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A to Z: The First Alphabet

Discover how writing—and eventually printing—revolutionized the spread of information.

Premiered: Runtime: 54:02Topic: Ancient WorldsAncient WorldsNova
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Where would we be without the world’s alphabets? Writing has played a vital role in the expansion and domination of cultures throughout history. But researchers are only now uncovering the origin story to our own alphabet, which may have gotten its beginnings in a turquoise mine 4,000 years ago. From the shape of the letter A to the role of writing in trade and storytelling, discover how the written word shaped civilization itself. (Premiered September 23, 2020)

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Additional funding for "How Writing Changed the World" is provided by the George D. Smith Fund.

National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers. Additional funding is provided by the NOVA Science Trust.