We do not need written communication to survive. However, in history, even the most complex society has developed a script or scripts. Writing is a defining marker of civilization. Writing and literacy are generally seen as forces for the good of society. What are the origins of writing? How did writing begin? What came before writing? Can we chart the routes via which writing has spread and developed into the thousands of different scripts that exist today? How have the different writing systems generated phonetic signs and non-phonetic markers for sounds and words?