c.1600 BCE: The earliest examples of Chinese writing come from the Shang dynasty. These inscriptions recorded important divinations on turtle shells and cow bones as rituals were in progress. The characters on the oracle bones formed the basis for the later written Chinese language. Pictured below is an example of oracle bone script, recovered from a Shang tomb near Anyang, China.
For more discoveries in ancient communication, see:
Source: Ulrich Theobald, “Chinese Literature: Oracle Bone Inscriptions,” http://chinaknowledge.de/Literature/Historiography/oracle.html (accessed September 21, 2011).
Image Source: “Jiagu Wen,” http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/bender4/eall131/EAHReadings/module02/m02chinese.html (accessed October 24, 2011).