How did it happen: what is the science of history? (article) The preliterate culture: civilization before writing was invented. Three features - lindberg: knowledge is confined to know how without theoretical understanding. Each story stands on its own and is inconsistent with other stories. It is only when information is written down the patterns start to emerge and incompatibilities become visible. Written language appeared separately in at least four cultures: China (6000 bce), egypt (3200 bce), sumer (3200 bce) and america (300 bce). Characteristics of writing systems: combination of pictograms (pictures that resemble the persons, animals and objects they represent) and phonograms (signs that represent sounds of the spoken language). Example: egyptian hieroglyphs = representation of spoken syllables. Phonemes (meaningful sounds in the language) replaced phonograms. Alphabet writing system: phoenician alphabet, formed the basis of the arabic, hebrew and greek alphabets.