(with special reference to the development of the motorcycle)
First paleolithing "petroglyphs" and written symbols. This is important in the history of communication because it marks the first time humans left a recorded form of communication. Also, these written symbols became the ultimate source of later alphabets.
Cave paintings at Lascaux show early representational art. This is important in the history of communication because the caves depict over 2000 figures, including abstract symbols. More recent research suggests these may record astronomical information.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Lascaux."
First surviving Sumerian pictograms demonstrate a primitive form of record keeping. This is important in the history of communication because pictograms, together with ideograms, represent a primitive form of writing, in which a symbol either means what it looks like, or represents a single idea.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Pictogram."
Invention of the wheel will transform transportation and communication both. This is important in the history of communication because the earliest wheeled vehicles in the Chalcolithic period would coincide with the domestication of the horse, making long-distance transportation easier.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Wheel."
Earliest surviving Egyptian hieroglyphs represent a form of priestly writing kept alive by a literate elite. This is important in the history of communication because, as a form of writing practiced only by a small minority, the ability to read hieroglyphics became lost at some point in the early Common Era, and would not be re-gained until the nineteenth century.
SOURCE: Wikipedia., "Egyptian Hieroglyphs."
Horses first tamed and used for transportation in Asia and Asia minor, most likely on the Eurasian steppes. This is important in the history of communication because now people were communicating regularly with horses, which may not have been intellectually stimulating but could definitely provide a faster way to traverse the Eurasian steppes.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Domestication of the Horse."
First recorded use of an Abacus, a primitive computing device that nonetheless is the conceptual forerunner of the present day personal computer. This is important in the history of communication because it represents a use of symbology to capture abstract mathematical concepts.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Abacus"
First use of Sumerian writing system, cuneiform, which marks the first move toward a symbolic alphabet. This is important in the history of communication because it is the foundation of written communication still in use today.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Cuneiform."
Earliest surviving papyrus scrolls testify to human use of written communication. This is important in the history of communication because papyrus is the origin of the modern word and concept of "paper," still used for communication in parts of the world.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Papyrus."
Earliest recorded postal system in Egypt. This is important in the history of communication because now written communication -- which in most forms is likely to stay put, unless (e.g.) it is written on the side of a large moving animal (with the further additional difficulties entailed in having to catch and subdue such an animal long enough to write a legible message) -- now has a reliable way for communicating across longer distances.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Mail."
Earliest recorded invention of the chariot. This is important in the history of communication because people can now use chariots to travel longer distances to communicate. It is unlikely that they were able to communicate while riding on a chariot, except to their horses.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Chariot."
Probable date of Stonehenge, a monument whose meaning is still hotly contested (cf. The popular but fallacious characterization by St. Hubbins and Tufnel, 1984), but most likely represents an attempt to keep track of astronomical phenomena on the part of a pre-literate society. This is important in the history of communication because records of the movements of the stars often represented information transmitted across generations, and thus was seen worthy of a more permanent record.
SOURCE: "Stonehenge" (St. Hubbins, David and Tufnel, Nigel: Polymer, 1984).
1200 BCE-1050 BCE.
Oracle bone script testifies to earliest use of written language in China. This is important in the history of communication because now Chinese people could finally use a written form of communication. It is also the earliest source for later Chinese written language, including ones used today.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Oracle Bone Script."
Foundation of the Library of Alexandria, which would become the largest repository of information in the Classical world. This is important in the history of communication because it represented an attempt to concentrate all world knowledge in a single location, a goal presently being attempted with different technological means by Google.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Library of Alexandria"
300 BCE-68 CE.
Dead Sea scrolls composed, mostly written in Hebrew, giving a rare glimpse into the range of religious manuscripts which would have been available at the time of the establishment of Christianity. Representing suppressed and heretical ideas, the survival of these original manuscripts occasioned a revolution in thought about the claims made by Christian scripture almost 2000 years later. This is important in the history of communication because it demonstrates how it is affected by large-scale social trends (the development of religious orthodoxy, and suppression of "forbidden" material).
SOURCE: Cross, F.M. The Ancient Library of Qumran. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995.
The Antikythera Device, an early mechincal device for calculating lunar months, is built in Greece. This is important in the history of communication because it represents an early technological device that will eventually develop into something more communicative almost two millennia later.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Antikythera Device."
Papyrus rolls are gradually replaced by the Codex, the precursor of the modern book. This is important in the history of communication because it permitted a larger amount of information than a scroll, thus increasing the amount communicated by a single artifact. They also represent a shift in book technology, to more resemble the writing tablets then in use by students, rendering the information more "user-friendly."
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Codex."
Publication of woodblock-printed edition of the Buddhist scripture The Diamond Sutra in China marks the earliest surviving example of a printed book. It was found in a cave in 1907, and taken by the British. As printed books are still in use today, both as repositories of information and for their more absorbent qualities under exigent circumstances, this is an important milestone in the history of communication.
Source: Wikipedia, "Diamond Sutra."
Bi Sheng develops the first moveable type in China, sculpted from clay. The concept of moveable type would create a communication revolution when introduced five centuries later to Europe. In China it allowed for the preservation of scientific information, much of which would pre-date similar discoveries in the west. Bi Sheng's typeface was not used in Europe, as very few Europeans of the early modern period communicated in Chinese.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Bi Sheng."
The magnetic compass is first used in China. This is important in the history of communication because a magnetic compass is a device which communicates to its user which direction is north. This made travel substantially easier, increasing communication over long distances.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Compass."
First public striking-clock is built in Milan at the church of Beata Vergine. This is important in the history of communication because a striking-clock communicates the time of day in an auditory fashion to those who understand how to interpret its musical communication.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Striking Clock."
Earliest surviving use of European woodblock printing. This is important in the history of communication because it shows a distinct need for published communication in Europe before the use of moveable type by Gutenberg would cause a revolution in communication technology.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Woodblock Printing."
Johannes Gutenberg prints the Gutenberg Bible, the first western printed book to utilize movable type. Gutenberg's use of moveable type suddenly made the composition of numerous printed works easy and affordable: as opposed to a woodblock printing method, which required a single permanent engraved image for each page, moveable type allowed the compositor to use one set of typeface to produce numerous pages, or indeed books, printed in succession.
Source: Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962.
Establishment of the Oxford University Press at Oxford University in England is thought to set up the world's longest single continuous printer: the O.U.P. is still publishing books to this day.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "Oxford University Press."
French polymath Blaise Pascal develops his first computation machine, working with different designs for the next decade. Pascal's early contribution to the science of computing resulted in a "computer language" being named after him over three centuries after his tragic early death. This is important in the history of communication because Pascal's written French is still considered to be a model of elegance in French prose.
SOURCE: Nicholas Hammond (Editor), The Cambridge Companion to Pascal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Pascal goes on to develop the first public transportation system, a horse-drawn public bus with a regular schedule and…