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BEIJING — Archaeologists  have discovered the world’s oldest known primitive writing, dating back 5,000 years.

The writing was discovered in eastern China, and some of the markings etched on broken axes resemble a modern Chinese character.


The inscriptions on artifacts found at a relic site south of Shanghai are about 1,400 years older than the oldest written Chinese language. Chinese scholars are divided over whether the markings are words or something simpler, but they say the finding will shed light on the origins of Chinese language and culture.


The oldest writing in the world is believed to be from Mesopotamia, dating back slightly more than 5,000 years. Chinese characters are believed to have been developed independently.

Inscriptions were found on more than 200 pieces dug out from the Neolithic-era Liangzhu relic site.