Type of script that was developed around 3000 BC in the old Mesopotamia, presumably by the Sumerians. Script signs were engraved with a writing stick in wet clay, which resulted in nail-ish' marks. The tablets were then baked so they could be stored. The oldest cuneiform was pictographic and consisted of more than 2000 signs. Later an ideographic form developed, in which e.g. the symbol for 'sun' would also mean 'warmth'. The cuneiform script remained in use until the last centuries BC. In the last phase it developed into a partly phonetic script, in which some symbols no longer represented notions but speech sounds. Languages written in cuneiform were a.o. Sumerian, Churritic and Akkadian. Cuneiform was deciphered in the 19th and 20th centuries.