars in a marsh environment. Photograph courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art

According to the good folks at the Met, “this tablet most likely documents grain distributed by a large temple, although the absence of verbs in early texts makes them difficult to interpret with certainty. The seal impression depicts a male figure guiding two dogs on a leash and hunting or herding boars in a marsh environment.”
Photograph courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Discussion Ideas

Today’s MapMaker Interactive map is a simple locator map of the Mesopotamian region and the ancient city of Uruk. We used the “Ocean/Water” base map to show how the “cradle of civilization” was utterly dependent on its network of rivers, dominated by the Tigris and Euphrates.

Today’s MapMaker Interactive map is a simple locator map of the Mesopotamian region and the ancient city of Uruk. We used the “Ocean/Water” base map to show how the “cradle of civilization” was utterly dependent on its network of rivers, dominated by the Tigris and Euphrates.

 

  • The writing system used throughout modern Mesopotamia is Arabic. What writing system does the Kushim tablet use?
    • What it is: It’s an pictographic script simply named “Uruk III.” (Bonus points if you got that one.) Pictographic script describes a writing system that communicates meaning through a resemblance to a physical object. The pictograms for grain in the Uruk tablet above, for instance, actually look like little stalks of grain. The video above calls Uruk III the “birth of the rebus writing system.”

 

 

  • Who do you think was the first named woman in world history?

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: Who’s the First Person in History Whose Name We Know?

Nat Geo: Uruk, Sumeria, Mesopotamia map

Nat Geo: Mesopotamia video

The Schoyen Collection: Beer Production at the Inanna Temple in Uruk (the Kushim tablet)

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Cuneiform tablet: administrative account of barley distribution with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars

LandmarkMedia: Written Word—Birth of Writing video

Earliest evidence of human individuality website

One response to “Who was the First Person in History?

  1. Pingback: 11 Things We Learned This Week | Nat Geo Education Blog·

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