The earliest forms of writing were called [pictogram]. They were sets of picture of animals, people and objects. Their purpose was to communicate a meaning. The Sumerians wrote symbols using dry reeds and with clay tablets. This particular form of writing was called [cuneiform]. At the same time, the Egyptians were developing [hieroglyphs].About 3600 years ago; the first alphabet was developed by people living around Syria and Palestine. This led to the Roman alphabet which is the basis of English. The Romans used wooden tablets filled with wax and sheet of papyrus for writing. As writing was used more and more, [parchment] was made from animal skins. Around year 105CE the Chinese invented paper, which soon became the most common writing material.