Latin: wedge form. A system of writing developed in ancient Mesopotamia, and used by the Sumerian and later civilizations. Some ancient texts date as far back as 3000 BCE. Sumerians wrote cuneiform impressions on clay tablets, with a reed stylus. They then dried these tablets in the sun to obtain the resulting durable text. Cuneiform writing is pictographic, in other words the characters in the text represent actual worldly objects which symbolized the ideas the writer wished to convey. Cuneiform writing is believed not to have a phonetic, i.e., based on sound, component as most modern languages do.